By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, March 7, 2013 - 0 Comments
Perhaps the F-35 is best understood as a Senate with wings. Or perhaps the Senate is the F-35 that we mistakenly assigned to guard our democracy.
Either way, they are both now easy jokes.
“Mr. Speaker, yet another report from the United States is raising disturbing questions about the F-35,” Thomas Mulcair reported at the outset this afternoon. “Serious problems have been identified with the aircraft’s radar, helmet and cockpit design. Pilots report that the plane is actually incapable of flying through clouds.”
The New Democrats laughed.
“Who knew that this was one of the requirements,” Mr. Mulcair quipped.
The New Democrats laughed again.
“Worse yet, the former head of the U.S. Navy is now suggesting that the F-35A, the model Conservatives plan to buy, should be scrapped entirely,” the NDP leader concluded. “Will the Prime Minister give a straightforward answer? Will he admit that he has made a mistake and agree to full, open and honest competition to replace the CF-18, yes or no?”
The Prime Minister would do no such thing.
“Mr. Speaker,” Mr. Harper declared, “the government has been very clear.”
Indeed. Mr. Harper’s government has been very clear. And not just once on this file, but twice. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at 12:28 PM - 0 Comments
Four months ago, Rona Ambrose voted in favour of a motion that would have tasked a committee of MPs with studying the legal definition of when life begins. Yesterday, asked about abortion, she told the House the following.
Mr. Speaker, let me be clear. Stealing a quote from someone I admire very much, Hillary Clinton, I believe abortion should be safe, legal and rare. I would encourage the member to work with me on the status of women committee on issues that women want to debate. This is an issue that women are not interested in debating.
Tim Powers wrote at the time—and I tend to agree—that Ms. Ambrose’s only mistake was not explaining why she voted the way she did. And it’s possible there’s no contradiction between her vote in September and her statement yesterday. Maybe, as it was a free vote on a piece of private members’ business, she decided to vote according to what she felt were the wishes of a majority of her constituents. Maybe, in this regard, she distinguishes between her role as a cabinet minister and her role as an MP. But absent an explanation from Ms. Ambrose, we can only guess.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, January 28, 2013 at 6:21 PM - 0 Comments
With protesters standing in the snow outside, our House moved quickly to make up for six weeks without these formal proceedings.
“Mr. Speaker, today in First Nations communities across the country, the unemployment rate can reach 80%, half of the housing units are in a pitiful state and schools and students receive 30% less funding than others,” Thomas Mulcair reported. “Last year, during meetings between the Crown and First Nations, the Prime Minister promised to renew our nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous people. He promised substantial consultations: he never listened. He promised to tackle these problems: instead he attacked the chiefs. Will the Prime Minister finally take concrete action in this matter?”
The Prime Minister was prepared with assurances. “Mr. Speaker, this government has acted on several concrete measures, unprecedented in our country, for Aboriginals. We built new housing, created new schools, implemented new systems for drinking water and finalized certain land claims. Obviously, there is much more to do. However, we will continue our program with positive partners.”
It went on more or less like this for eight of the first 10 questions: a rhetorical stalemate, or rather a restating of the general positions. This newest concern is, of course, something like this nation’s oldest concern and the challenge is thus profound. In this case, the House probably needs something it can wrap its collective and metaphorical arms around—a tangible something to argue about (something that Romeo Saganash’s bill on the UN declaration and Carolyn Bennett’s question about cuts to the Aboriginal Job Centre might yet provide).
But if the last six weeks represented some kind of change beyond this place—though it is still too early to say so for sure—they did not quite resolve the matters that the opposition was fussing about at the end of 2012.
Take, for instance, the parliamentary budget officer—not merely the existential question of the office’s future, but the small matter of the questions the current officeholder continues to raise about this government’s management. Continue…
By John Geddes - Monday, January 28, 2013 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
When it comes to assessing the performance of political leaders, there’s often a good deal of talk about how well they succeed at setting the agenda. But since the agenda rarely conforms for long to anyone’s manipulations, what matters more is how well they adjust to the unexpected.
Stephen Harper didn’t plan for aboriginal affairs to emerge as the dominant federal issue at the start of 2013. But when the House resumes sitting on Jan. 28, he’ll have to cope anyway with a first order of business imposed largely by Idle No More and Theresa Spence.
The Prime Minister will try, judging from his own public statements and comments made by his officials and cabinet ministers, to pull this unwieldy set of issues, foisted on him by shopping-mall drum circles and a fasting chief, into the safer confines of his own, preferred economic agenda.
By John Geddes - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 6:54 PM - 0 Comments
It was painful to listen to Defence Minister Peter MacKay this afternoon as he faced repeated questions from reporters on whether he has any regrets about his handling of the government’s program to buy F-35 fighter jets.
Today’s news, not surprisingly, is that the problem-plagued Lockheed Martin jet is only one of several whose costly tires the government will soon be kicking. And so pretty much everything MacKay has ever said about the necessity and inevitability of the F-35 procurement has proven to be dead wrong.
He might have made it easier to hear his answers without wincing had he just admitted to past mistakes. Failing that mature, obvious response, he might have clung to a fragment of dignity by resolving at least not to drag Canadian men and women in uniform into it.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 1:07 PM - 0 Comments
Ahead of the release of the KPMG audit, here is the transcript of the September 15, 2010 meeting of the national defence committee, at which Peter MacKay, Rona Ambrose, Tony Clement, assistant deputy minister Dan Ross, assistant deputy minister Tom Ring and Lieutenant-General J.P.A. Deschamps appeared to discuss the F-35. Two months earlier, the Harper government had announced it was “acquiring the fifth generation Joint Strike Fighter F-35 aircraft.”
Mr. MacKay was enthusiastic in his opening statement to the committee.
Our commitment, colleagues, to procure the F-35 is part of the overall strategy to give the Canadian Forces the tools they need in order to deliver security to Canadians…
When we retire the CF-18s between the years 2017 and 2020, as we inevitably must, we will need a capable replacement. The Lightning II joint strike fighters will inherit those key responsibilities and are the ideal aircraft, in my view, to allow our men and women in uniform to accomplish their work. This is the right plane. This is the right number. This is the right aircraft for our Canadian Forces and for Canada. In fact, it’s the best plane for the best air force. We believe they deserve this equipment. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 11:57 AM - 0 Comments
The government is promising a statement from Rona Ambrose and Peter MacKay at 3:15pm, preceded by an embargoed briefing for reporters at 1:45pm. Presumably the KPMG audit of the F-35 will be tabled in the House around the time Ms. Ambrose and Mr. MacKay are due to speak.
It’s been suggested that the House could rise for the Christmas break this evening—meaning this afternoon’s QP would be the last until January—but as of about an hour ago negotiations between the parties were not yet concluded.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, December 10, 2012 at 5:49 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. “Will the Minister of National Defence finally admit that the jig is up,” Matthew Kellway asked, “admit he was wrong and hold an open competition?”
So the latest in jet fighter technology was damned with the language of Elizabethan times. Alas, the Defence Minister did not stand here to proclaim himself besmirched. Instead, Rona Ambrose stood to impart the talking points.
“Mr. Speaker, as you know, the National Fighter Procurement Secretariat has been set up to ensure transparency and due diligence is done before the decision is made to replace our CF-18s,” she explained. “We are committed to completing its seven-point plan and moving forward with our comprehensive and transparent approach to replacing our aging CF-18 aircraft.”
For good measure, Ms. Ambrose added a pre-emptive explanation for the decidedly larger price tag that is still to be released publicly. “When including more years in operations and maintenance cost estimates,” she said, “it goes without saying that the dollar figure will be proportionately higher.”
That such stuff went without saying seems largely to be problem here.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, December 7, 2012 at 10:40 AM - 0 Comments
The planning and priorities committee of the cabinet is presently meeting on Parliament Hill, apparently to decide the future of the military’s jet fighter procurement.
A little more than two years ago, on November 23, 2010, the Conservatives joined with the Bloc Quebecois to reject the following motion from the Liberals.
That, in the opinion of the House, the government’s decision to purchase the F-35 stealth fighter jets without holding an open competition will cost Canadian taxpayers billions of dollars at a time of unprecedented deficits and will create fewer jobs in the Canadian aerospace industry than would be guaranteed through an open competition and therefore the House calls on the government to immediately cancel their plan to spend $16 billion through an untendered, uncompetitive process while there is still no penalty to do so and instead commit to holding an open competition to replace the CF-18s based on clear and publicly disclosed foreign and defence policy requirements.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 10:43 PM - 0 Comments
A statement issued just now by Rona Ambrose’s office.
The Government has received the report from KPMG and is reviewing it.
The Government will be providing a comprehensive public update before the House rises.
We are committed to completing the seven point plan and moving forward with our comprehensive, transparent approach to replacing Canada’s aging CF-18 aircraft.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 7:52 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. The NDP’s Matthew Kellway, blessed of the deadest of pans, seemed typically unimpressed.
“Reset and refresh are the new spin words, Mr. Speaker, but not so long ago the Minister of National Defence was unwavering,” Mr. Kellway recalled. “He stated, ‘This is the right plane, this is the right number, this is the right aircraft for our Canadian forces and Canada.’ Now he has lost that loving feeling.”
The New Democrats chuckled.
Throughout the fall this matter of the F-35 has lingered in the air, not quite at the forefront of the discussion, but not quite forgotten. And in the eight months since the auditor general’s report, the government’s position has not improved. Now, apparently, there are other options to consider. Now, apparently, the phrase “fifth generation” is “not helpful.” And soon, assumedly, there will be confirmation of a decidedly larger price tag for a plane the Conservatives once insisted the country absolutely had to have.
Here Mr. Kellway stood to mock the Defence Minister. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 10:31 AM - 0 Comments
Yesterday, via Twitter, I sought clarification on environmental policy in the province of Alberta.
Technical question: Does Alberta have a carbon tax, cap and trade or both?
Among the respondents was Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose.
Alberta’s policy prices carbon but funds are directed into a technology fund to reduce GHG’s not to general govnt revenue.
I followed-up with Ms. Ambrose.
Do you support that?
And Ms. Ambrose obliged with a response.
works for Alberta because money stays in Alberta and is managed by an investment board. Can’t comment on GHG reduction results.
This has been the second instalment of Exchanging tweets with Rona Ambrose.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, November 21, 2012 at 6:03 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. Oh how happy Conservatives must’ve been made last night to read the inflammatory remarks of Liberal MP David McGuinty. Oh how giddy they must’ve been at the prospect of hanging this one on the Liberal side. One presumes several backbenchers could barely sleep, so anxious to get on with today’s festival of shame.
Well, of course, happy and outraged. Deeply, terribly outraged. Yes, yes, incredibly outraged. Profoundly saddened even.
So immensely outraged, in fact, that the Immigration Minister was sent out after the meeting of the Conservative caucus to specially address the matter. And no less than four Conservatives—each of them an Albertan who could claim a personal affront—were sent up before Question Period to variously fume. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 3:58 PM - 0 Comments
Industry will always favour a carbon tax over emissions regulations: it dilutes costs & defers real action on environment.
I responded with a question.
So do you agree then that a regulatory approach will actually be costlier than a carbon tax or cap and trade?
Ms. Ambrose tweeted back.
Regs target industry change ie: new technology. Carbon tax merely raises revenue for govt: no certainty of environmental change
I asked another question.
Wouldn’t cap and trade provide for certainty and mitigate the impact of increased costs on consumers?
To that I added a link to this post by Stephen Gordon.
Ms. Ambrose hasn’t responded, but I’ll update this post if she does. I’ve also asked her office if she’d like to do an interview about environmental policy and carbon pricing. There is, indisputably, a debate to be had about greenhouse gas emissions, climate change and how governments should respond to those challenges. I’ve filed a standing request with the offices of Peter Kent and Joe Oliver if either (or both) want to sit down for an interview and I’m happy to chat with anyone who has an opinion on the matter.
By Mitchel Raphael - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at 12:25 PM - 0 Comments
Plus: Rona Ambrose, Irshad Manji and Sen. Linda Frum
Since the beginning of this session of Parliament, Liberal leadership hopeful Justin Trudeau’s seatmate in the House has been Kirsty Duncan. Duncan has a Ph.D. in geography, is considered one of the world’s leading experts on pandemics and served on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group that won the 2007 Nobel Prize with former U.S. vice-president Al Gore. What did Duncan and Trudeau do between votes or when they had extra time in the House? Trudeau would bring drafting paper. Says Duncan: “He taught me how to do these 3D engineering puzzles. I had never done them before.” She says Trudeau is always interested in the latest technology and often suggests books on science to her. “He’s a voracious reader,” says Duncan. Once she brought him to a Hindu mandir where they also had a museum: “He was able to go from exhibit to exhibit, whether it was about the history of pi or deities, he could comment on everything.”
Ambrose’s girl power
Status of Women Minister Rona Ambrose was recently at the United Nations to help celebrate the first International Day of the Girl. Plan International and Plan Canada, two development charities, had been fighting to have the day recognized for years, but it was only after much arm-twisting by Ambrose, who got involved with the campaign a year ago, that the UN adopted Oct. 11 as the special day. Ambrose says Turkey was a key ally bringing Muslim countries on board. Peru helped negotiate with South American countries. Many international landmarks, including the Egyptian pyramids and the CN Tower, were lit up in pink that day. Ambrose was presented with an award at the UN, which she dedicated to Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old girl recently shot by the Taliban because of her fight for girls’ education rights.
The most moving moment for Ambrose was reconnecting with a young girl from rural Cameroon named Fabiola. When Ambrose met her a year ago, Fabiola had been fighting against forced marriages in her village. The girl’s plight, along with those of other girls grappling with harsh issues like honour crimes, sex-selective abortion and child trafficking, inspired the minister to get involved. Says the Minister: “They are just teenagers and these are the issues that happen in their communities.”
Suspicious email to Frum
Tory Sen. Linda Frum recently helped host a talk by Irshad Manji about her experiences in Indonesia for her new book Allah, Liberty and Love: The Courage to Reconcile Faith and Freedom. Manji, a well-known advocate for progressive and moderate Islam, spoke to the Canada-Indonesia Parliamentary Friendship Group. She discussed troubling changes she’s seen take place in Indonesia. In May, she was attacked by extremists there during a book event; a human shield of Muslim women hid and protected her. What Manji didn’t discuss was Frum’s assistance after that attack. Frum had received a strange message from Manji’s email account asking the senator to answer questions about Manji and send them to the Canadian embassy in Jakarta. Feeling suspicious, Frum called Manji, who told her about the attack and that she’d lost her passport. Frum arranged to get her a new passport immediately.
The two women have known each other for eight years, having met at an event Frum hosted with her brother David for the author Christopher Hitchens. Frum’s daughter also interviewed Manji last year at the Bishop Strachan School boarding school for girls in Toronto. When asked if her daughter was going to continue in the Frum tradition of journalism, the senator said there is no set path yet. Her daughter is currently studying ethics at the University of Toronto.
By Emma Teitel - Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 11:06 AM - 0 Comments
The Conservatives didn’t want to open debate surrounding Bill M-312. MPs weighed in anyway
Rona Ambrose is the minister for status of women. She is also the new enemy of the Canadian pro-choice movement, because she voted in favour of M-312 last week, Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth’s controversial motion that would allow for an all-party parliamentary committee to revisit the question of when exactly a human life begins (read: hopefully in the womb, not outside). The motion, which Prime Minister Stephen Harper voted against, was defeated in the House of Commons by a vote of 203 to 91. Critics have called Woodworth’s motion disingenuous; he didn’t officially reopen the abortion debate, they argue, but he tried to start a conversation that might have led us down that path. Lately, however, the question is less about Woodworth than it is about Ambrose: should a champion of women’s rights, especially the federal champion of women’s rights in Canada, be supportive of any legislation that could potentially bring abortion laws back to Canada? (In 1988, the Supreme Court struck them down.)
A lot of people think not. In particular, Ambrose has raised the ire of women’s groups and certain politicians, most notably the official Opposition. NDP MP Niki Ashton practically called for her resignation on the web (“time for a new minister,” she tweeted) and a number of online petitions followed suit—one of which, on the activist website avaaz.org, has more than 15,000 signatures. Janet Currie, a board member of the Canadian Women’s Health Network, told me last week the abortion debate “should no longer be in the public domain” and it’s “contradictory that a minister who’s supposed to be defending women’s rights” would try to reinstate it.
But things are not always as they seem. Ambrose has been fairly quiet in the wake of the backlash, but she did reveal, in less than 140 characters, her actual motivation for voting yes on M-312. “I have repeatedly raised concerns about discrimination of girls by sex-selection abortion,” she tweeted last week. “No law needed, but we need awareness!” In other words, Ambrose isn’t interested in legislating against a woman’s right to choose. Rather, she would like to have a discussion about the motive behind that choice, more specifically, the choice of aborting a fetus because it’s female. M-312 may have died last Wednesday, but it left something behind: the awkward reality that the reproductive rights feminists fight for are the same rights used to discriminate against female fetuses via sex-selective abortion.
By macleans.ca - Monday, October 1, 2012 at 6:27 AM - 0 Comments
The political workweek of Sept. 24-28 generated five stories with sequels and endings and next chapters that we look forward to reading (and writing):
- The outcry over Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose’s surprise vote in favour of a Tory backbenchers’s motion to study when life begins might have been the sort of story flares briefly and is soon forgotten. After all, even though Ambrose also has cabinet responsibility for the status of women, her vote in the House for a study, which would have reopened elements of the abortion debate, didn’t have much practical impact: the motion was easily defeated. Full stop? Maybe not. For starters, another Conservative MP plans to table a motion condemning sex-selection abortion, a matter on which Ambrose expresses deep concern. She’s been praised for her handling of shipbuilding contracts, trusted by Prime Minister Stephen Harper sort out the F-35 fiasco, but will she become a political liability for reasons that have nothing to do with her core files? Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, September 28, 2012 at 2:58 PM - 0 Comments
This morning during QP, the Bloc’s Andre Bellavance returned to the question of Rona Ambrose’s vote on Motion 312. Ms. Ambrose’s parliamentary secretary, Susan Truppe, took the questions.
André Bellavance: Monsieur le Président, l’appui de la ministre de la Condition féminine à une motion visant à rouvrir le débat sur l’avortement soulevé une désapprobation monstre chez les groupes de femmes au Québec. Après la Fédération des femmes du Québec et la Fédération du Québec pour le planning des naissances qui demandent sa démission, plusieurs autres voix s’élèvent contre sa prise de position: la ministre de la Condition féminine du Québec, le Conseil du statut de la femme, l’Intersyndicale des femmes et plus de 10 000 signataires de pétitions qui circulent depuis 24 heures seulement. La ministre a peut-être voté selon ses valeurs, mais admettra-t-elle qu’elle est maintenant inapte à occuper un poste dont le mandat est pourtant de veiller aux intérêts et à la défense des droits des femmes?
Susan Truppe: Mr. Speaker, MPs have voted, the House of Commons voted, we now have to get on with other issues. I am very proud of what our government has done for women and girls. Our government has supported over 550 projects for women and girls from coast to coast to coast. We have increased funding for women and girls to its highest level ever, over any other government.
André Bellavance: Monsieur le Président, au sein même du caucus conservateur, certains veulent clore le débat, comme la députée de Mississauga—Brampton-Sud qui dit que ce débat nous ramène à l’ère des dinosaures. Certains autres veulent toutefois malheureusement revenir à la charge. Le premier ministre dont le leadership a été ébranlé par le vote majoritaire de son caucus qui contredit sa promesse électorale, mettra-t-il fin à l’ambiguïté qui subsiste relativement à cette question, comme le lui demande l’Assemblée nationale du Québec dans une motion unanime?
Susan Truppe: Mr. Speaker, as I said, MPs were representing their constituents. The House of Commons voted and it is time to move on. We are very proud of what our government has done for women and girls and we have made that very clear. As I said, over 550 projects were supported for women and girls from coast to coast to coast and we have approved the most amount of money for women and girls, over any other government.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, September 28, 2012 at 12:58 PM - 0 Comments
Tim Powers suggests Rona Ambrose’s mistake is in not explaining herself.
Ms. Ambrose made a mistake around the vote on M312. For me, the mistake wasn’t the supportive position she took, though as someone who is pro-choice I wouldn’t have voted for M312 if presented the opportunity. The mistake was her lack of full public communication as to why she decided to take the position she did. Her single vote-related tweet noting her view that she opposed sex-selective abortions wasn’t enough.
As I said earlier on Twitter, I’m not sure there was anything inherently wrong with her vote—as some seem to be arguing—but I think she should be willing to explain that vote, just as any politician should be willing to explain themselves. (To my reading, her tweet actually only begs for more explanation: if no law is needed, why vote in favour of a motion that might have resulted in changing the law?)
By macleans.ca - Friday, September 28, 2012 at 12:51 PM - 0 Comments
To be discussed: Rona Ambrose, Jim Prentice and PM Harper’s M.I.A. agenda
John Geddes, Paul Wells and Aaron Wherry discuss Motion 312, pipelines and priorities.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, September 28, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
Conservative MP James Lunney explains his vote in favour of Motion 312.
It has come up in every election. I repeat that yes, I am pro-life. I studied embryology at university; I had a course on obstetrics and gynecology as part of my second degree studies. My first child was in the womb at that time and my wife and I followed the development keenly throughout her pregnancy. A close friend from the Oceanside area recently sent me a recording of her grandchild’s heartbeat in the womb, 160 beats per minute; they are excited about the arrival of a new grandchild.
Many Canadians do not realize that Canada has no law on abortion. There is no prohibition on abortion at any stage of development. Since there are no restrictions at all, we have the most liberal abortion regime in the world. There is no prohibition on a young woman using abortion as birth control, six to eight serial abortions; yes, it happens! And at taxpayers’ expense.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 4:16 PM - 0 Comments
At the very end of Question Period this afternoon, the Bloc’s Andre Bellavance stood and asked if, after last night’s vote on Motion 312, Rona Ambrose would be resigning as the minister responsible for the status of women. Ms. Ambrose responded without addressing her vote.
Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that this is the first question that I have received on the Status of Women file this year. In fact, I think this is the first question I have received since last year as well. Do you know why that is, Mr. Speaker?
It was around this point that a voice from somewhere on the opposition side yelled out something like “you’re useless” or “because you’re useless.”
It is because this government has an incredible track record of standing up for Canadian women and girls. We have increased the funding to the Status of Women to its highest point in Canadian history. So far, in just a couple of years, we have funded over 550 projects from coast to coast to coast to tackle violence against women and empower women and girls, and we will continue to do just that.
I emailed Ms. Ambrose’s office earlier today to ask if there was a statement from the minister on last night’s vote, but I have not received a response. The only explanation so far is this tweet.
I have repeatedly raised concerns about discrimination of girls by sex selection abortion: no law needed, but we need awareness!
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, June 21, 2012 at 5:55 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. “Mr. Speaker, this spring we saw the Conservatives abandon the very principles they claim they came to Ottawa to defend,” Thomas Mulcair declared this afternoon. “Ramming through their Trojan Horse budget bill.”
“Wrong!” called Conservative MP Jeff Watson.
“Gutting their own Federal Accountability Act,” Mr. Mulcair continued.
“Wrong!” chirped Watson.
“Treating their backbench MPs like a rubber stamp,” Mr. Mulcair went on.
“Double wrong!” Watson cried.
“Using closure a record number of times,” Mr. Mulcair proceeded to general grumbling and mumbling from the government side, “electoral fraud, slush funds and, of course, ministers travelling the world staying in luxury hotels and taking $23,000 limo rides on the taxpayers’ dime.”
On all of this the leader of the opposition had two questions. “How can a former member of the Reform Party defend this behaviour?” he asked. “This summer, will the Prime Minister just shuffle the deck chairs on the Titanic or will he get his Conservative cabinet under control?”
This being the last Question Period for nearly three months, it was now Mr. Harper’s turn to impart best wishes for the summer ahead. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 10:56 AM - 0 Comments
Mr. Speaker, it is true that the costing figures are available from the joint strike fighter program in the United States, but what we have said is that we want those figures, that would be cost estimates from the Department of National Defence, to be independently validated. The secretariat has asked for more time to do that. It wants to do this comprehensively. It is also looking at independently validating the cost assumptions that the Department of National Defence is using and meeting the recommendation of the Auditor General.
In other news, it’s now been 50 days since I asked Julian Fantino’s office to account for the auditor general’s suggestion that National Defence already had the numbers for a 36-year lifecycle estimate.
By Gabriela Perdomo - Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at 5:00 AM - 0 Comments
… and what about Tony Clement gig with Elvis?
The Sheepdogs break Hill protocol
Saskatoon band the Sheepdogs were in the capital to play a special concert at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa along with the Quebec rock band Karkwa. The event was part of an ongoing music series put together by Heritage Minister James Moore to help expose MPs to Canadian music. This was the second such night he organized. The first was in December and featured Jim Cuddy and Marie-Eve Janvier. The idea stemmed from the success of the special Canadian movie nights Moore has been hosting for some time. The concert series has no official name but the folks at Music Canada, who helped organize the evening, refer to it simply as the minister’s “Music Night.” Moore was unable to host the event at the last minute and asked Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose to step in to emcee. This infuriated Treasury Board President Tony Clement, who pointed out he actually bought the Sheepdogs’ music way back. Clement joked from his seat at the NAC concert: “I have a bone to pick with James Moore.”
In 2011, the Sheepdogs were the first unsigned band to grace the cover of Rolling Stone. All members sport signature long hair with serious facial scruff or full beards. At the concert’s pre-party, Ambrose joked: “They make my hair look small.” At the party, they met Tim Hockey, Canadian banking group head for Toronto-Dominion Bank, one of the evening’s sponsors. Hockey said he wanted to hug the band after bassist Ryan Gullen told him that TD was the only financial institution that would give them a line of credit. For years, said Gullen, the Sheepdogs lived off that credit, which helped fund the band’s creative endeavours like producing their CDs. Gullen said there was never a lineup in their bank and all the tellers knew them by name.