By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, September 15, 2012 - 0 Comments
Justin Trudeau punched a guy in the face. Vic Toews lamented a Quebec judge’s decision on gun registry data. The Prime Minister marked the anniversary of 9/11 and the death of Peter Lougheed. Pat Martin got a legal defence fund in his name. Stephen Harper won an award. Julian Fantino tried to parse budget cuts at CIDA. The Prime Minister’s Office denied a report of Omar Khadr’s return, the Harper government explained its delay and Vic Toews seemed willing to take his time. Thomas Mulcair toured Southwestern Ontario and wanted the economy rebalanced. Joan Crockatt auditioned to be a backbencher. Peter MacKay made another odd claim. Vladimir Putin warned Stephen Harper. Stephen Harper talked to a certain news channel. Brent Rathgeber considered supply management. John Baird championed women’s rights and gay rights. And the Harper government abandoned the asbestos industry (and was cheered for doing so).
Canada’s diplomatic war with Iran was debated. Jason Kenney tried to explain. Brian Stewart wondered about a sleeper cell. Campbell Clark listed other reasons. The Avro Arrow was touted as a solution and Lewis MacKenzie appealed to gynaecology. The permanent campaign continued to take shape. The nation’s infrastructure was found in need of repair. The House of Commons got in an odd fight with the auditor general. The ethics commissioner launched an investigation of the Prime Minister’s chief of staff. Prison guards protested. The president of Royal Dutch Shell called for a price on carbon. The Conservatives took a small leader in the polls. Coast guard cuts were questioned. Another omnibus budget bill fight seemed likely. And we mourned the loss of Howdtheyvote.ca.
Alice Funke talked to Allan Gregg about the state of our politics. Don Lenihan quibbled. Bruce Anderson looked to Bill Clinton. Frances Woolley tried to rebrand the carbon tax. Michael Den Tandt tried to save the Liberal party. William Watson mocked the “wisdom of voters.” And we previewed the fall sitting.
Previous weeks that were here.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, September 8, 2012 at 3:46 PM - 0 Comments
Before and after the Quebec election, Thomas Mulcair explained his party’s position. Bruce Hyer lamented for the anomalies of first past the post. Bob Rae saw the separatists rejected. Stephen Harper figured Quebecers voted for change, but didn’t want to revisit the constitutional battles of the past. The Prime Minister and the new Premier had a chat and Diane Finley made the first move. Stephane Dion said francophones remained divided. And the Liberals tried to make trouble for the NDP with the Clarity Act. And a shooting in Montreal brought the political world together and started a debate about politics and violence.
Larry Miller defended the Lord’s Prayer. Pierre Poilievre challenged organized labour. Peter Kent announced weaker coal regulations. Rob Nicholson stayed out of the spanking debate. Thomas Mulcair rallied New Democrats in St. John’s. Vic Toews received the tapes and transcripts he wanted in order to make a decision on Omar Khadr. Stephen Harper appointed five more senators. Mark Carney took on Dutch Disease. And Michael Ignatieff found work.
The American election inspired existential crises in the people covering it. A former oil executive called for a price on carbon. Mitch Wexler did the math on the new electoral map. Peter Loewen considered the problems with polling. Allan Gregg invoked Orwell to lament for the Harper government. And Winslow Wheeler praised this parliament’s oversight.
Previous weeks that were here.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, September 1, 2012 at 6:27 PM - 0 Comments
Senator Joyce Fairbairn’s dementia disclosure was revealed. Liberal senate leader James Cowan asked for privacy. Jonathan Kay wondered what Senator Fairbairn was still doing in the Senate. The senator’s situation was questioned and considered. An anonymous Conservative senator blamed the Liberals, but the matter also seemed to present a constitutional conundrum.
Joan Crockatt won the Conservative nomination in Calgary Centre. The Prime Minister’s Office insisted Stephen Harper’s fishing trip with Rob Ford was private, but the mayor of Toronto was not so discreet. Jim Flaherty asked the private sector to spend more. Scott Niedermayer spoke out against Northern Gateway. The justice department tried to prevent Nathan Cullen from interjecting. And Elizabeth May officially registered her objections. Stephen Woodworth maintained hope. Brent Rathgeber considered his own maverickness. Thomas Mulcair promised proposition. Joe Oliver defended cuts to environmental assessments. Tony Clement mocked Clint Eastwood. The wait for Justin Trudeau continued.
The NDP returned union sponsorships. The Conservatives were accused of being confusing and we found another F-35 contradiction. Scientists were concerned about oil. A new electoral map for Ontario was proposed, with one new riding looking Conservative and one old riding looking like it might change hands. A record number of inmates were imprisoned. The Conservative party seemed to suggest a conspiracy. The new chief of defence staff was a fan of the F-35. The Canadian Shooting Sports Association called for a gun swap. Maher Arar’s lawyer lamented the government’s approach to information that might have been obtained through torture.
Previous weeks that were here.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, August 25, 2012 at 3:35 PM - 0 Comments
Chris Alexander blamed the opposition for a “misunderstanding” among that public that a decision had been made to purchase the F-35. And he didn’t appreciate my pointing to a bunch of public comments from the Prime Minister, Defence Minister and Associate Minister of Defence suggesting such a decision had been made. And he asked me to agree with him that, whatever the Prime Minister and Defence Minister once said, no contract had been signed. The final word went to one of Mr. Alexander’s Facebook friends.
Jack Layton was remembered. I talked to the people who helped him write his last letter. Helen Branswell revisited questions about his health. Brian Topp considered the last year for the NDP and what the party needs to do in the next three. I sketched the scene on Parliament Hill. Chris Selley quibbled. The late NDP leader’s legacy was considered. And Colin Horgan and I debated the meaning and fate of Mr. Layton’s last words.
Justin Trudeau shook hands. Stephane Dion called for electoral reform. The Prime Minister rode an ATV in an ecologically sensitive area. Mark Warawa endorsed Motion 312. Ryan Leef and Peter Kent introduced the “Prime Minister of cannibal.” Denise Savoie resigned. Marc Garneau contemplated Quebec and the constitution. Frank Valeriote apologized for a robocall. And Helena Guergis’ lawsuit was dismissed.
The Northern Gateway debate continued, while the NDP fought the pipeline via video. The New Democrats led the polls for another month and put the F-35 on trial. The Russian invasion was cancelled. Conservatives picked sides in Calgary Centre. The Harper government cut nearly 3,000 environmental assessments, including 500 in British Columbia. The latest attack ads were studied. And the RCMP was given permission to use information that might have been obtained via torture.
John H. Richardson considered Keystone XL. Stephen Harper’s religion was debated. Mike Moffatt pondered a pop tax. Timothy Stanley, Richard Gwyn and Stephen Azzi debated John A. Macdonald’s feelings about different races. And Edward Greenspan and Anthony Doob challenged the government’s approach to crime policy.
Previous weeks that were here.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, August 4, 2012 at 12:00 PM - 0 Comments
An Enbridge pipeline in Wisconsin sprung a leak. Joe Oliver didn’t want to talk about Christy Clark’s demands, but James Moore had lots to say about Ms. Clark, Northern Gateway and Enbridge. Peter Julian chided. Enbridge defended itself. And the pipeline debate made it into Rolling Stone.
Leona Aglukkaq inspired a British MP. Guy Lauzon worried about crime. Kevin Lamoureux demanded to see what evidence supports the government’s cuts to health care for refugees. Jason Kenney pointed to some big numbers. Brent Rathgeber questioned VIA Rail and supply management. Bev Oda explained the orange juice and reflected on her ministerial career. Stephen Harper pardoned some farmers and turned down the premiers. Stephane Dion challenged Mr. Harper and rebuked Tim Uppal. Jason Kenney fought some lawyers. And Hedy Fry and Carolyn Bennett challenged Kellie Leitch.
The Harper government decided to privatize the Fire Protection Program. The Senate was questioned and defended itself. The penny received a stay of execution. The Canadian Wheat Board’s monopoly ended. The president of the Canadian Medical Association questioned the federal government. The Conservative race in Calgary Centre got contentious. And Adam Carroll found work.
We looked back on the quotable Bev Oda, considered the role of religion in politics and proposed debate reform. Jonathan Haidt considered partisanship. Alice Funke reviewed the latest fundraising figures. Emmett Macfarlane considered the Supreme Court’s role in Omar Khadr’s present situation. The Canadian Tax Journal reviewed tax-free savings accounts. And Mitchell Anderson looked into Norwegian oil policy.
Previous weeks that were here.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 8:22 PM - 0 Comments
A shooting in Scarborough was cause for reflection and reaction. Rob Ford wanted to talk to Prime Minister and suggested a solution had something to do with immigration law. Jason Kenney agreed. But Mr. Ford didn’t mean what Mr. Kenney thought he meant. But Mr. Kenney was compelled to explain that what Mr. Ford actually meant wasn’t actually possible. But opposition MPs were unimpressed with Mr. Kenney’s original agreement anyway.
We talked to one of the doctors behind the protests over cuts to refugee health care. Mr. Kenney’s office responded. A student interrupted the Immigration Minister. Mr. Kenney stated his case to the Edmonton Journal. And doctors confronted Leona Aglukkaq.
Christian Paradis helped his constituents. Ralph Goodale wondered why there was money for the Norman Bethune memorial, but not the Motherwell Homestead. Conservative MPs Bev Shipley, Larry Miller, Gary Schellenberger and Patricia Davidson supported a moratorium on wind turbines. Jason Kenney tweeted help wanted ads. Peter MacKay struggled with history. Elizabeth May proposed that the NDP and Green party stand down in Etobicoke Centre. Julian Fantino objected to questions about this country’s accomplishments in Afghanistan. Omar Khadr was kept waiting and Vic Toews found another reason to wait. And in response to a suggestion that Mr. Khadr might wait another seven years, Kyle Seeback was thankful. Tony Clement was cleared to continue appearing in commercials. Helena Guergis took the Prime Minister to court. Bob Rae’s popularity rose in the wake of his promise to step back. Olivia Chow ruled out a run for mayor. Peter Penashue questioned the use of a search-and-rescue helicopter for a fishing trip. And Thomas Mulcair spoke in Victoria.
Parliament’s ability to fulfill its primary duty was questioned. The future of Senate was projected. The race for Calgary Centre took shape. The Conservatives once again shamed the opposition for proposing to do what the Conservatives once promised to do. Another defence procurement went awry. The Northern Gateway divided even Conservatives. No Labels proposed a QP for the President. James Sheptycki wondered if we really understood why crime happens. And Adam Goldenberg dismissed Ms. May’s idea.
Previous weeks that were here.
By Aaron Wherry - Sunday, July 15, 2012 at 12:37 AM - 0 Comments
Stephen Harper rallied Conservatives in Calgary. Justin Trudeau kept thinking. Vic Toews was said to be in line for a judgeship. Jason Kenney invited your thanks. Wayne Easter offered a plea for supply management (but Mike Moffatt quibbled). Bal Gosal was interrupted. Bev Oda bought an air purifier. Leona Aglukkaq requested a study of wind turbines. Megan Leslie chided. Thomas Mulcair said plans for the Northern Gateway pipeline should be scrapped, wagered it would never come to be and then put on his cowboy hat and visited the Stampede. Jeff Watson called for diplomatic decorum in search of the Windsor Hum. Rob Anders objected to the honouring of Norman Bethune. Bal Gosal was interrupted again. Rob Nicholson appealed a BC court’s ruling on assisted suicide. Bal Gosal was interrupted for a third time. And Elizabeth May questioned our ties to China.
Etobicoke Centre went to the Supreme Court for a debate about democracy. Our politicians remained unpopular. Scientists mourned the demise of evidence. Our prisons were increasingly crowded and violent. Britain was Bizarro Canada. And we tallied cuts to parks and research.
We wondered if someone other than a Conservative might win Calgary Centre and, with the NDP leading in the polls, whether the 2011 election was a real thing.Alice Funke charted the money and the votes of the 2011 election. Alex Himelfarb considered the politics of the next generation. The Washington Post travelled the route of Keystone XL. Adam Goldenberg, among others, considered the meaning of Etobicoke Centre. Vass Bednar and Mark Stabile suggest a fiscal conservative case for statistics.
Previous weeks that were here.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, July 7, 2012 at 8:40 PM - 0 Comments
We dug through the Canadian Election Study’s 2011 surveys to consider the party leaders, the NDP, our feelings about our democracy, the Conservatives’ fight with Parliament, Jim Flaherty’s relative anonymity, our relationship with politics and our political engagement (while Britain’s democracy was found to be in crisis).
Jason Kenney maybe changed his mind. Or maybe he just clarified himself. Either way, he was opposed by doctors, nurses, rabbis and a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Dean Del Mastro pleaded innocence, was sought after by the opposition and decided to talk to Elections Canada. In a chat with Calgary talk radio, the Prime Minister predicted that he would not prorogue. Brent Rathgeber lamented for his lack of a limo and opposed the death penalty. Peter MacKay was declared resilient. Foreign strippers were banned. And Stephen Harper, Thomas Mulcair, Bob Rae and a few dozen other MPs wished you a happy Canada Day.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, June 30, 2012 at 1:42 PM - 0 Comments
The Conservatives launched their first attack ad against Thomas Mulcair. We tried to put those attacks in context. The NDP raised funds to fight back. And we wondered what the Harper government would do if the United States decides to pursue cap-and-trade.
Christian Paradis considered the possibility of a Parti Quebecois government. Mr. Mulcair rallied in Saskatchewan and talked to Michael Enright. Joe Oliver and Leona Aglukkaq were confronted by doctors protesting the government’s cuts to refugee health care and Jason Kenney was challenged by Ontario’s health minister. Brent Rathegeber questioned the use of ministerial limos and didn’t think doing so was a big deal. Patrick Brazeau attacked a reporter and subsequently quit Twitter. Rick Dykstra reported hearing about C-38 at the front door. New evidence emerged in the case of Dean Del Mastro and the cheques. Mike Sullivan proposed a stolen cellphone registry. Justin Trudeau promised an answer in the fall. And New Democrats toured British Columbia.
The Military Police Complaints Commission released its final report on Afghan detainees. We tallied budget cuts to emergency preparedness, VIA Rail and Statistics Canada. The NDP confronted the Senate, rallied radicals andwas thought to be sensitive. Samara scrutinized the press gallery. Nutrition North was declared a failure. The Conservative party penned its own history. And the Harper government deferred to crime statistics.
Christopher Moore considered parliamentary leadership. Peter Russell revisited the coalition debate. We looked at Mr. Mulcair’s historical challenge. The Agenda checked in with its MPs. Speaker Bercow reported on the Mother Parliament. And Susan Delacourt reviewed the latest in political marketing.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, June 23, 2012 at 6:42 PM - 0 Comments
After one last procedural protest and a final day of debate, the House passed C-38. When all of last week’s votes were tallied, four New Democrats had the best attendance. Wayne Easter said there was no Nazi salute, but Joe Oliver repeated his complaint. Elizabeth May talked about inevitability and challenged Conservative MPs to a quiz. David Wilks explained himself. Irwin Cotler tallied 19 complaints with the budget bill. Marc Garneau sought new rules for omnibus legislation. John Weston saw a failure to communicate. And the Muskoka Watershed Council registered its complaint.
Kevin Page presented the Harper government with a legal opinion, dismissed John Baird’s rebuke and defended his office, while the PBO’s future hung in the balance. Peter Kent turned the government inside out on carbon pricing. Jason Kenney called Alberta’s deputy premier an asshole. Kevin Lamoureux put the bad word on the record. James Lunney quibbled with his government’s cuts to the coast guard. After dismissing opposition complaints, Vic Toews stepped back again. Anonymous oppositions MPs questioned the Speaker and the Speaker reprimanded a Conservative backbencher.
Rona Ambrose promised to check DND’s math. Stephen Harper suggested a new date for the next election. Jim Flaherty fiddled with mortgage again. Martha Hall Findlay challenged supply management and was thus chastised. Megan Leslie and Michelle Rempel exchanged pleasantries. Cabinet shuffle speculation began. And the House adjourned for the summer.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, June 16, 2012 at 4:24 PM - 0 Comments
The House voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and voted and C-38 was passed at report stage. As the week began, Peter Van Loan lamented. The Liberals wondered if the government might be ready to split the bill. The Speaker ruled, but found he could not agree with Elizabeth May. Ms. May was disappointed, but glad. Nathan Cullen saw a breach of privilege, but the Speaker didn’t see enough. C-38 was studied. The NDP questioned David Tilson. The IMF stood to gain. And the Conservatives were left uneasy.
Peter MacKay deferred to the experts. Bob Rae deferred entirely. Justin Trudeau was speculative. We considered the Speaker’s first year and kept waiting for the Defence Department to explain itself. Scott Clark dissected the Harper government’s rhetoric on Europe. Roland Paris bet on John Baird. The National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy issued a final warning. The OECD saw signs of Dutch Disease. The government missed its own time limit. And Parks Canada employees were advised of what they could say.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, June 9, 2012 at 11:45 PM - 0 Comments
Elizabeth May took a stand against the budget implementation act. The Conservatives, Liberals and New Democrats responded. We explained the budget bill, recalled the Reform party’s fight against the Nisa’ga Treaty and talked to Ms. May. C-38 was subject to protest. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities called for the bill to split. Ms. May promised amendments. The Liberals and New Democrats proposed deletions. The government worried about possible doom. The NDP conveyed what it heard. And now we wait for what’s next.
Pat Martin called for Canada to cut its ties to monarchy. Julian Fantino invoked mandatory minimums to explain the Eaton Centre shooting. Matthew Kellway displayed some dry wit. Peter MacKay’s office wanted a stronger defence. Stephen Harper worried about Europe and promised to eliminate funding for anything contrary to government policy. The Prime Minister’s Office targeted Stephen Woodworth’s motion. John Baird fought an fight against the United Nations. Dominic LeBlanc heckled and inspired Bob Rae. Bob Mills challenged the Prime Minister. And Olivia Chow said thanks.
This happened. The Dutch Disease debate continued. A new debate about Europe emerged. Conservative justice policy was questioned. The House voted on science, human rights, wine, cyberbulling and taxing the governor general. The Liberal party stayed true to its traditions. We wondered what happened to QP reform and talked about the Liberal leadership.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 5:48 PM - 0 Comments
Two former Progressive Conservative ministers condemned the budget bill’s changes to the Fisheries Act, but Peter Kent was unimpressed. The opposition prepared to make passing that bill as difficult as possible. The finance committee studied C-38′s many changes. The rationale for changing environmental assessments was questioned. And Shelly Glover didn’t want the government’s bigger budget bills to go unrecognized.
We wondered what happened to the bitumen export ban, tallied the latest cuts and noted that Megan Leslie and Michelle Rempel don’t hate each other. Bruce Hyer celebrated independence. Ted Opitz appealed. Ted Menzies segued. Lee Richardson resigned. Joe Oliver promised drinkable water where now there are tailing ponds. Stephen Harper toasted the pronghorn antelope. David Christopherson called Gerry Byrne a “dishonourable crybaby.” Randy Hoback went looking for New Democrats. James Moore looked to the heavens. Thomas Mulcair took a trip to Fort McMurray and came back awed. Lisa Raitt introduced back-to-work legislation and complained about what happened in 1995. And despite dissension in the Conservative ranks and Thomas Mulcair’s complaints, the House ordered the trains to run.
Defeated Conservatives found work. The public was slow to take note of the resource development debate. The Conservatives knew how much changes Old Age Security were going to save and decided to stop studying the F-35. The Harper government limited debate in the House for the 23rd time. A foot was delivered to the Conservative party and a hand was nearly delivered to the Liberal party and the search for a suspect began.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 6:05 PM - 0 Comments
David Wilks was sort of maybe willing to vote against the budget bill. But he told his constituents that one MP wasn’t going to make a difference. So he pledged to support the budget. Even if he still had complaints. Dan Arnold considered Mr. Wilks’ options. Sonya Bell reviewed the lessons and we pondered the meaning of it all. The Young Stephen Harper called for more free votes.
Stephen Harper promised another end to the mission in Afghanistan. Thomas Mulcair dug in for a resource debate. Vic Toews quoted an imaginary New Democrat. Keith Ashfield, Bernard Valcourt and Jason Kenney tried to explain the government’s EI reforms before Diane Finley finally smiled her way through the details. Rona Ambrose likened the new EI to an online dating service. Elizabeth May recalled her own experience. Lisa Raitt threatened back-to-work legislation for CP Rail. Tony Clement proved to be a trendsetter. John Baird spoke of religious freedom. And Thomas Mulcair made plans to visit Fort McMurray.
There was unanimous agreement that polluters should pay. The Harper government spent $12 million on frozen pizza. The Council of Canadians figured the Conservatives were going easy on them. And another part of the budget bill was contested.
We waited for the Defence Department to answer our questions, compiled Mr. Mulcair’s reading list and tallied the quiet cuts. Alice Funke looked at Etobicoke Centre. The Agenda considered austerity. And Michael Ignatieff considered political standing.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, May 19, 2012 at 7:51 PM - 0 Comments
The opposition and the government stated their cases as C-38 passed second reading. The NDP responded. Diane Finley wanted to get the budget bill passed before she explained its EI provisions. The CFIB encouraged the government to be more forthcoming. The president of the Canadian Medical Association expressed concerns. The Parliamentary Budget Officer again reported Old Age Security to be sustainable. We considered the political ramifications of the budget bill. And three weeks after the opposition first demanded an answer, the government finally explained how much will be saved by changing OAS.
Pat Martin conceded Parliament’s weakness. John McCallum and Tony Clement exchanged procedural tweets. Jim Flaherty heard things from the media and philosophized about the nature of employment. John Baird warned that a carbon tax would kill your family. Peter Kent threw Mr. Baird under the bus and doubled down on money laundering. LaVar Payne demonstrated his wit. Keith Ashfield needed to be reminded of what he didn’t know. James Moore and Dean Del Mastro took issue with the birds and the bees. And Speaker Scheer explained the finer points of criticizing another MP.
NATO asked Canada to stay in Afghanistan. The Harper government took its latest position on carbon pricing. The president of the National Roundtable rebutted Mr. Baird’s accusations. The Dutch Disease debate got messy. Last year’s result in Etobicoke Centre was declared null and void. And Ethical Oil went after Thomas Mulcair.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 7:43 PM - 0 Comments
The NDP took on the budget bill and called on the government to split it. I talked to Peter Van Loan and recalled Speaker Lamoureux’s ruling. Elizabeth May and Scott Brison panned the bill. The debate went on. The Conservatives and New Democrats negotiated. Nathan Cullen was hopeful, but a deal was rejected and so the games began. The bill’s environmental ramifications were noted and reviewed. The opposition foreshadowed a long fight. The battle moved to the environment committee. And Ms. May got her turn to speechify.
Thomas Mulcair mused of Dutch Disease and then tried to explain himself. The Speaker dismissed Bob Rae’s complaint. The Conservatives attacked the shadow cabinet. Peter Kent stopped trying to make jokes. Julian Fantino refused to acknowledge reality. Jacques Gourde missed Gilles Duceppe. And Dan Albas fought partisan over-simplification.
The environment commissioner found the government lacking in a plan to fight greenhouse gases. A 36-year lifecycle cost estimate for the F-35 remained elusive. A government source suggested it might never come. The Parliamentary Budget Officer was stymied. The government’s immigration legislation was amended. Opponents of abortion rallied. The Conservatives rallied behind private members’ bills. And the Defence Department’s accounting was questioned anew.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, May 5, 2012 at 8:19 PM - 0 Comments
Kevin Page questioned the government’s F-35 accounting. Peter MacKay conceded that the cabinet knew of the bigger number. National Defence claimed to be working on a 36-year projection, even if the Auditor General said the department already had the numbers. Philippe Lagasse had questions. The PBO called out DND. Interoperability was dismissed.
The budget bill behemoth was explored and debated. Stephen Harper’s previous complaints were recalled. The government tried to invoke the Liberal standard. We tallied the page counts. Marc Garneau taunted the government backbench.
We continued to tally the budget cuts. The NDP called on the Speaker to assert civility and Britain provided an interesting example. The case of Gary Freeman was raised. The first anniversary of the last election was noted. Michael Ignatieff reflected. The Donner Prize was awarded to a friend of the show. The government’s limo tab was tabulated.
Marc Garneau lost his toy shuttles. Jonathan Tremblay offered to make it up to him. Bruce Hyer laid out his demands. Bob Rae demanded the truth. Elizabeth May knew the rules. Jim Flaherty lectured Europe. Michael Ignatieff reflected. Peter Kent tried to make a money laundering joke.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, April 28, 2012 at 11:08 PM - 0 Comments
The budget bill was, once again, a behemoth. It was duly unpacked and lamented. Having changed its mind on Afghanistan before, the Harper government seemed to suggest it might change its mind again. So once again it was time to parse the Prime Minister. In response, Mr. Harper invoked Hitler. Which reminded us of some other history. The F-35 math got even fuzzier, the Parliamentary Budget Officer sought clarity, Bob Rae recalled the “contract,” an air force colonel questioned the purchase and the auditor general explained his concerns.
Thomas Mulcair enjoyed a honeymoon. Bruce Hyer went indie. Denis Coderre and Michael Ignatieff worried about national unity. Ekos studied voter suppression. The Conservatives targeted Nathan Cullen. Pierre-Luc Dusseault was elected chair of the ethics committee. Peggy Nash sought answers on Old Age Security. Kevin Page called on Parliament to do its job. Elizabeth May asked the Prime Minister about communism. The House debated a debate about abortion and Gordon O’Connor took a stand.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, April 21, 2012 at 4:21 PM - 0 Comments
Stephen Harper claimed clarity on the F-35 (an adjective of which he is fond). But the questions remained. Bob Rae compared the government’s accounting to Enron. Stephen Saideman surveyed the situation. The F-35 rocked. The public accounts committee returned and experienced a procedural apocalypse.
Thomas Mulcair hedged on coalition government. Stephen Harper hedged on the war on drugs. Pat Martin apologized. Bob Rae danced. Mr. Mulcair rallied. Mr. Harper quibbled with the Charter and went for a walk on the beach. Mr. Rae celebrated the Charter. James Moore and Rob Nicholson acknowledged its existence. And Mr. Mulcair vowed to do better.
The hunt for Pierre Poutine took another twist. Omar Khadr moved one step closer to coming back. The Harper government gave itself final say on resource projects. Jason Kenney looked to transform immigration. Tony Clement claimed a need to keep budget cuts secret. Cuts to Environment Canada were tallied all the same. The new shadow cabinet was unveiled (and duly scorned and congratulated). The Conservatives invaded Manitoba. Bob Dechert was dispatched to silence the Windsor hum. Taxing the rich proved popular. Olivia Chow reflected on life and death. And Mike Lake sought awareness of autism.
We looked at ministerial accountability, bringing the commons to the House, the mystery in Thunder Bay and the new shadow cabinet. Alex Himelfarb considered the demise of civil society. Tom Spears explored the government’s approach to transparency. Paper Dynamite reviewed Mr. Mulcair’s views on the Charter. Vicki Huntington considered life as an independent. Sadie Dingfelder reviewed the science of attack ads. Greg Fingas saw hope for the NDP in the west.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, April 14, 2012 at 3:52 PM - 0 Comments
Peter MacKay tried to explain that $25 billion, but the timeline for the F-35 remained a bigger question. The Defence Minister’s explanations were questioned and reviewed and his math was checked. While the Auditor General said the defence department lacked proper documentation, Mr. MacKay assured that supporting documentation existed. Laurie Hawn complained. Gerry Byrne worried. Marc Garneau questioned the government’s wider plans. We recalled the House’s demand for lifecycle costs, how the purchase was defended and how the Liberals proposed a reset. Colin Horgan figures we might end up buying Super Hornets.
A Conservative in Guelph complained of misleading calls. Fidel Castro had something to say about shirts. The NDP introduced Thomas Mulcair. Health care saw cuts. Martin Luther King Jr. was invoked. Canadians considered taxation. James Moore talked to Strombo. Jim Flaherty championed the Westminster system. Bryan Adams had bad memories of 24 Sussex. Tony Clement announced an action plan for open government which was openly questioned. Bob Rae sought clemency for Ronald Allen Smith. And man’s best friend was laid off.
Scott Clark and Peter DeVries challenged Jim Flaherty’s budget. We looked back on the complaints of 1938. Irwin Cotler called for the Charter to receive its due. And John McCallum proposed parliamentary reform.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, March 31, 2012 at 5:06 PM - 0 Comments
After some delay—including a denial of service attack—the NDP chose Thomas Mulcair as its next leader. The Conservatives had their talking points ready. Bob Rae offered his congratulations. Brad Lavigne departed, while Libby Davies remained. The Mulcair Era began. The new leader of the opposition talked to Peter Mansbridge, hedged on responding to Conservative attacks, suggested the party moved past socialism, focused on jobs and rallied his caucus. The Prime Minister offered his congratulations. We explained how Mr. Mulcair won. And how Brian Topp nearly did.
After much spinning and leaking and prognosticating, the budget was tabled. Mike McNair blamed the Harper government’s tax policies for the deficit. The opposition parties lamented. The cuts were broadly outlined. Pat Martin’s dream came true. Charities, foreign aid and environmental regulations were targeted. The Finance Minister scolded Ontario.
The NDP paid tribute to Jack Layton. The tale of Pierre Poutine took another twist. Brian Topp said thanks. The F-35 was questioned anew. The Conservatives apparently once campaigned to implement a carbon tax. Christian Paradis went hunting for moose. Unfortunate lodging used to be grounds for dismissal. The Council of Canadians challenged the election results in seven ridings. Bob Rae questioned the NDP’s questions, but struggled to finish his own. And Joe Preston said a bad word.
Justin Trudeau and Patrick Brazeau sparred. Marc Mayrand testified and put some numbers on the vote suppression scandal. Craig Scott had an instructive first day. Garry Breitkreuz was accused of questionable hypotheticals. And Bev Oda mixed her promises to unfortunate effect.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, March 17, 2012 at 4:21 PM - 0 Comments
The NDP candidates debated in Vancouver. Amid questions about his intentions, Thomas Mulcair ruled out a coalition and promised a “strong opposition.” Gabriela Perdomo talked to Martin Singh, who endorsed Mr. Mulcair as his second choice. The candidates took to YouTube. Paul Dewar wrote to his fellow MPs, who continued to pick sides. And Ed Broadbent spoke out against Mr. Mulcair, who was endorsed by the Star.
It seemed we might learn the identity of Pierre Poutine, but the hunt continued. The innocent robocall needed defending. The House voted unanimously to give the chief electoral officer greater powers. Statistical rigour was applied. The Liberals aimed for full disclosure. The CBC detected a pattern. And suspicious calls went around the province.
Stephane Dion scorned the NDP. Lisa Raitt tabled another back-to-work bill. The parameters of Question Period were questioned. The Harper government was “forthright” about the F-35 and thus contradicted itself. And the Agenda considered the race in Toronto-Danforth.
And this week had one sketch.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, March 10, 2012 at 4:26 PM - 0 Comments
The NDP leadership candidates took their debate to Montreal. The latest fundraising totals put Thomas Mulcair in the lead. MPs continued to pick sides. The most experienced MPs were decidedly split. The Nash campaign signed up young people. Romeo Saganash chose Mr. Mulcair. Five female MPs championed Brian Topp. Nathan Cullen picked up momentum. Jamey Heath argued for his candidate. Gabriela Perdomo talked to Niki Ashton. And a deal between Thomas Mulcair and Martin Singh was speculated.
As to what happened in Guelph, the Conservatives pleaded ignorance. The list of ridings where voters received suspicious calls about their polling stations grew and grew and grew and grew. Bob Rae asked a simple question. Elections Canada investigated the Conservative campaign’s expense reports in Guelph. Maurice Vellacott blamed Elections Canada. Elections Canada invited complaints. The NDP filed new reports. The public looked unkindly on the Conservatives and Liberals. The Conservatives suddenly supported new powers for the chief electoral officer. Question Period was usurped by Twitter. The result in Nipissing-Timiskaming might be challenged. Dean Del Mastro ventured a categorical response. Pierre Poutine became Pierre Jones. The logic of the government’s latest talking point was questionable. And older voters might have been the target.
The Speaker ruled against Anonymous. The NDP moved that Veterans Affairs be exempt from budget cuts. The Harper government voted otherwise. The Conservative party gave up its appeal of in-and-out. Dean Del Mastro sought refuge in an elevator. The CBC discovered strange paperwork in Eglinton-Lawrence. Jack Harris had 21,000 things to say about the government’s omnibus crime bill. And the Prime Minister justified intervening in Air Canada’s labour dispute.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, February 25, 2012 at 6:03 PM - 0 Comments
Stephen Maher and Glen McGregor broke big news of electoral chicanery. Pat Martin quipped and fumed. The Conservative party pleaded innocence. The Prime Minister pleaded ignorance. Matt Meier distanced himself. Bob Rae blamed the Conservative culture. Opposition MPs were suspicious. Michael Sona departed. Mr. Rae sought a parliamentary debate. And Messrs Maher and McGregor tallied even more phoney phone calls.
Nathan Cullen proposed taxing the rich. Leadnow made a case for Mr. Cullen. Hélène Laverdière made a case for Paul Dewar. Todd Wong made a case for Brian Topp. And Riccardo Filippone made a case for Peggy Nash. Bill Tieleman dismissed Mr. Cullen’s big plan. Jamey Heath defended his candidate. Brian Topp defended the NDP’s current course. The labour movement picked sides. Ken Lewenza endorsed Peggy Nash. Ed Broadbent commended Brian Topp. Mr. Topp challenged Thomas Mulcair’s plans for cap-and-trade. And I talked to Ms. Nash. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 5:01 PM - 0 Comments
Thomas Mulcair said the NDP had to renew itself. Jack Layton’s mother endorsed Brian Topp. Jack Layton’s mentor endorsed Mr. Mulcair. Paul Dewar’s campaign said their candidate was well-positioned to win. The Mulcair and Topp campaigns found similarly for their candidates. Greg Fingas called it too close to call. Mr. Topp and Mr. Dewar exchanged pleasantries. Peggy Nash tried to clarify her stance on user fees. Mr. Topp had precedents. Mr. Topp and Ms. Nash promised emissions reductions. And more MPs chose sides.
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. Continue…