By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, February 14, 2013 - 0 Comments
The unofficial public audit of Senator Pamela Wallin’s expense account continues apace.
“Let us put the spending of these tax dollars into perspective,” NDP MP Wayne Marston graciously offered shortly before Question Period, referring to some $300,000 in “other” travel expenses apparently claimed by the Senator over the last few years. “This could have paid for one year of old age security for 57 seniors. It took the combined taxes of 28 hard-working Canadian families to pay for this person’s ‘other’ travel. Think about it. Every single dime in taxes for 28 Canadian families just to cover this senator’s ‘other’ travel.”
There is probably a worthwhile proposal here somewhere to make the Senate entirely dependent on voluntary public pledges.
A minute later, Thomas Mulcair stood and pegged the Senator’s travel expenses at $350,000 over a 27-month period. The NDP leader was displeased, but the Prime Minister was apparently unconcerned.
“Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, the amount spent by the Senator for travel is similar to that of other parliamentarians,” he said.
In fact, Mr. Harper had an example.
“Just to give an example of that, for instance, over the past three years the average amount spent on travel to and from provinces by western members of the New Democratic Party has been $350,000,” the Prime Minister reported, having apparently stayed up late last night to do the math. “These are the costs that parliamentarians incur when they travel back and forth from Ottawa to their provinces. That is what the senator has done. Of course, all senators and members are committed to ensuring these expenses are appropriate.”
Mr. Mulcair was not quite persuaded to drop the subject. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, September 29, 2012 at 2:58 PM - 0 Comments
Omar Khadr’s lawyer talks to the Canadian Press.
Meanwhile, Khadr’s lawyers told the Canadian Press that they are surprised by Toews’ statements regarding continuing concerns over the case. ”We’re at a loss to understand why the government continues to demonize Omar and to stoke public opinion against him,” said lawyer John Norris. “We know him to be a kind, intelligent thoughtful young man who has tremendous potential and we know that he will live up to that.”
Norris said that the 26-year-old is happy to finally be back on Canadian soil. ”He’s finding it hard to believe that this has finally happened,” Norris said after speaking to his client by phone. ”His spirits are good. He is very, very happy to be home.”
Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae has released a statement.
“Omar Khadr’s return to Canada is long overdue. Mr. Khadr, a Canadian citizen, was a child soldier. It is extremely unfortunate that it took the Conservative government this long to fulfil its responsibility to bring him back to Canada.
Now Mr. Khadr will serve the remainder of his sentence under the supervision of the Canadian correctional system, and we can ensure that he receives proper treatment and rehabilitation.”
And a statement from the NDP’s Paul Dewar and Wayne Marston.
Today, the Conservatives ended nearly a decade of unnecessary delays and allowed Omar Khadr to serve out the remainder of his sentence in Canada. Canada is the last Western country to repatriate their citizens from the discredited Guantanamo prison system.
Mr. Khadr’s return to Canada was inevitable, yet the Conservatives chose to drag this process out for years at great cost to taxpayers. Their mishandling has hurt our relationship with the United States, our closest ally, and tarnished Canada’s reputation on the international stage.
Both the Supreme Court of Canada and the U.S. Supreme Court, based on the full facts of this case, have found that the military commission proceedings in Guantanamo violated both U.S. domestic law and Canada’s international human rights obligations.
Conservatives have previously faced court judgments against them for their mishandling of the case and failure to respect human rights.
The government should now allow Mr. Khadr to be handled by Canadian authorities in accordance with Canadian law, free from interference.
By Aaron Wherry - Sunday, July 1, 2012 at 11:26 AM - 0 Comments
Canada Day video greetings from Jason Kenney, Ted Opitz, Cheryl Gallant, Peggy Nash, Jinny Sims, Colin Carrie, Joyce Murray, Wayne Marston, Craig Scott, John Weston, Ralph Goodale, Elizabeth May, Robert Chisholm, Claude Gravelle, Christine Moore, Laurin Liu, Ray Boughen, James Lunney, Russ Hiebert, Jack Harris, Peter Braid, Steven Blaney, Randy Kamp and, expressing their best wishes in rather similar words, Daryl Kramp, James Bezan, Randy Hoback, Diane Finley, Ed Holder, Ryan Leef, Bob Zimmer, Dave MacKenzie,John Carmichael, Bal Gosal, Costas Menegakis and Parm Gill.
After the jump, a video from the Prime Minister and statements from Thomas Mulcair and Bob Rae. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, February 13, 2012 at 5:43 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. Peter Julian, head nodding and bobbing for emphasis, began with a harangue for the government’s F-35 fixation. Heritage Minister James Moore, today’s stand-in for the Prime Minister, enjoyed the opportunity to explain the difference between those who Support The Troops and those who do not.
This though was mere prelude to the matter of Old Age Security. “Everything is about choices and priorities, and the choice of F-35 is a bad choice,” Mr. Julian said by way of segue. “Another bad choice, of course, is the reduction of Old Age Security for Canadians.”
And this was mere prelude to Wayne Marston standing and reviewing, in his quiet, folksy way, the story so far. ”Mr. Speaker, first the Conservatives said that OAS was unsustainable and needed to be cut. On Friday, the Finance Minister said that changes to OAS would be delayed until 2020 or 2025. Then a government spokesperson said the finance minister is wrong,” Mr. Marston recounted.
This was merely the short version—leaving out both the Prime Minister’s triumphant speech in Davos at the start of this three-week saga and the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s rebuke this weekend. But, of course, this was mere prelude to the question that still hangs over all of this. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at 3:34 PM - 1 Comment
On the other hand, I’m told that Libby Davies hasn’t ruled anything out.
A preliminary list of potential candidates is thus as follows: Davies, Megan Leslie, Paul Dewar, Charlie Angus, Peter Julian, Francoise Boivin, Pat Martin, Thomas Mulcair and Brian Topp.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, June 7, 2011 at 6:20 PM - 66 Comments
The Scene. The Prime Minister stood and congratulated the leader of the opposition on his election. The leader of the opposition congratulated the Prime Minister on his election. In his front row seat, Tony Clement wrapped his arms around himself and mimed a hug to celebrate this new spirit of mutual appreciation.
The civility that we were promised—and which everyone is now monitoring with the sort of close attention and nervous anticipation usually reserved for the rescue of Chilean miners or small children from holes in the ground—is now almost entirely insipid. Newly elected members and newly appointed ministers are applauded for simply existing. Everyone claps for everything and everyone. David Anderson was widely saluted today for apologizing after suggesting that a member opposite had made a “fool of himself.” It is like being in a kindergarten classroom where encouragement and self-esteem and positive affirmation are paramount.
This Decorous Era achieved total farce this afternoon when Conservative parliamentary secretary Shelly Glover thanked one of her opposition critics for their re-election. “Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague once again for returning to this House,” Ms. Glover said of New Democrat Irene Mathyssen. Presumably she meant to congratulate. Hopefully we will soon enough be sufficiently reacquainted with each other that even that seems unnecessary.
In the meantime, this place remains mostly concerned with serious matters of public policy. And whatever this may lack in salaciousness, it does at least allow members of different parties to acknowledge their critical views of each other’s intentions. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, November 1, 2010 at 6:21 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. The challenge of the day would be this: could the government be compelled to agree to agree that it had agreed to an agreement to which it had officially signaled its agreeability.
Whatever the futility of the effort, it was first for Gilles Duceppe to attempt to break our impervious Foreign Affairs Minister. How, the Bloc leader wondered, with the public release of diplomatic notes detailing discussions between the Canadian and American administrations, could the Foreign Affairs Minister deny knowledge of negotiations meant to resolve the matter of Omar Khadr?
Lawrence Cannon was, of course, prepared for this and rose to repeat his carefully scripted words into the record. ”The government of Canada,” he said, “did not participate in negotiations regarding the sentence.”
This was a hair finely split. And surely Mr. Cannon should have been allowed a moment to bask in the dexterity of such a display. But before the galleries could shower the Minister with applause and bouquets, Mr. Duceppe was up to have another try. Oui ou non, he demanded: would the Minister authorize the return of Mr. Khadr to Canada after another year has been served stateside?
Over again to Mr. Cannon, this time not so much to pirouette as to pull an extrajudicially detained rabbit from his hat. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Sunday, October 31, 2010 at 5:43 PM - 0 Comments
Our weekly, and wholly arbitrary, ranking of the ten most worthy, or at least entertaining, MPs, excluding the Prime Minister, cabinet members and party leaders. A celebration of all that is great and ridiculous about the House of Commons. Last week’s rankings appear in parentheses. Continue…
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, April 9, 2009 at 2:01 PM - 14 Comments
To mark World Autism Awareness Day, Senator Jim Munson (below, right), and several MPs…
To mark World Autism Awareness Day, Senator Jim Munson (below, right), and several MPs held a reception for the Canadian ASD Alliance, a group representing seven autism organizations.
Alberta Conservative MP Mike Lake with his son Jaden, who has autism.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, March 23, 2009 at 10:44 PM - 15 Comments
David Akin produces an early contender.
In Richmond, B.C., senior citizens are getting $18,500 from the federal government to hold a few “intergenerational” movie nights.
Granted, the most interesting finding may come at paragraph 12.