By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, April 11, 2013 - 0 Comments
The Prime Minister is profoundly saddened.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has come out swinging against New Democrat Alexandre Boulerice for the Quebec MP’s 2007 blog post that praised communists who opposed the First World War and cast the conflict as “a purely capitalist war on the backs of the workers and peasants.”
“I find the comments outrageous, inflammatory, unacceptable,” Harper said in Calgary.
NDP Veterans Affairs critic Peter Stoffer was also unimpressed.
Mr. Boulerice posted a reply on Facebook this evening to explain himself.
The story as reported by Sun news is inaccurate. I can assure you that I have the utmost respect for all our veterans and never criticized the role of the Canadian military personnel in WWI, nor in any other war. And we can always analyse the context of every conflict.The men and women who serve in our forces are doing a dangerous job, under difficult circumstances and deserve our gratitude.
My priority, as an MP, is to make sure that we take care of our veterans and we treat them with the respect they deserve.
For any who have been offended, I apologize. Be assured it was never my intention to in any way criticize Canada’s veterans.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, February 14, 2013 at 4:53 PM - 0 Comments
Liberal MP Sean Casey, NDP MP Peter Stoffer, Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Treasury Board president Tony Clement were involved in a spiriting series of exchanges this afternoon over the treatment of disabled military and RCMP veterans.
Liberal MP Rodger Cuzner was apparently unimpressed with Mr. Clement’s final response.
Tony Clement just offered the stupidest,most useless,irrelevant,unrelated,embarrassing ,condescending,flippant non answer I’ve heard in 12ys
By Mitchel Raphael - Sunday, November 11, 2012 at 11:34 AM - 0 Comments
World War Two veteran Lloyd Swick… was on the Hill last month talking to
World War Two veteran Lloyd Swick was on the Hill last month talking to MPs about his monument to animals who served in war. Swick’s Animals in War Dedication Project was inspired when he saw the Animals in War Memorial in London. He asked himself, “Why does Canada not have a similar memorial?” From horses who moved field guns in World War One to the glow worms kept in bottles and used in dark trenches, Swick wanted the non-human contribution to wars remembered. The project costs $160, 000 and Swick is still looking for donations. David Clendining is the sculptor who made the monument. He has been sculpting since the ’70s and his work is all over Ottawa’s Confederation Boulevard. The animal war memorial consists of three parts. One section honours horses, another mules and the third dogs. Clendining notes the mules were based on photos. For the horses, he said he went out to places near his home in Ottawa. But “the dog is 90% my old German Shepard, Lucky.” The making of the monument has taken Clendining nearly one and a half years and went through three versions. Footprints of the three animals depicted have been placed on the ground leading up to the memorial. Laureen Harper is the project’s honourary patron and NDP MP Peter Stoffer has been a big supporter. It was at a Remembrance Day service in 2009 that Swick turned to Stoffer, not knowing he was an MP, and mentioned the importance of honouring war animals. Stoffer agreed and told him the National Capital Commission was holding hearings for commemorations and suggested Swick pitch his idea. The memorial was officially unveiled in Ottawa on Nov. 3.
By Mitchel Raphael - Monday, November 5, 2012 at 5:01 AM - 0 Comments
A star-studded photo gallery by Mitchel Raphael
The 2012 Press Gallery Dinner was a night of glamour and mock awards.
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 8:05 AM - 0 Comments
NDP MPs, staffers and friends gathered for Halloween at the NDP watering hole Brixton’s….
NDP MPs, staffers and friends gathered for Halloween at the NDP watering hole Brixton’s. Outfits included Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women,” Bev Oda sipping $16 OJ (albeit from a plastic container) and NDP MP Niki Ashton as Big Bird.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, October 1, 2012 at 3:48 PM - 0 Comments
“If I was Mr. Harper, he would be gone, out of the Conservative Party in a heartbeat. That kind of attitude, that kind of comment, that’s insane. That is a disgrace to not only Mr. Mulcair but to the legacy of Mr. Layton. Think about how Olivia Chow must feel. That is just absolutely cold-hearted … I could say it stronger than that, but what a complete dickhead. He should be removed from Parliament altogether,” Stoffer said.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, March 29, 2012 at 6:38 PM - 0 Comments
In keeping with tradition, the Finance Minister was applauded simply for showing up. Jim Flaherty arrived two minutes after four and, upon realizing his existence, the Conservatives stood and cheered. Poor Peter Stoffer, attempting to contribute to a debate on the Strengthening Military Justice in the Defence of Canada Act, was drowned out entirely.
With Mr. Flaherty in the room, the Speaker announced that the House would be moving on to government orders. The minister stood and his Conservative colleagues treated him to a second standing ovation. He proceeded with the procedural niceties required to table the budget documents and when he was finished there was more applause.
“Looking ahead,” he said when he’d finally begun, “Canadians have every reason to be confident.”
Twasn’t it ever thus? Has a Finance Minister ever stood in this place and tabled anything other than a prudent, forward-thinking masterstroke that cast us ahead to a more brilliant future? Is it possible that Archibald McLelan and Edgar Nelson Rhodes or another of Mr. Flaherty’s predecessors once rose and pleaded for the House’s mercy or confessed that he was only vaguely sure of the numbers?
Likely not. Indeed, within a few paragraphs, Mr. Flaherty was referencing the hopeful words of Sir George Eulas Foster, our eighth finance minister. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, March 6, 2012 at 11:55 AM - 0 Comments
The House will vote this evening on an NDP motion to exempt Veterans Affairs from budget cuts.
That, in the opinion of the House, the government should: (a) honour the service of Canadian military and RCMP veterans and their families by committing to not cut Veterans Affairs Canada in the upcoming budget; and (b) provide programs and services to all military and RCMP veterans and their families in a timely and comprehensive manner.
Update 1:41pm. The government side has proposed amending the motion so that it reads as follows:
That, in the opinion of this House, the government should: a) honour the service of Canadian military and RCMP veterans and their families by committing to maintain Veterans’ benefit and b) provide programs and services to all military and RCMP veterans and their families in a timely and comprehensive manner.
By Mitchel Raphael - Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at 11:49 PM - 0 Comments
NDP MP Peter Stoffer launched an Olympic awareness campaign at his Ottawa office. In…
NDP MP Peter Stoffer launched an Olympic awareness campaign at his Ottawa office. In exchange for a donation, people can come to his office to shoot five darts, five Nerf basketball shots, five shots of pool, five putts of golf and five kicks of a soccer ball (with double points in soccer if done in wooden shoes). All proceeds go to support the athletes heading the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London.
By Mitchel Raphael - Monday, February 20, 2012 at 11:05 AM - 0 Comments
Hip hop and the Peace Tower…
There was much fanfare on the Hill during
Hip hop and the Peace Tower
There was much fanfare on the Hill during the week that kicked off celebrations of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. There was a House of Commons ceremony unveiling a small statue of Elizabeth II riding a horse. It will be placed outside the Library of Parliament for one year and then permanently installed in the Commonwealth Room in the Centre Block where there is already a bust of the Queen. The bells of the Peace Tower played a special selection of songs inspired from an assortment of British tunes. Andrea McCrady, who plays the carillon, the musical instrument made up of 53 bells in the Peace Tower, worked out a special program to mark the jubilee. She plays the bells live every weekday at noon, sometimes with the help of as many as six students. They practise in a special room on the Hill, but on Fridays they test things out on the Peace Tower bells when “not many people are around,” notes McCrady. “I play everything from Renaissance music to hip hop,” she says. For Flag Day on Feb. 15, she planned to play Wavin’ Flag by Somali-Canadian artist K’naan, who recently chastised U.S. Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney for using it during his campaign. McCrady doesn’t think K’naan will mind her 53-bell version.
‘Elegant’ Olympian butt
Last week, NDP MP Peter Stoffer launched an Olympic awareness campaign at his Ottawa office. In exchange for a donation, people can come to his office to shoot five darts, take five Nerf basketball shots, five shots of pool, five putts of golf and five kicks of a soccer ball. All proceeds go to support the athletes heading to the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. His “opening ceremonies” included some celebrity guests: two former Olympic athletes, married couple Greg Joy and Sue Holloway, This Hour Has 22 Minutes host Mark Critch, Minister of State for Sport Bal Gosal, and British High Commissioner Andrew Pocock. “The colonies are going to kick some old-country butt,” said Stoffer. Pocock replied, “If the colonies are going to kick some butt, then it is going to be some extremely elegant butt.” Pocock was the first VIP to tackle the Stoffer pentathlon and managed to sink five out of five Nerf basketball shots. As he hit the pool table, Pocock quipped, “My misspent youth is coming back to me.” Double points were awarded for the soccer portion if the ball was kicked while wearing wooden shoes provided by Stoffer. In several cases, the wooden shoes went flying off the players’ feet and ended up whacking the door of NDP MP Dennis Bevington, whose office is across the hall. Gosal, who played a lot of soccer growing up, missed all his shots, which he did with a wooden shoe. The overall champion was Holloway with 180 points. She was followed by Critch (173), Joy (146), Pocock (164), and finally the minister of state for sport (111).
By Mitchel Raphael - Monday, February 13, 2012 at 10:20 AM - 0 Comments
Will Trudeau go blue?
Things are heating up between Liberal MP Justin Trudeau…,
Will Trudeau go blue?
Things are heating up between Liberal MP Justin Trudeau, 40, and Conservative Sen. Patrick Brazeau, 37. The two are set to go at it in the ring on March 31 in a charity boxing match for Fight for the Cure. Trudeau trained as a boxer years ago and is currently working out in the ring and watching Tae Bo videos. Brazeau holds a second-degree black belt in karate. The fight will be for real. “If I break my nose, then I break my nose,” says Trudeau. The Liberal MP’s wife, Sophie Grégoire, has also helped her husband prepare for the showdown by purchasing Trudeau a robe with his name on the back. But Trudeau is not sure he can wear it. Says the MP, “The robe is blue and I’m fighting from the Liberal red corner!”
Minister skirts issue on transgendered
Much drama last week over the issue of transgendered people needing to match the sex on their identification when travelling by air. Gay Liberal MP Scott Brison could not resist a few one-liners. “I thought airport security was already a drag.” On how Transport Minister Denis Lebel handled himself in question period, Brison quipped, “The minister skirted the issue.” More seriously, Calgary Conservative MP Lee Richardson said such security issues could be solved if people, for example, “just matched their iris identiﬁcation” within an enhanced security system.
Conservative advice for Occupiers
Alumni from Nova Scotia’s Mount Saint Vincent University gathered on the Hill for a reception. The event was hosted by Nova Scotia Liberal Sen. Jane Cordy, NDP MP Megan Leslie, who represents Halifax, and Conservative Sen. Nancy Ruth, who established Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies at the Mount in the ’80s when the government at the time offered to create four women’s studies chairs across the country as long as the university matched the funding. Nancy Ruth stepped up and donated the $500,000 needed. She has an honorary degree from the Mount and last fall joined Sheila Fraser when the former auditor general received her honorary degree. At the time the senator spoke to a class of students who were supposed to hear a lecture about women and politics, but the students were more interested in asking her questions about the Occupy movement. “What do you do when the police come and pick you up?” asked one person. She told the students to find out who was on their police services board and added this advice: “Never protest alone, always work with other networks.” At the Hill reception, Liberal MP Geoff Regan asked that the attendees be told he had to leave before the speeches because he was on House duty. This prompted NDP MP Peter Stoffer to quip: “I’m on House duty but I’m not going.”
By Mitchel Raphael - Friday, November 25, 2011 at 3:11 PM - 0 Comments
Maclean’s 5th annual Parliamentarians of the Year Awards ceremony at the Fairmont Château Laurier. …
Maclean’s 5th annual Parliamentarians of the Year Awards ceremony at the Fairmont Château Laurier. See winners here.
By Alex Ballingall - Monday, November 21, 2011 at 7:27 PM - 0 Comments
‘Even his enemies like him’
Peter Stoffer has laugh lines etched deep in his cheeks, earned from a lifetime of smiling. “Even his enemies like him,” Conservative MP Randy Kamp tells Maclean’s. Indeed, the Dutch-born NDP member from Nova Scotia—who’s known to tip off opposing members on what he will ask them during question period—has been voted most collegial every year Maclean’s has offered the award. Stoffer, to the frustration of NDP brass, eschews a BlackBerry but personally responds to all inquiries he receives from veterans and Nova Scotians. “I take the job seriously, but I never take myself seriously,” says Stoffer. And he doesn’t have a lot of time for divisions polarizing the House. “Like Bob Dylan said in a song, we just sell it from a different point of view. That’s all.”
RUNNER UP: Rodger Cuzner
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 1:30 PM - 19 Comments
After Question Period yesterday, the House proceeded to the traditional messages on the occasion of Remembrance Day (the House is due to be on break next week). Veteran Affairs Minister Steven Blaney spoke for the government, Peter Stoffer for the NDP and Sean Casey for the Liberals.
Louis Plamondon then rose to offer remarks on behalf of the Bloc Quebecois, but was denied the unanimous consent of the House he needed to do so as the member of a party that does not have the sufficient number of MPs to be recognized in the House as an official party. Bob Rae suggested it was the Conservatives who had objected. Conservative backbencher Stephen Woodworth stood to object to Mr. Rae’s version of events. Government whip Gordon O’Connor then stood to explain.
Mr. Speaker, the Standing Orders say, in response to a minister’s statement, that only members of recognized parties can make statements. The Bloc is not a recognized party.
Thus were the Bloc Quebecois and Elizabeth May prevented from offering remarks.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 12:59 PM - 2 Comments
The private members’ bill set to be debated tomorrow is C-306, put forward by Mathieu Ravignat, the NDP MP for Pontiac.
This enactment provides that a member’s seat in the House of Commons will be vacated and a by-election called for that seat if the member, having been elected to the House as a member of a political party or as an independent, changes parties or becomes a member of a party, as the case may be. A member’s seat will not be vacated if the member, having been elected as a member of a political party, chooses to sit as an independent.
By Mitchel Raphael - Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 9:05 AM - 3 Comments
Rogers Communications celebrated their 50th anniversary in Ottawa at the Metropolitain Brasserie….
Rogers Communications celebrated their 50th anniversary in Ottawa at the Metropolitain Brasserie.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, October 20, 2011 at 7:00 PM - 26 Comments
The Scene. First, the unquestionably good news.
“Mr. Speaker, today, myself, the NDP shipbuilding critic from Sackville-Eastern Shore, and all New Democrats celebrate with the workers of Nova Scotia and British Columbia,” Nycole Turmel informed the House.
Alas, this is Question Period and so this much would not suffice.
“But for other workers,” Ms. Turmel continued, “yesterday’s announcement came up $2 billion short. Instead of announcing the full $35 billion in contracts, the government picked winners and losers. The Prime Minister left major shipyards like Davie vulnerable. Why?”
The NDP leader’s lament was not well received.
“This is your angle?” begged James Moore from the government frontbench.
“You’re the loser!” cried a voice from the near corner of the Conservative side. Continue…
By Mitchel Raphael - Monday, October 17, 2011 at 11:32 PM - 3 Comments
Reception at the Fairmont Château Laurier for Taiwan’s 100th National Day: Double Ten Day…
Reception at the Fairmont Château Laurier for Taiwan’s 100th National Day: Double Ten Day – put on by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Ottawa.Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, October 4, 2011 at 10:53 AM - 8 Comments
A footnote to this footnote.
Left to their own devices, six New Democrat MPs who had previously stated their opposition to the long-gun registry subsequently voted to defeat C-391: Malcolm Allen, Charlie Angus, Claude Gravelle, Carol Hughes, Peter Stoffer and Glenn Thibeault.
Four of the six—Allen, Gravelle, Hughes and Thibeault—subsequently increased their total vote and margin of victory in this spring’s election over their 2008 election result. Messrs. Angus and Stoffer saw their vote totals decrease, but still won by 18.7 and 23.5 percentage points respectively.
Conversely, four of the seven Liberals who were compelled to change their votes and subsequently stood for reelection, were defeated this spring.
Make of this what you will.
By Mitchel Raphael - Monday, September 26, 2011 at 9:50 AM - 0 Comments
Jack Layton’s chair to go to his family…
MPs arriving back on the Hill
Jack Layton’s chair to go to his family
MPs arriving back on the Hill for the first day of Parliament were greeted by black coffins covered in cut-out, pastel-coloured butterflies on which were written the names of murdered and missing Aboriginal women. It was part of an awareness campaign coordinated by Walk4Justice. That morning, there were tributes for Jack Layton, and his green House of Commons chair was left empty for the day. NDP MP Peter Stoffer says his caucus is buying the chair Layton sat in for $950 and presenting to the late leader’s family. MPs wore orange ribbons in honour of Layton, though at question period it was mostly NDP, Liberal and Bloc parliamentarians wearing them. That included both interim Liberal leader Bob Rae and interim Bloc leader Louis Plamondon. On the Hill for the tribute was former NDP leader Alexa McDonough. The day before, she had helped with the orientation sessions for new MPs from all parties, covering issues ranging from office management to how to avoid temptations like the endless supply of booze at Hill functions. Question period started with interim NDP leader Nycole Turmel reading her questions from her papers, which lessened the impact. She was followed by NDP finance critic Peggy Nash, whose voice boomed out. “I’m used to speaking at rallies,” quipped Nash, who is seen as a strong potential NDP leader candidate.
MPs call it splits
Liberal MPs Mark Eyking and Rodger Cuzner were both elected in 2000 and until Parliament resumed on Monday they were also roommates. “It’s a messy breakup,” jokes Cuzner. “Eyking wants visitation rights for the clock radio.” In reality, two of Eyking’s sons have moved to the capital. One sells real estate and the other is at university. That means Eyking’s wife is in the capital more often too. Cuzner jokes he was “tripping over” Eykings at their place. So he moved out and is now living with his nephew.
By Michael Petrou - Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 10:56 PM - 8 Comments
The invitation had been “dangling” for months but, British sources say, plans for British Prime Minister David Cameron’s first bilateral visit to Canada — and the first by a British prime minister since Tony Blair in 2001 — only got under way two weeks ago.
It was then something of a scramble to prepare statements and speeches. Quoting Churchill is always a reliable crowd pleaser on these occasions, and both sides were soon eyeing the great wartime leader’s “Some chicken! Some neck!” speech delivered in the House of Commons in December 1941. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, September 2, 2011 at 8:21 PM - 2 Comments
Romeo Saganash is leaving open the possibility of a run for the NDP leadership and Karl Belanger, Jack Layton’s press secretary, is being urged to consider entering the race, but Thomas Mulcair says he’ll stay out if a vote is set for January.
“If what some people seemed to be angling for, which was January, if that ever came to pass, you know, I’d just continue working very hard to do the best we could, but I would never be part of something where there wouldn’t be a level playing field,” he said Friday…
“I have some very strong support for an eventual shot at it from my Quebec colleagues, and I’m honoured and thrilled at that but I’ve also got to build in the rest of Canada,” Mulcair said in an interview Friday. “We’ve got to have time to meet with people, to connect with them, to say who we are, what we do, and that can only be done with a campaign that would be similar to the ’02-03 campaign, which was a 7 1/2-month campaign.”
Mr. Mulcair, along with Pat Martin and Peter Stoffer, also quibbles with setting aside votes for labour unions.