By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, March 30, 2013 - 0 Comments
After his motion on sex-selective abortion was rejected, Mark Warawa said his party leadership was preventing him from speaking in the House. Brent Rathgeber put the problem in perspective and the House of Commons got its back up. Stephen Woodworth blamed abortionism as values collided. The Prime Minister tried to draw a line. Costas Menegakis tried to claim ownership of the things he says. Mr. Warawa’s appeal was denied. Mr. Rathgeber, Nathan Cullen, Kyle Seeback, Mr. Woodworth and John Williamson support Mr. Warawa’s right to speak. We explained how to fix the time reserved for members’ statements and compiled a rough guide to our democratic crisis.
While promising not to raise taxes, Jim Flaherty raised tariffs on more than a thousand products. Some government backbenchers thought it was their job to scrutinize opposition MPs. Keith Ashfield offered an awkward compliment. The NDP asked the RCMP to investigate a budget leak. The Agenda talked to Kevin Page and considered Parliament’s ability to scrutinize government spending. The Harper government withdrew from the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. And the Prime Minister, Thomas Mulcair and Bob Rae mourned Ralph Klein.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 5:38 PM - 0 Comments
After leaks and hints, the budget was tabled and the investigation of its contents began. Stephen Gordon consider tax loopholes, the Canada Job Grant, the Conservative agenda and the deficit. Paul Wells noted the budget’s change in direction. John Geddes looked at the contradictions, considered the impact on the National Capital Commission and listened to the responses of Thomas Mulcair and Justin Trudeau. Nick Taylor-Vaisey listened to the Finance Minister and gathered reaction. Scott Armstrong declared that a vote against the budget was a vote against veterans.
Thomas Mulcair met with Gary Freeman. The Conservatives claimed to be outraged. Government communications came to include reality TV. Cuts caused concern at Environment Canada. The Parliamentary Budget Officer sat for an exit interview as the Kevin Page Era ended. Alison Redford kind of endorsed a carbon tax. Peter Penashue began his re-election campaign early and the Greens stood down. The PBO tallied the cost of crime policy. Peter Van Loan objected to name-calling. Jim Flaherty played mortgage broker. C-279 came to a vote and was passed by the House. Ted Hsu endorsed Joyce Murray. The Harper government briefly renamed the country. Mark Warawa’s motion on sex-selective abortion was ruled out of order.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, March 16, 2013 at 5:15 PM - 0 Comments
Kevin Page talked about the future of the parliamentary budget officer. The Prime Minister’s Office uploaded evidence of the Prime Minister’s support for carbon trading. The Harper government spent another $78 million in advertising. Thomas Mulcair outlined his party’s perspective in Washington, was scorned by Conservatives for not endorsing Keystone (while the Conservatives raised money) and talked taxes. Marc Garneau quit the Liberal leadership race, clearing the way for Justin Trudeau. Bert Brown worried that without the Senate we would become a dictatorship. Jim Flaherty promised a budget. Justin Trudeau made gains in Quebec. And Peter Penashue resigned and the race to replace him began.
Greg Fingas questioned the logic of Joyce Murray’s co-operation plan. Chris Selley considered Preston Manning’s advice. Keith Neuman argued Canadians would support a carbon tax. The Globe dismissed the CBC’s Jack Layton biopic. And Jonathan Kay wondered if we all owed Marc Garneau an apology.
I spent the weekend at the Manning conference listening to Ezra Levant, Ron Paul and Jason Kenney. John Geddes wondered about the proposal for an 1812 monument on Parliament Hill. Nick Taylor-Vaisey looked at Mr. Mulcair’s Washington gambit. And Paul Wells looked ahead to the Justin Trudeau era.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, March 9, 2013 at 8:05 PM - 0 Comments
Scott Clark and Peter DeVries explained how the federal budget process fails and, after being dismissed by the government, explained themselves. Stephen Harper used to lament for the estimates process too. The Library of Parliament sought a new parliamentary budget officer. Amid questions about the hiring process, the government appointed an interim PBO (a month after claiming it wasn’t possible to do so). And Conservatives on the public accounts committee decided they weren’t that interested in fiscal sustainability.
Halifax witnessed the quintessential Justin Trudeau moment. Michael Fortier questioned the usefulness of the Senate and the New Democrats asked the House to consider abolishing the Senate, but both the Senate and the Clarity Act survived for another week. The New Democrats assigned an MP to mind Jonquiere-Alma and called Claude Patry’s constituents. Conservative grammar lessons were questioned. No one wanted to explain the CMHC’s mandate for legislative analysis. Olivia Chow considered a run for mayor. Pat Martin took on the Justice Minister. The NDP paid tribute to Stompin’ Tom. C-279 received its last hour of debate. And Thomas Mulcair planned a trip to Washington.
James Surowiecki argued in favour of legalized sports gambling. Sustainable Prosperity found that energy companies are already assuming a price on carbon. George Stroumboulopoulos talked to Olivia Chow and Sook-Yin Lee. And Preston Manning considered the state of the conservative movement.
I reviewed the new Jack Layton movie and checked the government’s math. Paul Wells considered the government’s concerns about the public service and the Supreme Court reference. John Geddes looked at the Senate. And Nick Taylor-Vaisey considered the NDP’s attitude toward the oil sands.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 6:52 PM - 0 Comments
Thomas Mulcair tabled a private member’s bill to strengthen the PBO and the NDP leader talked to Peter Mansbridge. Marc Garneau challenged Justin Trudeau to a debate. Diane Finley’s quota denial was complicated. The Harper government put a price on carbon, but its spending remained a mystery as more cuts came to light. Scott Clark and Peter DeVries dismissed the estimates. Pamela Wallin paid the Senate back. Dennis Patterson went for a brisk walk. Bob Rae once wanted the Senate abolished. The Conservatives declined to move forward with their own Senate reform legislation. The Prime Minister suddenly decided he needed the opposition’s permission to do so. And the constitutional requirement of residency apparently amounted to a pinky swear.
The House agreed to create a committee to study violence against aboriginal women, amendments to the transgendered rights bills were tabled and the Clarity Act was debated. Tony Clement tried to explain the government’s advertising spending. The Conservatives used the policy analysis of the CMHC to criticize the NDP. NDP MP Claude Patry defected to the Bloc Quebecois. Kevin Page quibbled with the government’s shipbuilding estimates. Bruce Hyer endorsed Joyce Murray. Justin Trudeau opposed the inauthentic. Brad Trost proposed committee reform. And the new 338-seat reality continued to take shape.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 11:50 PM - 0 Comments
Martha Hall Findlay swung hard and missed, but remained critical of Justin Trudeau and worried that too much attention was being paid to the middle class. Alice Funke wondered why some people were still running to be Liberal leader. David Suzuki endorsed Joyce Murray. Marc Garneau continued to disagree with Mr. Trudeau. And Mr. Trudeau considered Ottawa’s relevance.
Political science professors in Saskatchewan defended the province’s proposed new ridings. Glen McGregor looked at MP attendance. Stephen Gordon considered the minimum wage. Pierre Poilievre showcased his thoughtful side. Thomas Mulcair spoke to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce and remained critical of the Northern Gateway pipeline. The Prime Minister introduced the new ambassador for religious freedom. Fifteen Conservatives were targeted in the fight against C-279. The mystery of the Navigable Waters Protection Act took another twist. The New Democrats sent their demands to Jim Flaherty. Pat Martin saluted Kevin Page. Bernard Valcourt became the new aboriginal affairs minister. Andrew Cash’s interest in the CBC was questioned. China proposed a carbon tax. And Mike Duffy decided he didn’t want to be a distraction.
By Aaron Wherry - Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 12:03 AM - 0 Comments
The last seven days reviewed
John Duncan resigned and the New Democrats applauded his willingness to do so. President Obama called on Congress to pursue cap-and-trade. Joe Oliver didn’t definitively rule out doing likewise. Greg Rickford misremembered the 2008 election. Pat Martin worried about zombies. At the behest of a Liberal motion, the House seemed ready to launch committee hearings into violence against Aboriginal women. The Conservatives held their lead for another month. Rodger Cuzner was unimpressed with Tony Clement. Brian Toderian proposed a minister of cities. Hugh Segal proposed a referendum on the Senate. Brent Rathgeber considered his role as an MP. Kennedy Stewart proposed new ways to petition Parliament.
John Geddes looked at Marc Garneau’s turn for the feisty and considered the demise of John Duncan’s ministerial career. Paul Wells reviewed the State of the Union and considered the Prime Minister’s approach to the Senate. Jesse Brown considered the demise of C-30. And this week had two sketches.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, February 9, 2013 at 4:00 PM - 0 Comments
Justin Trudeau proposed democratic reform. Tom Clark, Alison Loat and I talked about the state of Parliament. Brent Rathgeber considered how to improve the House. Independent thinking in the House was hard to find. Party discipline ruled. Erin O’Toole asked a generous question and explained his thinking. And the At Issue panel surveyed the scene.
The New Democrats asked the finance committee to call for Kevin Page’s term to be extended and compelled the House to consider the future of the Parliamentary Budget Officer. The selection process for a new PBO made some progress. Brent Rathgeber offered his thoughts and made some suggestions. Scott Clark and Peter DeVries praised Mr. Page, but worried about the future of the PBO. And Don Drummond was concerned about finding someone to take the job.
The royal succession bill was flawed. Mathieu Ravignat asked the Harper government to explain how much it spent on the Super Bowl. Stephane Dion criticized the NDP’s Unity Bill, Craig Scott defended it and Charles Taylor endorsed it. Diane Finley made creative use of statistics. The Conservatives admitted responsibility for robocalls in Saskatchewan (and we remembered Mr. Rathgeber’s worries about gerrymandering). The backlash against the new ridings seemed overstated. Alice Funke explained the situation. Mike Duffy’s primary place of residence was a mystery. The Senate sought an audit and legal advice. The Prime Minister was said to be considering a constitutional amendment to keep the Senate secondary. Patrick Brazeau was ejected from the Conservative caucus and charged. Bob Rae spoke about the situation in Mali. And we marked a few carbon-pricing anniversaries.
John Geddes considered Senate reform and child care. Stephen Gordon previewed the budget and predicted a smaller deficit. Nick Taylor-Vaisey looked at Stephen Harper’s brand of patriotism. And Dale Smith checked on the Senate’s willingness to debate the royal succession bill.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 4:49 PM - 0 Comments
The House of Commons returned. Thomas Mulcair rejected the Bloc’s attempt to repeal the Clarity Act and the NDP tabled its own bill to replace the Clarity Act. Nathan Cullen tabled a plan for civility. Romeo Saganash tabled a bill to reconcile Canadian law with the UN declaration on the rights of indigenous people. The Conservatives moved again to limit debate, tabled legislation to amend royal succession (after getting the Governor General’s consent) and asked the Supreme Court to consider Senate reform. And Harold Albrecht personified the real problem with the House.
Jim Flaherty sought a sounding board. Joyce Murray continued to champion electoral cooperation. Rona Ambrose commented on the abortion debate. Elizabeth May wondered if Environment Canada was about to be eliminated. Three Conservative MPs expressed their concerns about the Nexen deal. David McGuinty got a critic portfolio. Joan Crockatt was satirical. Patrick Brazeau and Royal Galipeau imparted their opinions on Theresa Spence and Idle No More. Three Conservative MPs wanted some abortions treated as homicides. Peter Van Loan misunderstood the rules. The oil industry supported a carbon tax. And the Liberals didn’t debate each other in Winnipeg.
Andrew Young worried about making electoral reform a partisan issue. Greg Fingas considered the NDP’s Unity Bill. Emmett Macfarlane criticized the Unity Bill. Colby Cosh looked at the riding boundary changes in Saskatchewan. I considered the meaning of Kevin Page and looked at the release of the Afghanistan audit. Stephen Gordon looked at the PBO’s mandate. Paul Wells considered secession and the Thomas Mulcair’s agenda. John Geddes looked at John Duncan’s position on funding for First Nations schools. And this week had three sketches.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, January 26, 2013 at 5:02 PM - 0 Comments
Theresa Spence repeated her demand that the Governor General be involved in a meeting with First Nations leaders. Charles Angus suggested a compromise. After some negotiation, a declaration was signed and Theresa Spence ended her protest and exited the stage. Manitoba elder Raymond Robinson explained himself. Thomas Mulcair and Bob Rae considered the moment. Wab Kinew talked to George Strouboulopoulos. The Agenda considered moving past the Indian Act. Details of the Prime Minister’s meeting with First Nations leaders were leaked. And Brent Rathgeber and Blake Richards worried about civil disobedience.
Thomas Mulcair suggested Kevin Page’s term might be extended. The Library of Parliament explained the state of the selection process for a new PBO. Kevin Page framed the decision about his successor and then reviewed the government’s finances.
The candidates for Liberal leader debated in Vancouver. We counted the days of the parliamentary year as the nation’s legislatures sat empty. Diane Finley considered the case of Marlene Giersdof. The Conservatives committed to study the Windsor Hum. Dan Ross blamed the Harper government for the confusion around the F-35, but Gary Goodyear insisted the government was “dead right.” And Peter Kent questioned a journalist’s motivations.
Concerns were raised about food packing deregulation. Julian Fantino responded to concerns about his comments on Haiti. The BC New Democrats proposed new rules for government advertising. The ethics commissioner admonished two parliamentary secretaries and clarified the rules. The Liberals took Question Period to Twitter. The Prime Minister named five new senators. The president of the World Bank endorsed a price on carbon.
We looked at Brad Wall’s views on pricing carbon and questioned the idea of a one-time pact to reform the electoral system. Paul Wells considered the candidates for Liberal leader in Quebec. John Geddes profiled Brian Mulroney, listened to Mark Carney and looked ahead to the return of the House. Rob Silver reviewed the recent history of delegated conventions. And Ivor Tossell considered Rob Ford’s legal victory.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 10:00 AM - 0 Comments
Culled together from a year of blog posts, sketches, features, interviews and links, a rough guide to the last 12 months. For a longer version, see all the weeks that were.
We considered the permanent campaign. Joe Oliver worried about foreign radicals. Lise St. Denis decided to become a Liberal. Stephen Woodworth challenged everyone to a debate. A problem with the same-sex marriage law was discovered. Michael Ignatieff said goodbye. Stephen Harper and Dalton McGuinty flirted with a federalism debate. Keystone XL was rejected to mixed reaction. MP pensions were put up for debate. Newt Gingrich shouted out the Prime Minister. John Baird championed gay rights. And Mr. Harper mused of major transformation, the ramifications of which is unclear.
The House reconvened and Old Age Security became the focus. Diane Finley pleaded her case. Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu suggested convicted murders kill themselves. A citizenship ceremony was staged. A symbol of the government’s economic management went out of business. Vic Toews directed CSIS that it could make use of information obtained via torture, then explained his position using a ticking time bomb scenario. Larry Miller likened the gun registry to Hitler’s Germany, apologized and then reiterated his comparison. Vic Toews attacked. Vic Toews tabled. Vic Toews parsed. Vic Toews denied. Vic Toews retreated. The Internet mocked. The Prime Minister foretold. The government accused. The Internet was unforgiving. And Vic Toews seemed unclear. Justin Trudeau said something silly, but entertainingly refused to apologize. Glenn Thibeault parodied Mr. Trudeau. An Ontario judge refused to follow the Harper government’s advice. Stephen Maher and Glen McGregor broke big news of electoral chicanery. I talked to Brad Trost and considered Vic Toews and our rhetorical standards. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, December 22, 2012 at 6:43 PM - 0 Comments
Mark Carney’s consideration of the Liberal leadership was cause for questions and concerns. The Bank of Canada found no problem with Mr. Carney’s stay at Scott Brison’s house. British MPs reacted and awaited their opportunity to question the governor. John Geddes considered the rules that apply. Jim Flaherty didn’t have much to say publicly, but he was apparently concerned. And Mr. Carney walked into a bar.
Kevin Page considered the F-35 experience. The Prime Minister offered his version of events. Brian Jean worried about the cost of accountability. Brent Rathgeber considered saving the Stanley Cup. Justin Trudeau angered Catholics and God apparently felt it necessary to intervene. The Prime Minister made the end-of-the-year rounds. Marc Garneau considered gun control. Larry Miller invoked a bad precedent. Carolyn Bennett and Thomas Mulcair wrote to the Prime Minister. Pat Martin tweeted a tirade. LaVar Payne was unimpressed. Mr. Martin quit Twitter. Vic Toews scolded. Helene Laverdiere and Julian Fantino debated the mission of CIDA. The New Democrats celebrated their year, while MPs conveyed their holiday greetings and Pierre Dionne Labelle sang.
We talked to Bob Rae and looked closer at Thomas Mulcair’s responses to questions about carbon pricing. Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Manitoba responded to our question about pricing carbon, while Quebec moved forward with its cap-and-trade plans. Wab Kinew explained the Idle No More movement as protests reached the Hill. Kevin Milligan considered the future of pensions. The At Issue panel considered the state of our democracy. Kevin Page considered his purpose. And Stephen Harper tweeted with Homer Simpson.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, December 15, 2012 at 5:24 PM - 0 Comments
The F-35 audit was released and the reset button was pushed. Dean Del Mastro and Bob Zimmer tried to put the new price tag in perspective. Thomas Mulcair explained the NDP’s position. Chris Alexander kept trying to make sense of the government’s handling of the file. The Prime Minister worried about “ripping up” contracts. The new accounting was considered. And myths and facts were clarified.
Brian Jean worried that a carbon tax would critically hurt families and the Prime Minister’s director of communications tried to explain the difference between the Conservative cap-and-trade plan and the NDP cap-and-trade plan. Ralph Goodale worried about Peter Van Loan’s temper. Benjamin Netanyahu didn’t remember talking about settlements with Stephen Harper. Brent Rathgeber considered the rules around foreign investment. Mr. Mulcair had lunch with Ed Broadbent. Jason Kenney angered the basket weavers. Justin Trudeau and Marc Garneau appealed to the market. And Rodger Cuzner read his annual Christmas poem.
Taste in music transpired politics. The Conservatives led the polls for another month. The latest budget bill drew aboriginal protests. Despite objections, C-377 passed the House. The Speaker spoke of decorum and parliamentary democracy. The Conservatives taunted Mr. Mulcair. The issue of civility started an argument. A royal commission on taxation was proposed. An expansion of CPP remained possible. And Mark Carney was courted by the Liberals.
Elsewhere: Paul Wells looked at foreign investment and the F-35. John Geddes looked at the F-35, the black-footed ferret and Roma refugees. And Colby Cosh reviewed the aftermath of the Calgary Centre by-election.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, December 8, 2012 at 5:42 PM - 0 Comments
Rona Ambrose and I exchanged tweets again. Ontario’s environment commissioner argued for a price on carbon. Peter Kent celebrated Canada’s efforts at reducing GHG emissions. Jacques Gourde achieved nirvana. Ryan Leef was ruled out of order. And PJ Partington argued for regulations in tandem with a price on carbon.
After Peter Van Loan proposed limiting an individual MP’s ability to bring amendments to a vote, Bill C-45 was submitted to 47 votes. The next day Mr. Van Loan got upset with the NDP. There were post-fight interviews and points of order and Paul Dewar testified as to what he saw. We recalled previous commotions. And Keith Beardsley considered the whole mess.
With a larger price tag, the F-35 was said to be dead. Rona Ambrose promised a “comprehensive public update.” Other options were reportedly up for consideration and a panel was said to be formed. The opposition mocked and scolded. The Prime Minister’s Office tweeted its confidence in the Defence Minister. Jack Harris said the minister should resign along with the rest of the government.
Justin Trudeau used the word “failure” to describe the long gun registry and ruled out increasing the GST. Then Mr. Trudeau tried to define failure. Thomas Mulcair explained his view on the long gun registry. Marc Garneau explained his view on the gun registry. Bob Rae lamented for the Harper government’s approach to the Middle East. John Baird clarified the Harper government’s position on Israeli settlements. Isabelle Morin took a leave. Brad Butt apologized for his use of a finger gun. Jason Kenney dwelled on adjectives. Elizabeth May made brunch. And Maxime Bernier showed everyone where he hides his car keys.
Mark Warawa asked MPs to support his motion on sex-selective abortion. The Prime Minister’s Office stated its objection. The tale of the Navigable Waters Protection Act briefly took another twist. The CNOOC and Petronas deals were approved and the Prime Minister explained his policy on foreign investment. And Samara issued MPs a report card.
Chris Selley mocked Justin Trudeau. Paul Adams commended Joyce Murray. Paul Wells looked at the views of Philippe Couillard and the retirement of Richard Doyle. John Geddes considered the latest developments on the F-35. And Nick Taylor-Vaisey considered the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, December 1, 2012 at 3:44 PM - 0 Comments
Joe Oliver tried to explain the farce. Preston Manning explained his position on putting a price on carbon. Bob Rae commended the carbon pricing policies of British Columbia and Alberta. While Megan Leslie wondered what the Harper government’s regulatory approach will cost, Peter Kent announced regulations that will raise the price of cars. Christian Paradis warned that a carbon tax would destroy everything you love. Kevin Sorenson and Rob Merrifield carried the farce far afield. And Glenn Thibeault mocked the government’s $36-billion car tax.
After Joan Crockatt warned that an opposition MP wouldn’t be able to get you a new passport, she was elected in Calgary Centre. The Greens enjoyed a good night. Alice Funke considered their prospects. Elizabeth May and Chris Turner confronted questions of vote-splitting. Justin Trudeau conceded that he might have hurt the Liberal vote in Calgary. Chris Selley called for a ranked ballot. And Andrew Coyne called for one-time move to unite the left.
Mark Carney planned a trip to England. Joyce Murray and Marc Garneau announced her candidacies for the Liberal leadership. Dean Del Mastro stood with Justin Bieber. Brent Rathgeber considered the relationship between Alberta and Ottawa. Doug Finley reflected on death and politics. Olivia Chow reserved judgment on a mayoral run. Justin Trudeau was invited to testify at the natural resources committee. And Senator Joyce Fairbairn prepared to retire.
Brad Trost and Lawrence Toet publicly expressed their objections to C-290. Senator Bob Runciman championed the bill in the Senate. C-45 was fought on multiple fronts. But despite hundreds of proposed amendments, an all-night vote marathon was avoided. Elizabeth May spoke against the latest omnibus budget bill. Bill C-398 was defeated. Canada was one of nine countries to vote against non-observer member status for Palestine. Irwin Cotler agreed with the Harper government’s vote. More questions were raised about the food inspection system. And more reports of fraudulent phone calls during the last election were tallied.
Elsewhere: Paul Wells considered Mark Carney and trade with Europe and talked to Robert Ghiz. Colby Cosh reviewed the results in Calgary Centre. John Geddes looked closer at Mark Carney and Marc Garneau. And Nick Taylor-Vaisey beheld the Thursday Question.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 5:38 PM - 0 Comments
Blaine Calkins offered a selective reading of Jack Mintz’s views on carbon pricing. Eve Adams mistakenly alleged that Exxon and the NDP were of the same view. Joe Oliver and Peter Kent ruled out a carbon tax, whatever that really means. Mr. Kent took a stand against mischaracterization. And Jim Prentice’s opinion of cap-and-trade was complicated.
David McGuinty criticized Conservative MPs from Alberta, then apologized and resigned as the Liberal party’s natural resources critic. His potential impact on the by-election Calgary Centre was considered. Chris Warkentin was unsatisfied with Mr. McGuinty’s apology. Justin Trudeau was discovered to have made disparaging remarks about Albertans. His campaign said the remarks had been taken out of context. A day later, Trudeau apologized. And then his campaign tried to raise some money.
Joan Crockatt exchanged tweets with Naheed Nenshi. A Forum poll gave the Conservatives a five-point lead in Calgary Centre and a Return on Insight poll found a similar spread. And Dave Climenhaga wondered if the Greens were gaming the polls.
Elizabeth May was named Parliamentarian of the Year at our annual celebration. Joe Comartin explained what it’s like to be the deputy speaker. Peter Goldring suggested the Conservatives were mocking him. Justin Trudeau expressed support for the Nexen takeover (and the Prime Minister took notice). Pierre Poilievre stayed on message. John Baird explained his support for Israel. Joe Fontana was charged. Dan Harris said a Conservative told him to go home. Rodger Cuzner accused the Conservatives of imposing a job-killing hockey tax. And Stephen Harper met Justin Bieber.
Another voting marathon approached as Scott Brison forced the finance committee to deal with 3,000 amendments and lamented for the state of our democracy. The War of 1812 was advertised. Conservatives laughed at the Parliamentary Budget Officer. Brad Wall ripped the Harper government’s changes to refugee health care. Questions were raised about Conservative fundraising in Laurier-Sainte-Marie and some of those questions were answered. The Conservative campaign in Victoria made an interesting pitch. And Seat 309 was a bit of a mystery.
We explained the Conservatives’ story about a penny tax monster under your bed, chatted with Elizabeth May and looked back on a few moments in geographic politics. And John Geddes questioned the Harper government’s approach to prescription drug abuse.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 7:55 PM - 0 Comments
Richard Warnica wondered if the carbon tax farce was a nod to Western alienation. The Washington Post advised American lawmakers to consider a carbon tax as the discussion in the United States continued. California conducted its first auction of carbon credits. Exxon restated its support for a carbon tax. Barack Obama said there was a conversation to be had about climate change, but his press secretary seemed to rule out a carbon tax. We exchanged tweets with Rona Ambrose. And Bob Rae stepped forward to defend carbon pricing.
Justin Trudeau’s campaign looked to Barack Obama and one of his supporters slept over at David Axelrod’s house. Wayne Easter said Justin Trudeau supported supply management, while Mr. Trudeau zinged a high school kid and dissed Sun News.
Stephen Harper and Steven Blaney were questioned about the Last Post Fund. The Prime Minister commended his government’s immigration reforms. After promising he’d have something to say for himself, Peter Penashue claimed surprise. Peter Goldring decried the CBC. Michael Chong explained his opposition to C-290 and his concerns about how the bill passed the House. The Windsor Star called for Senate reform. Jason Kenney’s perception was measured. Brian Masse and Joe Comartin defended Windsor against Stephen Colbert. Stephen Colbert was undaunted. And Thomas Mulcair pitched his approach to resource development.
Calgary Centre seemed like it might be interesting and Naheed Nenshi had his say on the race. The Conservatives pledged support for snow grooming machines. Police chiefs pushed for the return of C-30. The NDP’s attitude toward trade was moderated. In the wake of Stephen Woodworth, attitudes toward abortion seemed to change. And the Harper government tallied 10,980 fewer jobs in the public sector.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 3:04 PM - 0 Comments
The Conservatives took their carbon tax attack to radio, while government backbenchers spread the gospel. John Baird erred in suggesting India didn’t support a carbon tax as the Prime Minister continued his tour of the world’s carbon pricers. Frontline looked at the demise of cap-and-trade in the United States. But a carbon tax discussion picked up momentum in the wake of Barack Obama’s re-election.
Irwin Cotler saw problems beneath Blake Richards’ mask bill. Brent Rathgeber explained his objections to the transgender rights bill. James Bezan’s objections to the Nexen takeover were revealed and acknowledged. John Williamson invoked Guy Fawkes. Peter Penashue promised to explain himself, while his ministerial purpose was questioned. Thomas Mulcair and Stephen Harper congratulated Barack Obama. Sana Hassainia proposed expanding EI for parents of twins and triplets. Mr. Harper addressed the World Economic Forum and considered democracy in the United States and India. Brian Masse questioned pro sports leagues’ objections to the sports betting bill, while the Senate seemed poised to intervene. Diane Finley pitched social finance. Vic Toews wondered why the NDP didn’t support a bill on war memorials. And Russ Hiebert’s bill on union disclosure was subjected to scrutiny.
A fund created to cover the funeral costs of veterans was criticized. One of the Harper government’s favourite rallying cries was undermined. The NDP accused the Conservatives of raising taxes. The Parliamentary Budget Officer tried to explain the government’s budget cuts. The New Democrats objected to how little time was being allowed for study of the latest budget bill. The Harper government committed another $4 million to advertising itself. And Elections Canada considered the fight against election fraud.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 5:52 PM - 0 Comments
Scott Brison challenged the farce. Cheryl Gallant tried to interpret the 2008 election results, while other Conservative MPs tried to explain their government’s position. The farce reached Flin Flon and Leduc. Vic Toews expanded the definition of a tax. Leon Benoit deferred to the expertise of Stephen Gordon. Corneliu Chisu channeled Dracula. We consulted Jack Mintz. And the House considered the nature of truth.
Brent Rathgeber questioned Russ Hiebert’s bill on union disclosure. Pierre Poilievre was named the Minister of Nepean-Carleton. Olivia Chow was projected to win a hypothetical mayoral race in Toronto. Justin Trudeau promised evidence-based policy. The NHL objected to Joe Comartin’s bill on sports betting. For Halloween the NDP told a scary story and Stephen Harper handed out candy. Megan Leslie and Chris Alexander debated the budget bill. More questions were raised about Peter Penashue’s election campaign. Ryan Clear hit a moose. Christian Paradis extended the Nexen deadline. And Tony Clement and Carolyn Bennett tweeted the motto.
This year’s census data arrived with an asterisk. The National Research Council faced cuts. The Saskatchewan Party attacked the province’s NDP candidates by association with Thomas Mulcair. Omnibus legislation was found to be unpopular. C-45 was divvied up, but with little time left for study. Conservatives pondered budget cuts. MP pension reform became official. And the Harper government’s budgetary striptease for the Parliamentary Budget Officer continued.
Stephen Thiele and Gavin Tighe considered the ramifications of Etobicoke Centre. Scott Clark and Peter DeVries questioned Jim Flaherty’s approach to fiscal sustainability. Michael Ignatieff and Glen Pearson worried about partisanship. Keith Beardsley lamented for the spectacle of statements by members. And Alice Funke reviewed the latest fundraising numbers.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, October 27, 2012 at 4:37 PM - 0 Comments
We remembered that John Baird used to tout the price on carbon his government was going to implement and how Stephen Harper once figured a price on carbon would create an incentive for carbon capture and storage. One Conservative backbencher worried about an increase in the cost of automobiles. Other Conservatives were even more farcical in expressing concern.
Jim Flaherty blamed the opposition for omnibus budget bills. Megan Leslie pointed out references to the “environment” on a government website. The government promptly removed most of those references. But links between the environment and the Navigable Waters Protection Act seemed hard to deny. Online and in the House, Ralph Goodale condemned the latest budget bill. Thomas Mulcair questioned the Harper government’s credibility. The Harper government decided to let several committees study the bill. Scott Clark and Peter DeVries liked at least one of the changes in C-45.
Stephen Harper called a trio of by-elections. Christian Paradis’ late-night news release was questioned and Mr. Harper promised future clarity on foreign investment. Kelly Block’s flyer on refugee health care drew a protest. Tony Clement agreed with some reforms while disagreeing with others. Thomas Mulcair stated his case against Stephen Harper. Bob Rae stated his case against the Indian Act. After an incident aboard an Air Canada plane, Romeo Saganash sought help for an alcohol problem. Maurice Vellacott awarded Diamond Jubilee medals to two anti-abortion activists. Paul Calandra went looking for Liberal sympathizers. Joe Comartin faced a fight with Major League Baseball. And Dean Del Mastro challenged the Internet.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer prepared to take the Harper government to court. The Harper government promised to consider its options for new jet fighters. The auditor general looked into cyber security, the treatment of veterans and long-term fiscal sustainability. The Conservatives successfully courted the ethnic vote. The Supreme Court ruled against holding a by-election in Etobicoke Centre. And Emmett Macfarlane and Adam Goldenberg considered the ramifications.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, October 20, 2012 at 4:24 PM - 0 Comments
Recalling what Stephen Harper wanted to do in 2008, Megan Leslie made the Prime Minister face the farce. Afterwards, Ms. Leslie figured Mr. Harper was confused. Royal Galipeau hoped you weren’t paying attention. The New Democrats continued to publicly shame Conservative backbenchers. We counted down the greatest moments in farce and delved further into the question of revenue.
After the House debated Stephen Harper’s previous position on omnibus legislation, the Harper government tabled another omnibus budget bill. This one impacted numerous pieces of existing legislation. Jim Flaherty challenged everyone to a reading contest, but he was mistaken about the length of his bill. Understanding the spring budget apparently required a decoder ring. And the Conservatives agreed to make at least one change to the bill.
Bob Rae and Stephen Harper bid Dalton McGuinty adieu and Liberals got another possible leader to speculate about. Peter Loewen and Mark Jarvis panned Mr. McGuinty’s prorogation. Mr. Rae opted not to comment and Liberals danced around the question. And Peter Russell accused Mr. McGuinty of contempt.
Alice Wong enjoyed a bowl of shark fin soup. Kelly Block was forced to defend a flyer. Peter Penashue’s election campaign raised more questions. Mr. Penashue pleaded inexperience. Keith Ashfield suffered a heart attack. Gerry Ritz was asked again to resign. Lincoln Alexander passed away. Peter Goldring quibbled with changes to MP pensions. Christian Paradis made a late night announcement. And Tony Clement rejected reform.
The saga of XL Foods continued. The CFIA defended itself. An audit cast doubt on Canada’s efforts in Afghanistan. The Museum of Civilization was renamed. The PBO released a progress report. At least four different weeks were celebrated in one. And the Supreme Court scheduled a ruling on Etobicoke Centre.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, October 13, 2012 at 9:42 PM - 0 Comments
Conservative MP Ryan Leef styled himself a character in a carbon tax comic book and Mark Warawa gave thanks for talking points. The New Democrats responded via YouTube. Greg Fingas and Chris Selley considered the NDP’s effort. We wondered by how much Stephen Harper would raise the price of Thanksgiving turkey. And Cathy McLeod thought she saw a duck, so we explained all the quacking her government had to account for.
Tony Clement insisted the Parliamentary Budget Officer was out of line in demanding information about the government’s budget cuts, but a few days later federal departments started to come forward and suddenly the tide seemed to have turned in favour of the PBO. Kathryn May wondered what had happened.
Megan Leslie had a bad dream. Stephen Harper’s attempt to blame someone else was questioned. Irwin Cotler criticized the Harper government’s cuts to prison chaplains. Dean Del Mastro dismissed the Broadbent Institute’s concerns about income inequality. Jason Kenney was a TV star in Ireland. Justin Trudeau explained why he’s running for the Liberal leadership and dismissed a merger with the NDP. And John McKay lamented the demise of Motion 312.
The Conservatives held their lead in September. Huawei became a new test of Canada’s relationship with China. More concerns were raised about XL Foods. While cutting billions elsewhere, the Harper government spent millions to promote itself. Indeed, the Conservatives seemed unable to keep to their advertising budget. And the Liberals hinted they might ask Stephen Harper whether he agrees with himself.
Andre Picard blamed a lack of leadership for the latest food safety crisis. Allan Gregg reflected on his call for reason. Stephen Gordon noted the finance department’s admission of a structural deficit. Alex Himelfarb considered citizenship. We explained how to fix members’ statements and Question Period. And the Agenda looked at the redrawing of the federal map.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, October 6, 2012 at 2:27 PM - 0 Comments
Confusion reigned around the country’s food safety system as XL Foods was the source of the largest beef recall in Canadian history. Gerry Ritz declared his confidence in beef. Relevant budget cuts were tallied. The House considered. Kellie Leitch and Hedy Fry debated hygiene. Workers acknowledged concerns at XL Foods. Amanda Shendruk put the recall in perspective. And while the problems were enumerated, Ruth Ellen Brosseau petitioned for Gerry Ritz’s resignation.
Nathan Cullen struggled with the existential crisis of members’ statements and then the NDP tried to use that time to publicly shame Conservative backbenchers. Anonymous Conservatives were said to be restless. We deemed Jacques Gourde the Conservative Backbencher of the Year as Team Farce continued to add MPs to its roster. And Speaker Scheer struggled to enforce the rules.
James Moore put his foot in his mouth, but still tried to heckle. John Baird lectured the world (and Paul Knox was unimpressed). Bob Rae suggested the press gallery was missing a big story. Mark Warawa championed his motion on sex-selective abortion. Tony Clement took on the scourge of free parking. Justin Trudeau declared his candidacy (and Bruce Anderson was unimpressed). Mr. Trudeau tried to quote Goethe, but might’ve been mistaken. Thomas Mulcair ziplined with Rick Mercer. The NDP declared its opposition to the Nexen takeover. Rob Anders worried about bathroom access. Vic Toews cut prison chaplains. The House Affairs committee didn’t want to think about omnibus legislation. And Diane Finley tried to quietly fix a problem with the Harper government’s EI reforms.
Sheema Khan saw Omar Khadr as a test. Scott Clark and Peter DeVries considered the parliamentary budget officer. Stephen Gordon skewered a talking point. Susan Delacourt saw popular interest in Justin Trudeau.
And this week had four sketches.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, September 29, 2012 at 6:28 PM - 0 Comments
Peter Kent tried to explain the farce. We looked back on some great moments in farce—see here, here, here and here—and clarified the Prime Minister’s reporting. Greg Fingas questioned Mr. Kent’s math. And Michelle Rempel, Megan Leslie and Elizabeth May debated.
After MPs chose sides—see here, here, here, here and here—Motion 312 was defeated. Stephen Woodworth vowed to fight on. The NDP claimed a victory. The Campaign Life Coalition deemed it a sad day for Canada. Opposition MPs questioned Rona Ambrose’s vote. Mark Warawa tabled the next fight. MPs on all sides explained their votes, but Ms. Ambrose didn’t talk about hers. Her parliament secretary said it was time to move on. Tim Powers suggested Ms. Ambrose had erred in not explaining herself.
Conservative MPs in British Columbia didn’t want to talk about coast guard cuts. Tony Clement needed help interacting with Twitter. John Baird signed a memorandum of understanding for enhancing mutual support at missions abroad. Brad Trost thought about empowering backbenchers. Thomas Mulcair condemned the defeat of an NDP motion. Justin Trudeau didn’t have anything to announce, but he might soon. And Jim Flaherty again asked the private sector to spend.
The EI algebra was difficult to explain. Chungsen Leung was outraged by the views of some people he invited to the immigration committee. Jim Prentice encouraged the Harper government to consult on pipelines. The Prime Minister explained his view of the world. The Harper government declined to draw red lines around Iran. Eric Grenier reviewed the partisanship of members’ statements. Keith Beardsley explained how members’ statements got that way. W5 investigated the F-35. And Scott Clark and Peter DeVries considered omnibus budget bills.
Previous weeks that were here.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, September 22, 2012 at 3:18 PM - 0 Comments
We explained everything you needed to know about the Conservatives’ carbon tax farce. Thomas Mulcair accused Conservative MPs of lying. Greg Fingas considered how the NDP should respond. The Ottawa Citizen wondered how stupid Conservatives thought Canadians to be. Thomas Mulcair hoped the media would report the truth. The Conservatives were outraged. Elizabeth May and Stephane Dion lamented. Dan Gardner invoked Monty Python. Clare Demerse explained the problem with the Harper government’s approach. And the farce was particularly strong in the Conservatives who ran for office in 2008.
The fall sitting began with talk of a new omnibus budget bill. The Harper government referred its Senate reforms to the Supreme Court and Stephane Dion chided the Conservatives. Conservative MPs dealt with budget cuts. China divided the cabinet. Joe Comartin was named deputy speaker and promptly laid the smack down. And the Harper government appealed a Quebec court’s decision on gun registry data, while an Ontario judge struck down another of the Conservatives’ changes to the justice system.
Thomas Mulcair rallied the New Democrats and chastised the Conservatives. Stephen Woodworth had postcards and petitions on his side as Motion 312 received its second hour of debate. The New Democrats called on the Prime Minister to meet with the premiers. The Liberals tried to compare Mr. Harper to Mitt Romney. The NDP’s concern about the trade deficit was actually a concern about the account deficit, which was maybe not worth being concerned about. The Conservatives refused to table a separate bill to change MP pensions. Kevin Page restated his concerns about the government’s budget cuts. And Stephen Harper honoured Peter Lougheed.
And this week had four sketches.
Previous weeks that were here.