Message of the day
“Trudeau and McGuinty may have handed the Conservatives a victory in Calgary Centre.”
Questions not answered
- Will the Senate defeat the single-game sports betting bill?
The West Block spoke with interim Liberal leader Bob Rae about the Calgary Centre by-election and how the comments by David McGuinty and Justin Trudeau might affect them. Rae said that there is a good candidate in Harvey Locke, but these things happen in politics, and pointed to some of Stephen Harper’s statements about other regions. Rae didn’t feel that this comments were any kind of “window into the soul” of the party, and that lots of people say things they wish they hadn’t. He said that he won’t ask Trudeau to resign his portfolio, and that because he’s in a leadership race, the people can decide how they want to treat his comments.
Question Period had a strategists panel of Jason Lietar, Gerald Butts, and Robin MacLachlan to look at the three byelections. Lietar said that in byelections it’s an opportunity to express displeasure with the government without defeating it, but in Calgary Centre, Joan Crockatt has a good ground game. Butts said that they haven’t been competitive in Calgary for thirty years, but Trudeau has brought a lot of enthusiasm to that race. Butts also said that it wouldn’t be fair to pin a loss in Calgary Centre on Trudeau because of that history. MacLachlan said that Trudeau may have energised the Conservative base more than the Liberals, but it was a more progressive riding that might see the anti-Conservative vote coalesce around the Liberals as part of a “Nenshi effect.” With regards to Victoria, Lietar said that the “a little bit Conservative” ad is a positive message that does describe the population there.
The West Block’s Baker-Lee debate also touched on the issue of the Calgary Centre byelection, where Professor Ian Lee said that Joan Crockatt will win the riding, thanks in part to Trudeau and McGuinty. Senator George Baker said that the Liberals will win because Trudeau has endorsed the Nexen deal and has been more forceful on it than the government.
CTV QP’s The Scrum weighed in, where Craig Oliver said that Trudeau and McGuinty blunted the Calgary Centre momentum for the Liberals, and that the Conservatives are likely closing ranks around Crockatt. Tonda MacCharles said despite the Red Tory history of the riding, the Conservatives have a ground game in the riding. Gloria Galloway said that the split in the left vote in Calgary Centre will likely mean a Conservative victory, while John Ivison said that Trudeau’s charisma seems to have a real impact, and that if this two-year-old interview is the worst that they can dig up, then the Conservatives have reason to be worried.
Question Period spoke with NDP MP Brian Masse and Conservative Senator Linda Frum, about the possibility that the Senate will defeat the bill on single-game sports betting next week. Masse said that this kind of betting is happening anyway through organised crime, and that it was paternalistic to assume that players will start throwing games when you could do it already through the black market. Senator Frum said that this one type of gambling has a pernicious aspect because of how this will affect the integrity of sports. She said that all major sports leagues were horrified that this was passed without consultation, and that this was the first time in her Senate career that she saw a bill go through the Commons without going through the proper process.
Question Period had an MP panel of James Rajotte, Peggy Nash and John McCallum to talk about the passage of the omnibus budget implementation bill at committee late Friday after a marathon voting session. Rajotte noted that they defeated all of the amendments – 72 from the NDP, and 3000 from the Liberals – but that he expects some more amendments at report stage in the Commons. Nash said that the NDP had put forward substantive amendments, and that this defeat speaks to the notion of accountability because some of the changes in this bill correct mistakes made in the first omnibus budget bill. McCallum said the Liberals would have no further amendments, and noted that because the NDP sided with the Conservatives in overruling the committee chair, they weren’t able to bring those amendments to the House.
- Professor Ian Lee said that we already have a national energy strategy in the form of the marketplace and the laws of supply and demand, and that the Liberals and NDP want carbon pricing as “Viagra” for increasing government revenues.
- Roger Robinson Jr., former director of the National Security Council in the US, said that he was very concerned about the Nexen takeover because it opens the door to other state-owned enterprises, and it gives China the ability to show that they have holdings in Canada as a patina of legitimacy as they look for deals in other countries.
- Tonda MacCharles said that the letter Vic Toews sent to RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson was in part putting the boots to Paulson for talking publicly about the problems in the Force, and that the audit told them a lot of what they already knew about the gender gap.
- Gloria Galloway said that Alison Redford is being smart by reaching out to the opponents of the oil sands – especially Quebec – and doing it in a diplomatic and constructive way.
- Kevin Newman gave a special shoutout to Craig Oliver for being made an Officer in the Order of Canada last week.