By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, January 4, 2011 - 25 Comments
Peter Kent goes from Minister of State for Foreign Affairs to Minister of Environment. Diane Ablonczy goes from Minister of State for Seniors to Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. Julian Fantino becomes Minister of State for Seniors. Ted Menzies goes from parliamentary secretary for finance to Minister of State for Finance.
With the promotion of Mr. Menzies and the addition of Mr. Fantino, the ministry and the cabinet will once again number 38—one short, on both counts, of the historical high mark.
Official news release after the jump. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, January 4, 2011 at 1:58 PM - 11 Comments
Julian Fantino has just arrived at Rideau Hall for today’s cabinet shuffle. At last report he had no idea what was going on.
“I actually don’t know,” he told QMI Agency. “I know there is an announcement but what it is has not been shared with me so far.”
He was followed soon thereafter by Ted Menzies, who was followed soon thereafter by Diane Ablonczy. The primary question now, assuming he is bound for cabinet, is which historical moment or achievement should Mr. Fantino invoke to explain the significance of this day? After the jump, a quick poll. Continue…
By Mitchel Raphael - Tuesday, December 28, 2010 at 3:11 PM - 1 Comment
Former cabinet minister Jim Prentice held a goodbye party before the House rose. Prentice…
Former cabinet minister Jim Prentice held a goodbye party before the House rose. Prentice (left) with Justice Minister Rob Nicholson.
Tory MP Lynne Yelich (left) with Karen Prentice.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, October 21, 2010 at 6:58 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. As he made his first intervention, Michael Ignatieff insisted on staring down Stephen Harper’s empty chair. Perhaps it’s to the point now that the Liberal leader sees Mr. Harper’s dismissive mug wherever he looks. Perhaps he simply found the green felt of the House seats a soothing sight to gaze upon.
His question this day had to do with the potential sale of Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Incorporated to BHP Billiton Limited and all of the national, economic and social implications within and around that transaction. “Mr. Speaker,” he said, “yesterday when the Prime Minister was asked about the possible sale of Potash Corp he basically shrugged his shoulders and said ‘Australia, America, who cares?’”
In full, the Prime Minister had said, “This is a proposal for an American-controlled company to be taken over by an Australian-controlled company.” Whether Mr. Harper was shrugging at the time, I do not remember. But given that he is given to shrugging reflexively at almost all propositions, it is certainly a distinct possibility. Continue…
By Colby Cosh - Wednesday, June 2, 2010 at 11:55 PM - 3 Comments
On the road again
“Lobbyist has become a bit of a dirty word these days,” admits Alberta MP Ted Menzies. But the former president of the Western Canadian Grain Growers is not afraid to acknowledge his past as an L-word. He was elected to the Commons in 2004, at 52, after a dual career as a working farmer and globe-trotting representative of Canadian agriculture. “When I’m sitting in a committee,” he says, “I never forget what it’s like to be there as a witness, on the other side of the table. Not every politician has that experience.”
By Mitchel Raphael - Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 9:15 AM - 7 Comments
The final All-Party Party organized by NDP MP Peter Stoffer packed 200 West Block….
The final All-Party Party organized by NDP MP Peter Stoffer packed 200 West Block. The building is scheduled for major maintenance and will be closed for years. Below, Liberal Senator David Smith (left) and Tory Senator Nancy Ruth take to the dance floor.
Liberal MP Siobhan Coady.
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, May 6, 2010 at 2:00 PM - 19 Comments
‘It’s Not your mother’s pot’, Why he put forward that bilingual bill and Butter-tart war
‘IT’S NOT YOUR MOTHER’S POT’
A large cloud of marijuana smoke rose above the packed front lawn of Parliament Hill as pot activists (mostly teenagers) gathered for the annual marijuana demonstration. The Liberal party’s position has been for decriminalization for the possession of small amounts of marijuana. But Liberal MP Justin Trudeau is not in favour of decriminalization at all and feels that would be a step in the wrong direction. “It’s not your mother’s pot,” notes Trudeau of the stronger marijuana grown today, in contrast to the weed from hippie days. “I lived in Whistler for years and have seen the effects. We need all our brain cells to deal with our problems.” The day after the protest, a homeless man was seen combing through the Hill grass, looking for marijuana leftovers.
By Mitchel Raphael - Monday, May 3, 2010 at 8:00 AM - 3 Comments
The Dairy Farmers of Canada held a reception at the Fairmont Château Laurier. Below,…
The Dairy Farmers of Canada held a reception at the Fairmont Château Laurier. Below, Minister of International Trade Peter Van Loan.
NDP MP Peter Stoffer.
Tory MP Ted Menzies, parliamentary secretary to the minister of finance, shows off a real “butter” tart.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 10:04 PM - 81 Comments
Yesterday, for instance, the Prime Minister, penning an op-ed for the flagship newspaper of Canada’s liberal media elite, explained that, as part of hosting the G8 summit later this year, Canada will “champion a major initiative to improve the health of women and children in the world’s poorest regions.”
This seemed almost impossible to quibble with. And yet, soon enough, people were asking questions, namely about what precisely the Prime Minister was talking about. How will he go about this? How much will it cost? What about Haiti? What about the deficit? Does this have something to do with abortion?
A reporter today asked Bev Oda, the minister for international development, which countries this country had so far discussed this proposal with. Ms. Oda declined to divulge specifics, but did assure that, in general, there was some interest in pursuing maternal and infant health in “conceptual terms.” “I can report with confidence that generally, all countries and all organizations we discussed with recognize the need and recognize that something can actually be done that will show results,” she reported.
So perhaps this is less an idea than a general notion. Still, it was enough of a concept for the nightly news to conclude this was somehow a setback for the Liberal side: the primary concern in any discussion of the world’s impoverished women and children being, of course, ‘how does this affect Michael Ignatieff’s chances of getting to be Prime Minister?’ Continue…
By Mitchel Raphael - Friday, November 20, 2009 at 6:54 PM - 14 Comments
The Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians held a dinner in the Fairmont Château Laurier ballroom. Below, former Reform MP Deb Grey.
Former NDP leader Ed Broadbent (right) and NDP MP Yvon Godin.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 4:33 PM - 38 Comments
From Question Period this afternoon.
Hon. John McCallum (Markham—Unionville, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the finance minister. Does the increase in employment insurance premiums beginning in 2011 constitute a tax increase, yes or no?
Mr. Ted Menzies (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the simple answer to that is no. Let me remind Canadians what happened to the notional surplus that was in the EI fund years ago. It is gone. Those people who paid into it never got it back. We provided an arm’s-length board to manage that, so that can never happen again.
By Mitchel Raphael - Monday, July 6, 2009 at 6:00 AM - 33 Comments
Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Gail Shea hosted a packed reception at the Westin…
Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Gail Shea hosted a packed reception at the Westin Ottawa for PEI Seafood Processors Association, in an effort to bring awareness to current low-price challenges facing the lobster industry.
Shea and Alberta Tory MP Ted Menzies.
Defence minister Peter MacKay.
Montreal Liberal MP Justin Trudeau.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, May 29, 2009 at 1:30 PM - 1 Comment
Back to the previous Conservative opposition’s demand for objective analysis of the national finances. Here is the NDP’s second question today and the current Conservative government’s response.
Ms. Jean Crowder (Nanaimo—Cowichan, NDP): Mr. Speaker, in the election the Prime Minister said we would have no deficit. In November, that changed to a small surplus. In January, that changed again to a $34 billion deficit. Now the Conservatives are admitting to the largest shortfall in Canadian history. The finance minister has changed his numbers so often that no one is confident that he knows what he is doing. For the good of the country, will the Prime Minister agree to turn the books over to the Parliamentary Budget Officer for an honest appraisal?
Mr. Ted Menzies (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the answer to that is no. We have a very competent finance minister who has done a great job of leading us through the outcome of a worldwide recession. In fact, we have put $29 billion, almost 2% of the GDP, into the economy as stimulus money this year. We care about Canadians. We are helping Canadians. We are there to help industries that are struggling. We are there to help those who are unemployed.
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, May 7, 2009 at 9:00 AM - 2 Comments
Adam Chambers, the aide constantly at Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s side has gone back…
Adam Chambers, the aide constantly at Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s side has gone back to school at the University of Western Ontario. Chambers held a packed goodbye bash at the Métropolitain Brasserie & Restaurant.
Below (left to right) are Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, Flaherty, Chambers and Minister of International Cooperation Bev Oda.
Aliya Mohamed and Aaron Campbell from the PMO.
Conservative staffer Kyle Vis.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, April 2, 2009 at 6:01 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. To everyone’s infinite credit, Question Period passed today without a single reference to a bathroom, toilet, loo or water closet. There were two snide references to the Prime Minister’s ability to keep his photo op appointments, but given the bad puns that might have been employed, our Parliamentarians are otherwise probably to be congratulated for their restraint.
This afternoon, the last regular Question Period before a two-week Easter break, was instead dominated by far less giggle-worthy subjects like the economy and far more cringe-worthy matters like our continued engagement in Afghanistan.
On the former, the story remains much the same as it’s been for weeks. The opposition finds the Prime Minister confusing at best, hapless at worst. The government continues to struggle with their democratic responsibility to answer such charges. With the Prime Minister and Finance Minister in London, it was Ted Menzies’ duty to take most of the questions today and, though normally a good-natured sort and dressed today in a dashing pink tie and pink shirt ensemble, he seemed in a terrible mood, snapping and glaring and moaning about the bothersome nature of his inquisitors. Questions were asked, responses were offered, little if anything was achieved.
On the latter, there was a half-hearted attempt at once more trying to understand the Afghan legislature’s recent attempt to undermine everything we say we ‘re over there fighting for. Continue…
By Mitchel Raphael - Friday, March 20, 2009 at 3:55 PM - 7 Comments
And the ‘Slumdog’ star’s opinion of Calgary
The anti-Julie Couillard
At this year’s Politics & the Pen gala, the Writers’ Trust of Canada awarded the $25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for political writing to James Orbinski for An Imperfect Offering: Humanitarian Action in the Twenty-first Century. Last year, Maxime Bernier arrived at the event with Julie Couillard in a tight gold dress. Times have changed. This year Bernier was spotted walking in with someone a little less flamboyant: fellow Tory MP Ted Menzies, wearing a bow tie and cummerbund in his family’s tartan. One MP quipped that Couillard really should have been invited, noting that she did, in fact, write a book. At this glitzy A-list event filled with writers and politicians, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, Transport Minister John Baird, and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty all spent time greeting the glamorous Stefania Capovilla, who was attending her first Politics & the Pen. Capovilla knows these politicians’ true colours: she’s their hairstylist. She coifs a virtual who’s who list of Ottawa’s political elite thanks to PMO staffer Aaron Campbell, who first visited her while the Conservatives were in opposition and then started recommending her to others. She even cuts Stephen Harper’s hair. The gala’s entertainment was provided by comedian Brent Butt from Corner Gas, who was seated next to Laureen Harper. Butt doesn’t understand why, having had two sitting PMs on the show, he still has to pay taxes. During his routine, the lights kept going on and off. The mystery was solved when it turned out that Mrs. Harper’s RCMP guard was leaning on the light switch in the Fairmont Château Laurier ballroom. Continue…
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, March 12, 2009 at 9:31 PM - 50 Comments
The Writers’ Trust of Canada handed out their annual $25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize honouring…
The Writers’ Trust of Canada handed out their annual $25,000 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize honouring political writing excellence to James Orbinski for An Imperfect Offering: Humanitarian Action in the Twenty-first Century at the annual Politics and the Pen gala dinner in the Fairmont Château Laurier ballroom. Politics and the Pen is one of Ottawa’s A-list events and brings out top politicians, including Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt and Transport Minister John Baird.
A full press! Adam Chambers, aide to Jim Flaherty, with Lynn Meahan (left), press secretary to Labour Minister Rona Ambrose, and Jasmine MacDonnell, press secretary to Natural Resources Minister Lisa Raitt.
Laureen Harper with former Conservative MP Monte Solberg and designer Justina McCaffrey.
By Mitchel Raphael - Sunday, February 15, 2009 at 2:21 AM - 16 Comments
The Dairy Farmers of Canada held a special reception at the Fairmont Château Laurier…
The Dairy Farmers of Canada held a special reception at the Fairmont Château Laurier for their 75th anniversary. The farmers served chocolate fudge cheddar and other tasty goodies.
NDP leader Jack Layton and NDP New Brunswick MP Yvon Godin.
Defence Minister Peter MacKay.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 1:46 AM - 68 Comments
Not to pick on Ted Menzies, who seems like a nice enough guy and is at least brave enough, if memory serves, to wear a pink tie in public, but he repeated on Monday an assessment of our current situation that never fails to seem at least debatable.
Here is the relevant part of his response to a question from Liberal John McCallum.
“As much as members of the opposition would like to suggest that they knew what was coming, they knew nothing more about what was coming than anybody did. This was no fault of Canada, but we have been proactively getting Canadians prepared for these challenges.”
By John Geddes - Tuesday, February 10, 2009 at 1:28 PM - 12 Comments
The federal government’s standard line on why they took so long to react to the economy’s plunge into recession, and why they denied until the last possible moment that massive deficits were looming, is that nobody saw the dark clouds gathering.
Ted Menzies, Finance Minster Jim Flaherty’s parliamentary secretary and increasingly the Tories’ main voice on the economy, shot back at the Liberals yesterday, “As much as members of the opposition would like to suggest that they knew what was coming, they knew nothing more about what was coming than anybody did.”
It’s true that there was no consensus forecast, through most of last year, that saw Canada suffering a deep recession in 2009, and a return to staggering deficits in Ottawa. However, it’s false to suggest that danger signals were utterly absent from reputable projections last year.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, February 9, 2009 at 6:36 PM - 15 Comments
The Scene. Michael Ignatieff, perhaps the best-schooled leader of the opposition since at least the last one, opened the proceedings with reference to the American philosophers, William Abbott and Louis Costello.
“Mr. Speaker, 129,000 jobs were lost in January. Personal bankruptcies increased by more than 50 per cent in December,” he said. “On Friday, the Prime Minister said that there will be no more help for Canadians even if the economy continues to worsen. Then, his Minister of Finance said exactly the opposite. So who is on first?”
Who was away this day. Absent too was What. So it fell to Ted Menzies (I Don’t Give A Darn in this analogy) to table the government’s official response. ”Mr. Speaker, it is a very plain and simple message that the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance delivered,” Menzies said. “It is as simple as this: The finance minister has said that if the economy continues to decline, this government will not abandon Canadians. The Prime Minister was referring to the fact that he will not accept any amendments to this budget.”
Despite this reassurance that Canadians would be neither abandoned, nor have Parliamentary democracy imposed upon them, the Liberal leader continued with his casting of doubt. Mr. Menzies, easily distracted, responded with complaint about the lack of deference shown his government by the Bloc Quebecois and NDP.
“The only contradiction in this House of Commons is the fact that we have two parties, the Bloc and the NDP, that are refusing to work with the majority representation of Canadians that want to get people back to work and stem the job loss,” he said. “We have the Bloc and the NDP who, before they even read the budget, said they did not care about Canadians losing their jobs.”
A moment later, Mr. Menzies, besmirched apparently by the sound of his own voice, was declaring that now is a not a time to be “playing politics.” Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, January 27, 2009 at 7:54 PM - 9 Comments
When it was all over, when Jim Flaherty had finished with his mind-numbing ode—24 pages in all—to these mind-numbing times, the Liberals sent up Siobhan Coady, a rookie MP from Newfoundland, to respond. From the back row of the opposition side she wondered aloud about what has happened these last few months—the buying opportunities of October, the optimistic projections of November, the Prime Minister’s abrupt dash from Parliament, the grave pronouncements of now and the Canadians rendered jobless in between.
“Ya gonna vote for it or not?” yelped a Conservative, apparently eager to have the budget approved and this dalliance with bipartisanship done with.
“As I’m sure the honourable member knows,” Mr. Flaherty said in Ms. Coady’s direction, “we are living in extraordinary times.”
No doubt here was a rare motion that might pass this place unanimously. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Sunday, January 18, 2009 at 7:29 PM - 4 Comments
The lo-fi, but immensely helpful, HowdTheyVote.ca appears to have been updated through the current sitting of Parliament.
The most verbose member of parliament (aside from Speaker Peter Milliken) during fall’s abbreviated session? Ted Menzies, who, as parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Finance, has already managed an impressive 10,361 words.
Paul Szabo, Paul Crete and Jack Layton were the most talkative members of the Liberal, Bloc and New Democrat sides respectively.
Gordon O’Connor (chief government whip) and Rona Ambrose (Minister of Labour) have so far gotten by on a combined 122 words. Thirty-eight MPs, including Michael Ignatieff, have so far yet to speak.
By Aaron Wherry - Sunday, November 30, 2008 at 4:43 PM - 16 Comments
During Jim Flaherty’s noon teleconference he was asked if his government had shown itself to be tone deaf to the present political situation and the profound economic turmoil would seem to supersede all else. I do not recall a subsequent admission of haplessness from the Finance Minister.
A short while later though, he was asked about opposition criticism for another part of his fiscal update: the proposed changes to the rules governing pay equity for women. Mr. Flaherty said he had not heard of such complaints, nor had he been informed by his staff of any such complaints.
That admission is altogether remarkable. Not least because the Prime Minister’s Office has just sent out a press release trumpeting its ability to eavesdrop on the telephone conversations of other parties. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, November 26, 2008 at 5:40 PM - 9 Comments
The Scene. Stephane Dion rose first, up with a downer of an announcement.
“Mr. Speaker,” he lamented, “tomorrow will be a sad day for Canadians.”
How so exactly? Because, Mr. Dion explained, tomorrow the government will reveal its intentions for our increasingly dizzy and frequently dizzying economy. And with that, Mr. Dion warned, the government will make clear its plans to set the country back no less than twenty years. “Au temps Mulroney,” he cried.
Happy news no doubt for the mysterious German arms dealers among us.
Perhaps missing the Liberal leader’s point, Ted Menzies jumped up quick in celebration. “Thank goodness,” he said, “it was the Conservatives that won the election!”
Here, at least, was a sentiment no doubt shared by some on the Liberal side. Indeed, if there is a good time to be in opposition it is surely in these moments of profound economic chaos. All the more so when the government side is only managing to forcefully remind the citizenry how unable they are to impose order on the global financial system. Continue…