By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 0 Comments
Thomas Mulcair stood to a hearty cheer from his caucus and, when the applause had quieted, he attempted a joke.
“Mr. Speaker, when the going gets tough, the tough get going, to Peru apparently,” he quipped.
There were grumbles and complaints from the government side—it being unparliamentary to refer to the presence, or at least the lack thereof, of anyone in the House of Commons. Mr. Mulcair hadn’t quite done that here, but the Speaker was compelled to intervene here anyway and call for order.
The floor was returned to Mr. Mulcair and the NDP leader now proceeded to recap the story so far, a mix of the acknowledged, the alleged and the reported. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, April 25, 2013 at 12:36 PM - 0 Comments
While the rest of us were more interested in other matters of MP independence, Conservative MP Patrick Brown was named an honorary firefighter by the International Association of Fire Fighters this week, in honour of his efforts to help pass a Liberal motion last fall that called for a “Public Safety Officer Compensation Benefit.”
Brown laid down the party mantle and fought for M-388 to be adopted. The bill provides assistance for a firefighter’s family if he/she is killed or becomes permanently disabled while on the job. Canadian firefighters have been fighting for the security that American firefighters have had for 20 years in knowing their families will be taken care of, should they no longer be able to do so.
“It’s close to home for us because we lost Bill Wilkins in the line of duty. You have to negotiate a payout (now),” said White, which can be tough for a grieving family. ”At least we will know our families will be taken care of.” Wilkins was killed in a house fire in 2002. Since then Brown has held an annual chilifest to raise money for a scholarship fund honouring Wilkins.
Brown said M-388 was simply the right thing to do. “The party whips were surprised when they lost that vote about three months ago,” Brown recalled.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, December 10, 2012 at 10:20 AM - 0 Comments
Ralph Goodale attempts to derive great meaning from last week’s commotion.
The altercation followed a fairly minor procedural argument. But it reflects a deeper problem. Since the last election, both the Conservatives and the NDP have pursued a strategy of partisan polarization. Their explicit objective is to drive all other participants off the political playing-field, so they can have it all to themselves. You see that strategy unfolding every day in the bitter polarizing tactics they both employ.
The subtext seems to be that the House of Commons would be a better place if Liberal MPs—those proud centrists who are not so sullied by “polarization”—were more prevalent, but it’s not clear to me what this has to do with last week’s events. What would have happened differently if the Liberals were in official opposition? Would a Liberal House leader have not used the point of order Nathan Cullen tried? Would Peter Van Loan have been less likely to confront a Liberal House leader who did so? Would the Liberal leader have reacted differently than Thomas Mulcair did if Mr. Van Loan attacked his House leader?
There’s a fair amount to be said about what the Conservatives and New Democrats have in common: the ways in which they have grown as parties over the last decade, the mutual desire to see the Liberal party crushed, a certain unabashedness about the practice of politics. But I don’t think last week’s disagreement is obviously something to do with any of that. I don’t think it’s particularly symbolic of anything. It was a thing that happened. Just like other things have happened in other sessions.
The deep-seated conflict that lies at the heart of polarized politics truly appeals to only a small number of the most extreme partisans, on one side and the other, who relish the constant fight. People like Van Loan, Cullen, Mulcair and Harper — it turns them on.
Suddenly this is a Cosmo sex advice column. I’ve no idea what turns these gentlemen on—and would rather remain so ignorant—but I’m not sure it helps to Mr. Goodale’s case to include this guy in that group. Also: are there really no Liberals who share the same zeal for political conflict?
But it also turns off large numbers of Canadians generally. They don’t hold extreme views. Perpetual campaigning is not their thing. They don’t like polarization or the hatred it breeds. So they just drop out of the political process altogether. They are the ones who stay home on election day.
But here’s the good news! Canada is far too complex a country — too subtle and nuanced, too fundamentally decent, too full of hope and ambition — to be content for very long with the polarizing wedge politics of division, greed, fear and envy. People will look for something better. The greater Canadian instinct is to want to pull together to achieve goals that are bigger and more worthy. The future will belong to those who blaze that trail.
Aside from the obvious implication—The future belongs to the Liberal party! If it can just hang on long enough for everyone to come around!—Mr. Goodale has something of a point here. There are a lot of people—especially young people—who don’t vote. There would seem to be a lot of people who don’t believe the political process is relevant. There are about 10 million registered voters who didn’t vote in the last election. That’s a tantalizingly large block of potential voters—if you could just figure out how to motivate them.
But if the political process in this country needs to be fixed, if it needs to be made more relevant, the fight of significance last week occurred on Tuesday night, not Wednesday afternoon. If there is a conflict over and within the soul of our politics, that’s where it is. Not in political polarization or Peter Van Loan and Thomas Mulcair exchanging bad words or in the permanent campaign (the latter of which is probably not going away, no matter how noble the politician or the political party in government strives to be).
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 5:05 PM - 0 Comments
Ralph Goodale reports on some kind of confrontation in the House following a vote this afternoon.
Altercation on floor of HofC – DefMin MacKay has to pull his HouseLeader + another ConsMin out of silly scrap with Mulcair+ Dippers….
Lots of talk and gestures. Nose to nose, but no apparent direct contact.
Right after vote, Cons House Leader crossed floor to confront NDP leadership group. Tempers clearly flared.
CTV has the House video that shows Peter Van Loan and Gary Goodyear on the NDP side of the House.
Update 5:13pm. There was maybe a middle finger involved?
Update 5:27pm. A little bit of background is apparently necessary. After Question Period, Nathan Cullen rose on a point of order to argue that the final vote on C-45 last night was out of order because the person moving for the vote, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, was not in his seat when the motion was brought forward. After submissions from all sides on this, the Speaker promised to get back to the House and the House proceeded to a separate vote. After that vote, the Speaker ruled that the final vote last night was in order. It is apparently after that ruling, as MPs were milling about, that, at least according to the New Democrats, Peter Van Loan crossed the aisle and complained to Mr. Cullen about Mr. Cullen’s point of order. Mr. Mulcair seems to have objected to Mr. Van Loan’s treatment of Mr. Cullen and, in the ensuing discussion, cross words seem to have been exchanged.
Update 5:58pm. Oddly enough, this confrontation was preceded by a notably civil moment between Mr. Mulcair and the Prime Minister. Immediately after Mr. Cullen’s point of order, as MPs were being called in for the subsequent vote, the NDP leader crossed the aisle and sat down beside Mr. Harper. The two chatted apparently amicably for a few minutes, Mr. Mulcair even laughing at something Mr. Harper said. The two parted company with a handshake.
Update 6:16pm. C-45 has just now passed a vote at third and is off to the Senate.
Update 6:31pm. Here is CBC’s version of the House video: it’s a bit longer than the CTV cut and in it you can see Mr. Van Loan walk across the aisle immediately after Speaker Scheer finished delivering his ruling.
Mulcair has a temper, but Van Loan would have turned Gandhi into a cold blooded killer.
Update 8:00pm. Peter MacKay tweets his version of events.
Whoa – Angry Tom at it again! NDP snaps at Van Loan for standing up for Canada’s economic recovery
Here is Mr. Cullen’s interview with the CBC.
Update 8:25pm. A statement from Peter Van Loan.
We are disappointed that the NDP has attempted to obstruct the passage of the important job creating measures in the Jobs and Growth Act, 2012.
Today, I conveyed my disappointment to the NDP House Leader for the hypocrisy of his complaint which related to a mistake by a member of his own caucus last night.
It is normal for me to speak with the opposition House Leaders. I was however surprised how Mr. Mulcair snapped and lost his temper.
The reference to “a mistake by a member of his own caucus” is apparently a reference to the fact that Deputy Speaker Joe Comartin was in the Speaker’s chair when the vote in question was called last night.
Update 9:38pm. The Canadian Press talks to Mr. Cullen.
For his part, Cullen wouldn’t specify precisely what was said but indicated that Van Loan used “a lot of real bad language, threatening language.” ”It was inappropriate and then Tom said, ‘Don’t threaten my House leader,’ and that’s when we all sort of stood up to make sure it didn’t go any further,” Cullen said in an interview. ”You’ve got to get him away because nothing good happens if he stays there talking that way.”
Cullen said Mulcair’s intervention was aimed at making Van Loan back off. ”For the Conservatives to try to spin his out that somehow (Van Loan) was the victim, I mean, give me a break … That’s ridiculous.”
Update 10:51pm. Mr. Cullen tweets at Mr. MacKay.
Check the video @MinPeterMacKay to see who came after whom. But we all need to work on raising decorum, I hope you agree with that, at least
Update 10:56pm. Elizabeth May chimes in.
Update Thursday. For the sake of comparison, a brief history of recent commotions is here. Morning-after interviews with Mr. Van Loan and Mr. Cullen are here. And this morning’s points of order on the matter are here.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, December 3, 2012 at 4:54 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. Thomas Mulcair charged into the afternoon with a litany of concerns.
“Mr. Speaker, last quarter, Canadian economic growth slowed to a rate of just six-tenths of one per cent,” he reported. “Conservatives have now missed their own economic growth targets three quarters in a row. They have had to downgrade their economic growth forecast for 2012 by nearly a third and it is now widely expected that the Bank of Canada will have to downgrade its own economic forecast as well. The Minister of Finance announced new economic numbers just three weeks ago. Does the minister still stand by those numbers today, or will we have to downgrade his economic projections yet again?”
The Minister of Finance was not in the House, so John Baird stood to handle this one. But first, a nod to the expectant royal couple.
“Mr. Speaker, I would be remiss if I did not first stand up and extend our congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the announcement coming from Burn’s House earlier today,” enthused the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
The Conservatives duly applauded.
At the far end of the room, Bob Rae leaned forward and put his head in his hands. Ralph Goodale patted him on the shoulder.
A mostly—particularly—dull and witless afternoon proceeded with little or no progress to report on much of anything. There was though at least one reasonable question. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, November 26, 2012 at 5:30 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. Ralph Goodale stood with right hand in pocket, a piece of paper in his left hand, to read the indictment against his former assistant.
“Mr. Speaker, the government’s decision to deny health care services to certain refugee claimants faces very stiff opposition. Doctors, nurses and every significant health care organization in Canada says the decision is wrong. Media editorials say the immigration minister has dropped the ball. Most especially, provincial governments are universally critical, Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba. Saskatchewan’s premier describes federal refugee cuts as ‘unCanadian,’ ” the deputy Liberal leader reported to the House.
This much seemed inspired by the case of a man from Pakistan who arrived in Saskatchewan and was subsequently diagnosed with cancer. The man received chemotherapy, but, apparently as a result of the Harper government’s changes to the refugee health care program, the man’s anti-nausea medication was not covered. The Saskatchewan government has said it will cover the costs, but the Premier is unimpressed. This just a month after Conservative MP Kelly Block was criticized for celebrating the new policy.
“Before this gets worse and people die,” Mr. Goodale asked, “will the government correct itself and reinstate sensible health coverage for refugee claimants?”
Jason Kenney was perfectly passive aggressive in response.
“Mr. Speaker, we continue to provide health coverage to refugee claimants,” he assured. “We provide the same package of basic hospital and physician services that are typically available to Canadians. Not every province funds all of the same services precisely the same way. However, if provinces want to provide additional insurance for certain services to asylum claimants, they are more than free to do so.”
The issue seems rather more contentious than Mr. Kenney’s reading here might otherwise suggest.
“I would remind the member that, for example, we have no federal insurance at all for people who are here illegally, for temporary visitors, for newly arrived permanent residents, or for Canadian citizens who are re-establishing themselves,” the Immigration Minister went on. “They get no federal, or for that matter, provincial coverage. However, provinces are always free to provide insurance to people where they think it is appropriate.”
Mr. Goodale was unconvinced, his right hand emerging from his pocket to jab at the air in front of him for emphasis. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, November 23, 2012 at 10:00 AM - 0 Comments
“It’s unbelievable that some of the decisions that have been taken federally are having this impact on people who are clearly the most vulnerable, refugees who are obviously fleeing something quite terrible — that’s why they’re refugees,” Wall said Thursday. “On the face of it, you just consider the case of this particular gentleman or others who, for example, as it was pointed out … might need prenatal care, this is just common sense. You just do this. This is the kind of country we are. You cover it.”
Previous coverage of the cuts to refugee health care is compiled here.
Ralph Goodale asked the Immigration Minister about this yesterday. Continue…
By macleans.ca - Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 1:13 AM - 0 Comments
Ralph Goodale in conversation with Paul Wells
“There is concern about the House’s inability to perform up to the quality standards that Canadians would expect, but it’s still a place that is the central focus — the central crucible — of Canadian democracy and I think that people hope for the best.”
Our View from the Hill
Video series: Paul Wells in conversation with …
“Being a good constituency MP involves two things. The first is that you’ve got to help constituents out with access and government services, with listening to their concerns, with being in touch with them and having a sense of what’s going on on the ground … with being local, with understanding local issues — even if they’re not necessarily federal issues. The second thing a good constituency MP does is that in each and every decision they take up here on Parliament Hill, that they’re always thinking about what the voters back home would think and what they would want you to do.”
Megan Leslie on the importance of flipping burgers and doing groceries
“Flipping burgers, how is that political work? It’s quite amazing. This summer, I fully realized the value of overhearing conversations at home — not in a creepy way. But even just being in a cafe and hearing what people are talking about, or being in the grocery store and hearing a family talk about the next time peanut butter is going to go on sale. That is important political work to understanding what is happening in your riding. And you can’t replicate that unless you’re at home.”
John Baird on playing the bulldog and reaching out
“What gets media attention is the discord and disagreement. Whenever something is hot, it leads on the news, but there’s a good number of folks you can work across the aisle with … you can work collegially with. There are some people though that are a lot tougher to work with, so sometimes personal and political differences get in the way. But that doesn’t happen as often as you might expect.”
Bob Rae on the evolution of QP (more scripted and partisan)
“The House is much more partisan, scripted place and I don’t think it’s an improvement. I think it’s a deterioration in the quality of parliamentary life. I really do. I think things are getting worse.”
Joe Comartin on QP, rules and decorum (or lack thereof)
“There’s ways of making Parliament function for you if you know how the rules function — what the dynamics are in there, including the personalities that you are dealing with. Building that close relationship with other people is important — whether they’re in your party or others.”
By John Geddes - Monday, November 19, 2012 at 11:38 PM - 0 Comments
One thing is for sure: he can take a punch
Ralph Goodale is not the sort of politician who generates a lot of chatter. He lacks the hint of mystery of, say, Michael Ignatieff, or Stephen Harper’s ideological edge, or Jack Layton’s partisan intensity. By contrast, Goodale has those stolid, dependable qualities we often claim to crave from our politicians, just before turning our gaze back toward more complex and divisive figures.
But Ralph Goodale is the best MP in Canada according to his colleagues, who voted him the honour in an Ipsos-Reid survey conducted for Maclean’s, L’actualité and the Dominion Institute. And his story is gripping in its own way—a classic Canadian survival saga. He’s a farm-bred Saskatchewan Liberal, a rare Prairie species that often looks as vulnerable as the swift fox. He suffered humbling setbacks that almost ended his political career in the 1980s, but rode the victories that followed to very near the pinnacle of federal power. Then, after doggedly building and rebuilding a career based on personal credibility, he saw that precious reputation for incorruptibility and competence put to a painful test in last January’s election.
He’s the enduring type. Goodale has the frame of a man who’d be handy to have around when you need to move a sofa bed up a flight of stairs. He hits the gym as much as he can, has bench-pressed 180 lb., and reputedly once lifted the end of the Miata he was about to ride in a Regina parade. (He neither confirms nor denies the legend.) Asked about the essence of his appeal, friends often use Goodale’s stocky five-foot-seven-and-a-half build as a metaphor for his character. Stable. Not to be knocked off course. “Some people, you seem to be able to tell their values just to look at them,” says David Herle, another Liberal from Saskatchewan and one-time top adviser to Paul Martin. “Ralph’s one of those people.”
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at 10:20 AM - 0 Comments
Ralph Goodale condemns the latest budget bill.
It’s a complete dog’s breakfast, deliberately designed to be so humongous and convoluted in a single lump that it cannot be intelligently reviewed by Parliament, and any votes will be largely meaningless. Such abusive tactics have been condemned by none other than Stephen Harper himself. But now in power, he behaves like a Third World despot – seemingly afraid of a properly functioning Parliamentary democracy.
That fear of democracy is also evident in Conservative election financing violations (for which they’ve been charged and convicted), robo-call schemes to manipulate voters, and vicious attack-advertising. It’s all beneath contempt.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, August 1, 2012 at 11:38 AM - 0 Comments
Farmers’ costs will go up, for such things as administering cash advances and financing grain payments on delivery. Farmers will also have to pick up part of the tab for initial payment guarantees. Logistically, without the Wheat Board as a watchdog, grain companies and the railways are now in full control of the handling and transportation system. They have no incentive to service farmer-owned terminals, community-based short-lines or producer-loaded rail cars. There’s no one in the system with either the will or the clout to challenge excessive rates or charges.
Internationally, without the Board, Canada’s distinctive “brand” in world grain markets is slashed. This is compounded by the totally predictable sell-off of domestic firms like Viterra to foreign commodity traders like Glencore. With the Wheat Board out of the way, global grain buyers expect they’ll get Canadian grain at cheaper prices. Value-added processers expect the same. Railways and grain companies expect to extract higher margins. If that’s all true, you can imagine who gets stuck with the short-end of the stick.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, July 23, 2012 at 4:15 PM - 0 Comments
Considering recent violence and crime policy, Ralph Goodale praises the approach of Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall.
In September of last year, the Saskatchewan government announced a policy entitled “Building Partnerships to Reduce Crime”. It’s a useful plan with a multi-faceted, community-based approach. Suppression (using the criminal law to deter crime) is just one of three pillars upon which this policy is based. The others are Intervention (working on things like substance abuse, education and employment to change behaviours) and Prevention (providing information, social supports and other activities to steer individuals-at-risk in productive directions).
In introducing the policy, Premier Wall cogently observed “…we won’t arrest our way out of this problem.”
There is a demand for quick and easy solutions, and the solutions had better be cost-effective and inexpensive. There is impatience when the response from academic criminologists is for further research. But in the face of such complexity, and to test our understanding, Canadians need to demand evidence-based policymaking. Rationality and reason are required, as well as political will. Gut instinct is no good.
Look around the world and you will see the results of reacting with gut instinct instead of taking time for level-headed research and calm reflection. Despite, or perhaps because of, the current mood of crisis, it is time to step back and coolly assess the situation. Rigorous independent academic research is required. That would provide a strong foundation for evidence-based policy. Let’s hope.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, July 16, 2012 at 1:16 PM - 0 Comments
It’s no wonder people around Abernethy feel strongly about this National Historic Site. It costs less than $400,000/year to operate as a vital community asset, tourist attraction, educational tool, job creator, and living monument to a prairie hero. But none of that matters to Stephen Harper. Like that tree nursery at nearby Indian Head, the Motherwell Homestead got chopped in this year’s budget. It’s being drastically downsized and left to languish as a pale shadow of what it used to be.
This is a dumb decision. But worse still, it’s biased and discriminatory. While the Motherwell Homestead is being gutted, the Harper Conservatives are putting $2.5-million into the home-riding of Treasury Board Minister Tony Clement for a National Historic Site near Muskoka, Ontario. Remember “pork-barrel” Tony? He’s the Harper Minister who mis-spent $50-million without lawful authority on sheer waste (e.g., ornamental gazebos and sidewalks to nowhere) to puff-up his riding before the G-8 fiasco there in 2010. Now he gets yet another spending boondoggle, while Abernethy gets cut. Why?
By Aaron Wherry - Sunday, July 1, 2012 at 11:26 AM - 0 Comments
Canada Day video greetings from Jason Kenney, Ted Opitz, Cheryl Gallant, Peggy Nash, Jinny Sims, Colin Carrie, Joyce Murray, Wayne Marston, Craig Scott, John Weston, Ralph Goodale, Elizabeth May, Robert Chisholm, Claude Gravelle, Christine Moore, Laurin Liu, Ray Boughen, James Lunney, Russ Hiebert, Jack Harris, Peter Braid, Steven Blaney, Randy Kamp and, expressing their best wishes in rather similar words, Daryl Kramp, James Bezan, Randy Hoback, Diane Finley, Ed Holder, Ryan Leef, Bob Zimmer, Dave MacKenzie,John Carmichael, Bal Gosal, Costas Menegakis and Parm Gill.
After the jump, a video from the Prime Minister and statements from Thomas Mulcair and Bob Rae. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 12:22 AM - 0 Comments
Less than 10 minutes into the evening, the NDP’s Jack Harris seemed to give up hope.
“I can see what kind of night this is going to be,” he sighed.
Mr. Harris stood here for the purposes of questioning the Minister of Defence and the Associate Minister of Defence, no less than four hours set aside for the purposes of scrutinizing the government’s policies and plans. The ministers in question—Peter MacKay and Julian Fantino—sat along the front row of the government side, each with a large binder of papers in front of them. With the two ministers sat Chris Alexander and Laurie Hawn, parliamentary secretaries present and past, each with their own large binder of papers. And in front of the four Conservatives sat three officials, including the chief of defence staff, at a small table placed in the centre aisle, each official having arrived with a large binder of papers.
With so much paper present, the night had seemed so full of promise. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, April 13, 2012 at 2:17 PM - 0 Comments
Two weeks before the Liberals formally called for a reset of the fighter jet procurement process, representatives from Boeing and Dassault testified before the defence committee about their warplanes. The full transcript of those committee hearings is here.
That testimony prompted more questions in the House. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, April 3, 2012 at 5:44 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. “They knew it.”
What did they know? They knew the cost of purchasing the F-35 would be higher than they had let on. This much, Thomas Mulcair explained, had now been proven by the Auditor General.
“Why,” the leader of the opposition thus asked, “did the Conservatives deliberately gave false information to Parliament and Canadians?”
The Prime Minister stood here, shrugged and dismissed it all. “Mr. Speaker, I do not accept these conclusions of the opposition leader,” Mr. Harper said, without elaborating. The Auditor General had, Mr. Harper explained, made “certain findings” and “identified the need for greater supervision.” The government accepted this much.
Switching to English, Mr. Mulcair was sharp and stinging in response. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 9:30 AM - 0 Comments
Bob Rae and Ralph Goodale weren’t impressed with the NDP’s approach to QP yesterday. The NDP’s Pat Martin and Jean Crowder weren’t impressed with Messrs Rae and Goodale.
Bob Rae Took the NDP half an hour to ask about 2500 workers losing their jobs – I guess that what a “move to the centre” is all about.
Ralph Goodale Cons glib answers abt AirCda+Aveos killing jobs are shameful. Only thing worse – NDP ignored the issue til 15th question in QP.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, March 16, 2012 at 8:33 AM - 0 Comments
This was an interesting exchange.
Bob Rae. Mr. Speaker, on the subject of electoral fraud, the Prime Minister, on April 8, 2011, in the middle of the election campaign, talked about the F-35 contract. He said, “the contract we’ve signed shelters us from any increase in those kinds of costs. We’re very confident of our cost estimates”. His ministers are telling us now that there is no contract, that there is no assurance with respect to cost and, in fact, that signing a contract is a matter of if and when. Was the Prime Minister telling the truth when he spoke to the people of Canada on April 8, 2011, about a so-called contract, yes or no?
Stephen Harper. Mr. Speaker, this is a matter of public record. At the time, I was referring to a memorandum of understanding. It has not been a secret that the government has not signed a contract. The fact is our country does not pay any increase on the development cost. That is the arrangement. It is also a fact that we have provisioned in our budget funds for future aircraft and we are prepared to live within that budget.
This has to do with the “realistic” and “forthright” musings of Julian Fantino.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 6:10 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. Charlie Angus, the honourable member for garish colour combinations, rose this day wearing a purple shirt, silver suit and silver tie. Whatever the attitude thus conveyed, he first struck a sorrowful tone.
“Mr. Speaker,” he lamented, “what is clear is Canadians cannot trust the government with protecting their privacy rights.”
To justify this contention, Mr. Angus called his first witness. “Let us try out this quote, ‘What we’re seeing is only the tip of the iceberg. The real threat to Canadian privacy is coming from within, from our own federal government.’ Does anyone know who said that?” the New Democrat asked. “It was Ann Cavoukian, the privacy commissioner of Ontario.”
And with that much established, Mr. Angus rounded on the Public Safety Minister, his sad tone replaced with adamant indignation. “According to the minister, she is on the side of child pornographers,” he charged. “He is wrong. She is on the side of average, law-abiding Canadians who play by the rules. So why is he on the side of intrusion, snooping and treating Canadians like criminals?”
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 Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, November 22, 2011 at 9:00 AM - 9 Comments
Last night at the Chateau Laurier, Maclean’s and our gracious sponsors handed out the annual awards for the best in Parliament. This year’s parliamentarian of the year is Bob Rae and you can read my appraisal of him here. Previous winners include Bill Blaikie, Ralph Goodale, Jason Kenney and John Baird.
We introduced a new prize this year for a former parliamentarian who contributed significantly to the House of Commons. The inaugural winner is Jack Layton.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, November 21, 2011 at 6:39 PM - 11 Comments
Unlike most of his recent predecessors, Mr. Harper has never seen fit to name a deputy. He stands alone. And so when he cannot stand or when he chooses not to (at some point he stopped showing up on Mondays), it had typically been the duty of John Baird or Peter Van Loan to stand and mouth the official bromides. Of late though Mr. Harper has chosen to disperse the burden of parliamentary accountability upon no less than five pairs of shoulders: Messrs Baird and Van Loan, Peter MacKay, Jason Kenney and James Moore. Each day the Prime Minister is away, no matter what has been asked or what actually relevant minister might be around to handle the question, it is one of these sturdy men who rises to handle the first questions of the NDP and Liberals.
So today, for instance, it was Mr. Moore’s job to stand and explain the government’s policy on the treatment of water sewage. Continue…