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Well, we haven’t yet gotten the official word from PMO — hey, what’s up with that, guys? Y’all don’t work on Sunday mornings anymore? — but according to the dependably chatty John Baird, who made an appearance on CTV’s Question Period earlier today, the Stephen Harper Stimulus Reporting Experience will hit Saint John, New Brunswick sometime tomorrow, during which the prime minister will unveil the third — and, as far as ITQ knows, final — report on the Economic Action! Plan.
For those of you wondering why he’s doing so at an out of town venue, rather than, say, in the House of Commons — yeah, ITQ was also under the sadly mistaken impression that the Liberals had been clever enough to stick a provision to that effect in the agreement that averted a June election, but as it turns out, that’s not the case. The only requirement is that it be tabled there, presumably just as the balloons drop and the Tory-blue dyed doves are released at an undisclosed location somewhere in New Brunswick.
What does that mean as far as the fall season of election speculation? Let’s get out the calendar and find out!
Okay, so as per the June agreement, the first Liberal opposition day, on which they have vowed to table a motion of non-confidence, will take place on Thursday, October 1st, with the vote to be scheduled for that night, or the following Tuesday, with subsequent opposition days to be scheduled at least once a week for the rest of the session, any one of which could, in theory, result in the fall of the government, although conventional wisdom would suggest that if it makes it past Hallowe’en, the chance of a fall election will drop from slim to none. Oh, and they won’t all go to the Liberals, of course — supply days are divvied up between all four parties — but in theory, there’s nothing stopping the Bloc Quebecois — or even the New Democrats — from using one of their allotted days to bring forward a non-confidence motion of their own.
Then again, conventional wisdom has gotten it totally wrong before, so govern yourselves — or, more accurately, watch our elected officials attempt to govern — accordingly.
CTV has updated its website with the Saint John announcement, in which the transport minister notes that the PM had a hankering to take his roadshow out of the Ottawa “bubble” in order to “talk to real people right across the country.” If that was the case, wouldn’t it have made more sense to announce his appearance more than 24 hours before it was going to take place — not to mention included the specific location, so those “real people” might be able to show up to see him deliver his speech in person?
Susan Delacourt — who, like ITQ, has apparently had her leisurely Sunday morning preempted by procedural questions — reports via Twitter that the Liberals seem to be unsure whether the agreement requires the update to be tabled the same day that the PM releases it, although honestly, to do otherwise could be seen as the teeny tiniest bit disrespectful of parliament. If that’s the case, it might not hit the House until Friday, which would mean the opposition day would be held the following Wednesday, although at least that scenario would almost certainly result in the vote taking place that same day. In theory.
Card-carrying Liberal and OLO staffer Adam Goldenberg is the first — but almost certainly not the last — to point out that tomorrow is also Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, which is the holiest and most solemn day on the Jewish calendar. The fact that nobody at PMO apparently realized that this could be seen as, well, a little bit disrespectful to the Jewish community, would seem to back up the theory that the PM’s trip was planned on relatively short notice.
WHO-NEEDS-PMO-COMMUNICATIONS-WHEN-YOU’VE-GOT-JOURNALISTS-ON-TWITTER UPDATE: Once again via the wonderful Susan Delacourt, we learn that the report will, indeed, be tabled in the House tomorrow, at roughly 12:15, which is when the prime minister is scheduled to start speaking. Converted to Harper Standard Time, that means we’re probably looking at no later than 1pm, not that will make it any more convenient for those observing Yom Kippur.