By Aaron Wherry - Monday, May 6, 2013 - 0 Comments
Speaking with Radio-Canada—near the end of the video here—Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney demonstrates how to explain the importance of
World War II Canada’s military history to kids these days.
“We talk about Gangnam Style. There’d be no Gangnam Style if there hadn’t been sacrifices on the part of Canadians [and] members of the United Nations who united behind a resolution to repel communism.”
Perhaps this will form the basis of a chapter in the study of Canadian history that the Heritage Committee is preparing.
Update 12:18pm. Though the occasion was to mark the Battle of the Atlantic, it seems possibly (likely?) that Mr. Blaney wasn’t referring to World War II. Maybe he was referring to the Korean War. Absent the full context of the comment, it is open to interpretation.
Update 1:51pm. Mr. Blaney’s press secretary tweets.
Thanks to the sacrifices of Cdn
#Vets, S.Korea is now economically strong & democratic. Clearly it’s also a cultural superpower
By John Geddes - Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 12:22 PM - 0 Comments
It’s fascinating to see controversy stirred up over an old blog post by NDP MP Alexandre Boulerice in which he called World War I “a purely capitalist war” and lamented how, at the Battle of Vimy Ridge on April 9, 1917, “thousands of poor wretches were slaughtered to take possession of a hill.”
Conservatives, led by Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney, have expressed outrage and demanded Boulerice apologize. So far, he hasn’t. For the record, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair had already released a statement praising the legendary efforts of Canadians soldiers in the landmark battle. [I've clarified this sentence since an earlier version might have left the impression Mulcair issued the statement only after the Boulerice blog became an issue.]
I’m not sure how reflecting on the tragedy of thousands dying to capture a height of land would be inconsistent with acknowledging their military prowess in doing so, much less insulting to veterans. More interesting, I think, is the strangeness of how World War I can remain a politically fraught subject nearly a century on.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 10:34 AM - 0 Comments
If Mr. Boulerice does indeed oppose World War I, he would join the likes of Pope Benedict XV, Bertrand Russell, Helen Keller and Henry Ford in opposition. In Canada, World War I also precipitated the Conscription Crisis of 1917.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 5:43 PM - 0 Comments
Conservative MP Robert Goguen had apparently been up late last night, carefully reviewing the main estimates and he was keen this afternoon to rise shortly before Question Period and report back to the House with what he’d found. “Yesterday, in main estimates, there were significant reductions in the cost of prisons due to the influx of new prisoners not materializing,” the government backbencher celebrated, dismissing opposition concerns about prison spending in the process.
Mr. Goguen was being modest. At last report there were actually more individuals in prison than ever before. Which would seem to render those “significant reductions” all the more impressive. (Although the increasing violence in prisons might make it more difficult to feel good about frugality.)
This good news might’ve ruled the day were it not for those on the opposition side who’d also taken some time to review the estimates themselves. They were decidedly less enthused than Mr. Goguen.
“Mr. Speaker, at the same time that we continue to read in the estimates with respect to the cuts that are being made in front line programs, in foreign aid programs, in foreign affairs budgets, we now see that the CIC is increasing its advertising budget by $4 million, the Department of Finance is increasing its advertising budget by nearly $7 million, and the Department of Natural Resources is increasing its advertising budget by $4.5 million compared to the main estimates of last year,” interim Liberal leader Bob Rae reported, reading from a white piece of paper.
Now Mr. Rae wagged his finger in the Prime Minister’s general direction. “I would like to ask the Prime Minister how he can justify again this double standard where front line services are being cut but propaganda is being increased?”
Oddly, Mr. Harper begged to differ almost entirely. “Mr. Speaker,” the Prime Minister corrected, “those front line services are not being cut.”
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
The week so far in federal funding for snow grooming machines.
Tuesday. Acting on behalf of the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, Jacques Gourde, Member of Parliament for Lotbinière-Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, today announced the awarding of $90,000 in non-repayable funding to Club motoneige Alton Inc. for the acquisition of a new snow grooming machine.
Tuesday. Acting on behalf of the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, Jacques Gourde, Member of Parliament for Lotbinière-Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, today announced the awarding of $108,885 in non-repayable funding to Moto-Club Bois-Francs Inc. for the acquisition of a new snow grooming machine.
Wednesday. Acting on behalf of the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, today announced that two Chaudière-Appalaches snowmobiling clubs, Club de motoneige Bellechasse and Motoneige des Etchemins, have been granted financial assistance to improve the quality of the trails under their responsibility.
Three weeks ago, a half dozen clubs in Quebec received a combined total of $481,911 for new snow grooming machines.
A search of Marketwire’s archive, turns up eight snow grooming machine announcements in 2011 and 13 announcements in 2010.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, November 12, 2012 at 8:27 AM - 0 Comments
“Let me just say that government of Canada puts as you know a very high priority on care for our veterans. This government has made enormous, billions of dollars worth of investments in programs particularly for the most needy veterans,” Harper told reporters at a news conference with the Philippine president Benigno Aquino.
“Obviously those programs are under constant review and we will continue to assess their suitability going forward.”
Yesterday on West Block, Tom Clark asked Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney about the treatment of veterans, including the Last Post Fund. Here’s the transcript. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, September 17, 2012 at 7:25 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. John Baird pointed at Thomas Mulcair and laughed.
Conservative MP Andrew Saxton was on his feet a couple rows back, claiming that the leader of the opposition had spent the summer promoting the idea of a tax on carbon. Mr. Baird apparently thought this was funny. Mr. Saxton had been preceded by Shelly Glover. And Mr. Saxton and Ms. Glover would be followed by Conservative MP John Williamson, all rising in the moments before Question Period to recite their assigned talking points.
Peter Van Loan had accused Mr. Mulcair of favouring a carbon tax this morning at a news conference to mark the start of the fall sitting. Two hours later, the Conservative party press office had then issued a “fact check” repeating the claim. Veteran Affairs Minister Steven Blaney posted the talking point to Facebook. Tim Uppal, the minister of state for democratic reform, tweeted it. Minister of International Co-operation Julian Fantino tweeted it too.
Last week it was Conservative MPs Phil McColeman, Susan Truppe, Joe Preston and Ed Holder. The week before that it was Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver. Back in June, the Conservatives launched television attack ads that repeated the claim.
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 - 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 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 - Saturday, October 22, 2011 at 3:22 PM - 0 Comments
John McCallum and Tony Clement exchanged tweets. The shadow cabinet was shuffled. House of Commons redistribution proposals were floated, but Tim Uppal cautioned against believing everything a government source tells you. The Harper government tabled its Wheat Board reforms and took aim at its crime-fighting partners. Dean Del Mastro’s lamented selectively. Steven Blaney sided with the French. Charlie Angus kept on mocking Mr. Clement. John Turner kept on complaining. And Pat Martin tried to explain himself. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, October 19, 2011 at 11:44 AM - 10 Comments
At an event Tuesday honouring those who fought and died in Canada’s name, Blaney told a group of school children he was “a little bit” on the side of French General the Marquis Louis-Joseph de Montcalm. ”I was not there, yet,” Blaney told the kids with a chuckle, “but I was a little bit leaning for the French, at that time. And still, today.”
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, June 14, 2011 at 7:37 PM - 27 Comments
So the House is almost entirely agreed. Colonel Gadhafi of Libya is an undesirable despot, guilty, it would seem, of various abuses and disgraces, likely up to and including crimes against humanity and thus, through some combination of diplomacy, humanitarian aid and bombs, he must be prevented from doing any further harm to the people of Libya, they who should be allowed to proceed soon enough to freedom and democracy.
Now, if only the House could agree on how best to describe the process by which this general notion might be made real.
“Our strategy is clear,” John Baird proclaimed this morning. “By applying steady and unrelenting military and diplomatic pressure while also delivering humanitarian assistance we can protect the civilian population, degrade the capabilities of the regime and create the conditions for a genuine political opening. At the same time we can bolster the capacity of the Libyan opposition to meet the challenges of post-Gadhafi Libya and to lay the foundations of a state based on the sovereignty of the people.”
On this, the Foreign Affairs Minister asked the House of Commons to endorse a three-and-a-half-month extension of Canada’s involvement in the NATO mission over and around Libya. And it was on the occasion of this request that Jack Harris, the NDP’s shadow defence minister, stood a short while later to wonder if we might call this “regime change.” Continue…
By Erica Alini - Friday, June 10, 2011 at 11:14 PM - 18 Comments
Across the street and behind a metal barricade, a young man in a bike helmet, holding a pink sign that read “contempt,” was yelling at Conservative delegates as they filed into the giant glass orb that is the Ottawa convention centre. He yelled about the G8 and the $50 million. He yelled about Bev Oda. He yelled about the defeated candidates now in the Senate. He yelled the word “mockery” more than a few times. Most of the delegates ignored him. Some smiled and laughed and waved.
The man in the bike helmet was eventually joined by about 300 others waving various signs for various reasons. “Beat Back The Tory Attack On Reproductive Justice,” read one. “Whither Joe Clark,” read another. The noisy gathering eventually settled on a simple enough chant: “Hey Har-per! You! Suck!” Later there was something about no one being illegal or some such sentiment. Somewhere in the middle of it all was apparently the rogue Senate page.
Inside the orb, the proceedings were running rather late. Eventually, about a half hour behind schedule, Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney and Senator Pamela Wallin turned up to play host. After throwing to “floor reporters” Mike Duffy and Jacques Demers from interviews with various members of the crowd, Mr. Blaney and Ms. Wallin got around to expounding on how fondly they regarded Stephen Harper. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, February 14, 2011 at 11:42 AM - 91 Comments
Blaney said it’s not an issue of religion. ”I think we are all proud to live in this country,” he said. “We are all proud to share basic principles… one of those basic principles is transparency through our democratic process.”
The government side has known since 2007—after some schooling from commissioner Marc Mayrand—that the current electoral law does not include an absolute demand on visual identification before voting. In 2009, the government abandoned plans to change that. At that time, Elections Canada noted that the apparent problem had not resulted in any apparent issues during the 2008 general election. Continue…
By Michael Petrou - Thursday, October 28, 2010 at 7:39 AM - 0 Comments
From yesterday’s House of Commons proceedings:
Here is my original post:Mr. Speaker, we recently discovered that some Bloc members are supporting a conference that will be attended by the executive director of an NGO that sanctions hateful stereotypes about Jews.
The spokesperson for the Canadian Islamic Congress claims that all Israelis over 18 are legitimate targets for Palestinians. That organization will be represented at the conference. Those remarks are unacceptable.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, September 29, 2010 at 12:45 PM - 0 Comments
Yesterday’s House debate on the census starts here. The following is the first government interjection and the response from Liberal Marc Garneau.
Mr. Steven Blaney (Lévis—Bellechasse, CPC): Madam Speaker, I have a question for the member from Westmount—Ville-Marie. I was very interested in what he had to say, and one word in particular struck me, the word “ridiculous” . I am sure that the member opposite will agree with me when I say that it is ridiculous to put honest citizens in jail for refusing to say how many bedrooms they have in their houses or even what kind of cereal they eat in the morning. That is the issue before the House. How can we collect useful data without infringing on individual freedoms? I would like to know whether the hon. member is ready to work with the government, as he has done in the past. Two questions have been added to the short form to collect information for validation purposes, information that will be useful to all Canadians. Is he ready to propose real solutions and to acknowledge that society and individual freedoms have evolved?
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, September 13, 2010 at 11:44 AM - 0 Comments
On the same day it’s reported that government scientists can’t talk about ancient floods without first submitting an application and receiving written approval, Steve Blaney claims he and his fellow Quebec Conservative MPs donned Nordiques’ jerseys unbeknownst to the Prime Minister’s Office.
“It was a little surprise,” he said.
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 3:49 PM - 0 Comments
Folks from Le Devoir were on the Hill with MPs to mark the Quebec…
Folks from Le Devoir were on the Hill with MPs to mark the Quebec paper’s
100th anniversary. (Left to right) Tory MP Steven Blaney, Le Devoir’s
publisher Bernard Descôteaux and Tory MP Maxime Bernier.
Bloc leader Gilles Duceppe with Descôteaux.
By Philippe Gohier - Friday, January 15, 2010 at 6:40 PM - 23 Comments
Via Jean-François Lisée over at our French-language sister site comes video evidence the Conservative…
Via Jean-François Lisée over at our French-language sister site comes video evidence the Conservative script for explaining last December’s prorogation still has a few holes in it. During a panel discussion alongside opposition MPs on Radio-Canada this past Monday, Steven Blaney, the chair of the Quebec Conservative caucus, was forced to rely on the escape hatch of last resort: make things up as you go along.
Blaney baldly stated bills that were on the order paper would be “automatically re-activated” once Parliament comes back and that shutting everything down simply “prevents debates from going on forever.”
Of course, as his fellow panelists were all too eager to point out, and as everyone with even a passing interest in these things is seemingly aware, that’s patently untrue. (Though, to give Blaney credit, it’s true that prorogation prevents debates from dragging on, if only because it prevents them from taking place at all.) Blaney’s baffling ignorance of parliamentary procedure should perhaps come as no surprise given his other justifications for his extended winter vacation:
* “Stephen Harper is showing leadership.”
* “Our role as parliamentarians isn’t to kill time in Ottawa, it’s to deliver results… Right now, it’s to consult with our people on the budget, solve constituent issues, take care of immigration cases.”
* “What [constituents] want is a government and parliamentarians that deliver the goods.”
As Blaney so succinctly put it, “don’t take Canadians and Quebecers for a bunch of idiots.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.
By Mitchel Raphael - Friday, November 13, 2009 at 10:10 AM - 13 Comments
Heritage Minister James Moore held a special screening of the Quebec film De Père…
Heritage Minister James Moore held a special screening of the Quebec film De Père en Flic at the National Gallery of Canada. Moore (right) is below with the film’s star, Michel Côté.
Seated together in the theatre were Denis Coderre (right), who resigned in a huff as the Liberals’ Quebec Lieutenant, and Pablo Rodriguez, who was named president of the federal Liberal Quebec caucus after Montreal MP Marc Garneau replaced Coderre.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, March 24, 2009 at 5:46 PM - 5 Comments
From his Twitter feed.
I’m always amazed by how many special interest micro-issues the opposition raises during QP, rather than issues of general public concern.
The government has been allowed six of its own questions so far this week. Mike Wallace asked about the government’s position on what an American television personality had said about our military. Steven Blaney ridiculed the Liberal leader and asked to hear what the government has done for Quebec. Rodney Weston asked how the government was supporting seal hunters. Ed Fast asked when the government would begin spending its economic stimulus (giving Vic Toews opportunity to allege opposition obstruction). Kevin Sorenson asked the government to clarify its position on Kashmir. And Bev Shipley asked the Human Resources Minister to repeat her announcement from earlier in the day.