By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 0 Comments
Just before Question Period this afternoon, Costas Menegakis, the Conservative MP for Richmond Hill, stood in his spot along the back row of the government side and lamented for the NDP’s quibbles with a piece of government legislation.
“The NDP has proven once again that they will always put the interests of criminals first,” he reported, his words thus committed to the official record where they will remain in his name for eternity.
Was this uncivil?
A few spots after Mr. Mengakis, it was Ted Opitz’s turn. “Yesterday my NDP colleague from Scarborough Southwest said that his party will offer practical solutions,” explained the Conservative MP who had to fight all the way to the Supreme Court for the honour to stand in this place and say these words. “What he fails to mention is that the NDP solution is a new $21 billion job-killing carbon tax.”
This is mostly ridiculous, but is it uncivil?
Question Period then began. Soon enough, Bob Rae was on his feet, speaking loudly and wagging his finger at the Prime Minister.
“Mr. Speaker, it is clear after the Minister of Finance’s attack on the Parliamentary Budget Officer, Mr. Kevin Page, that it is the Prime Minister’s intention to turn the taxpayers’ watchdog into his personal lapdog. That is the plan that the government has,” he declared. “Why is the government having to fire Marty Cheliak, Pat Stogran, Linda Keen, Peter Tinsley, Paul Kennedy, Adrian Measner, Munir Sheikh, Steve Sullivan and Remy Beauregard? Why is the name of Kevin Page being added to this list of people who are being thrown out of the bus because they had an independent opinion about something?”
Was that uncivil? 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 - Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 5:59 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. Of all the festive games to be played on Halloween, shaming committee chairs is somewhat less messy than leaving a bag of flaming dog poop on a neighbour’s doorstep, but decidedly less fun than bobbing for apples. Alas, under the stodgy rules of parliamentary decorum, it was the best the NDP could offer this afternoon.
The New Democrats have been occupying themselves these days with attempting to convince various committees to take up study of C-45, the government’s latest budget bill. The Conservatives, soon after tabling the bill in the House, had said that they would allow the bill to be studied at 10 committees. The Conservatives vowed they would move a motion at the finance committee to do just that. But the New Democrats were apparently keen to see those studies commence post haste and so have been proposing motions hither and yon. Each of those efforts seems to have been stymied. And so now the New Democrats get to claim great umbrage.
“Mr. Speaker, this is simple,” Megan Leslie explained this afternoon. “A motion was proposed, we went in camera, and the motion never came out again.”
Ms. Leslie wondered if the chair of the environment committee—Conservative MP Mark Warawa—might stand and confirm that he was going to be scheduling hearings on C-45. To respond though stood Transport Minister Denis Lebel, who assured Ms. Leslie of the validity of the budget’s changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act. Continue…