Parliament Hill is where acrimony goes to play

Tease the day: Who needs substantive policy debate, anyway?


Patrick Doyle/CP

Parliament Hill is acrimony, defined. Debate is poisonous, bereft of any real exchange. Yesterday, in what turned into a big deal, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair temporarily eluded authorities on the Hill as he drove to work—a misunderstanding, he claimed, but fuel for the government side. They made him pay during Question Period, as Aaron Wherry witnessed, probably painfully, and then recounted. Try to find a substantive discussion about policy yesterday, and you’ll find it rather challenging. Ottawa’s not interested in that right now.

Bob Fife, CTV’s bureau chief on the Hill, might be responsible for all of this. After all, one month ago, he reported that Nigel Wright, the former chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, made a secret deal with then-Conservative Senator Mike Duffy to repay the senator’s improperly claimed expenses—all $90,172 owed. Wright was soon out of a job, Duffy was soon out of caucus, and weeks of questions followed. The government thinks it’s answered everything it can with respect to the Senate expenses scandal, and instead launches myriad counterattacks—Mulcair is corrupt! Liberals are corrupt! Street racing!—that attempt to distract. The opposition remains unconvinced.

The only place political parties agree in Ottawa, it seems, is behind closed doors, when they’re talking about earning more money and expanding their own budgets. Truly, this is not a place where national dreams are coming true.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with the RCMP’s announced investigation of the Senate expenses scandal. The National Post fronts the Ontario Securities Commission’s establishment of a serious offences unite to prosecute criminals (not online). The Toronto Star goes above the fold with Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair’s refusal to answer questions about a potential police investigation into the mayor’s office. The Ottawa Citizen leads with the RCMP’s investigation of the Wright-Duffy affair. iPolitics fronts the $1.7-million increase in executive bonuses for senior public servants over last year. CBC.ca leads with Senator Pamela Wallin’s apology for improperly claiming expenses. CTV News leads with activists in Istanbul’s Taksim Square thinking about allowing a referendum to decide the fate of a planned development project they strongly oppose. National Newswatch showcases the CBC‘s coverage of the RCMP investigation of the Wright-Duffy affair.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1.Development. It’s not clear if Canada’s development agency ensured nearly $40 million in funding to international aid organizations met key humanitarian conditions. 2. Agent Orange. Ontario workers were exposed to the dangerous herbicide from 1947-1979, apparently at levels 700 times higher than what’s considered safe, a report says.
3. Pharmacy. An Ontario court upheld a ruling that shut down an online pharmacy that claimed to be based in Canada—but was actually based in Belize, and shipped drugs from India. 4. Charbonneau. A pile of money returned by former political party operative Pierre L. Lambert—amounting to $720,000—was entered into evidence at Quebec’s inquiry into corruption.
5. Zimbabwe. President Robert Mugabe could call a summer election, even though he hasn’t implemented promised reforms. His chief rival might boycott the campaign. 6. Abortion. The Irish Parliament is considering a bill that would allow abortions in exceptional circumstances, when the procedure could save a woman’s life.

Filed under:

Parliament Hill is where acrimony goes to play

  1. “Debate is poisonous, bereft of any real exchange ….. The only place political parties agree in Ottawa, it seems, is behind closed doors …. ”

    Free Dictionary: Kabuki – A type of popular Japanese drama, evolved from the older No theater, in which elaborately costumed performers, nowadays men only, use stylized movements, dances, and songs in order to enact tragedies and comedies.

  2. Whoever was leaking info to Fife was out to get Wright, not Duffy, it seems. Story has mostly died since Wright resigned – the only new info since was last week when we learned Wright also had control of a slush fund the public didn’t know about. It appears Duffy was collateral damage or kill two birds with one stone?

    • There is no evidence that Wright controlled a “slush” fund. All parties have funds available to the leader for partisan purposes but to suggest it is some nefarious thing is not fair. However, fairness is not in the vocabulary of partisanship or media. If in fact Wright used party funds to pay Duffy’s expenses there will be plenty of time for criticism but to make unfounded allegations is disingenuous. I would remind Hester that Chretien controlled a fund that was used for adscam. Now that was proven to be nefarious.

      • Except the large slushfund Chretien used was not coming out of the LPC fund; in fact, Chretien and th LPC used government money to pay Quebec ad agencies for not much work, and those ad agencies then stuffed the LPC coffers with donations!

    • Two fabricated stories:
      1. No one of the CPC has said that there IS a ‘secret fund’; the CBC’s Greg Weston made that story up when the media ran out of ammunition for keeping the story alive.

      2.The so-called fabricated ‘secret fund’ story was then transformed into a ‘no one denied it’ story, which is a complete misinterpretation of what the action of denial was used for. ‘NO one has denied it’ was said in the way one would say: ‘I have not been swimming’ or “I have not been dancing’ as in: the action of denying has NOT been done at all!

      The NDP and LPC also have ONE party fund – just like the CPC does. Are the NDP and LPC denying that they have a fund? And is such fund secret because Greg Weston says it must be so?

      Open your eyes people! Fabricating stories is not the way to go about this, specially not when it is the tax payer who funds the CBC!

    • Except the “slush fund” story turned out to be a complete fabrication.

      • I agree. There is no question that the Liberals stole money from taxpayers.

  3. Re CBC Wallin:
    Mansbridge let Wallin off the hook by not asking about her Toronto home. Obviously her travel problems involve stopping at “home” in Toronto for a while, when taking an Ottawa to Saskatchewan flight “home”. She says residence has nothing to do with her problems, but but I think most people will reserve judgement until a real report comes out.
    But old friend Mansbridge just let her go unchallenged and spin her tale of denial on residence.
    On another issue of who should have paid he flight bills, she obviously means the Corporations on whose boards she served are the so called “others” who should have paid, not her.

    • They are not investigating Wallin over her residency. They are examining her expenses and rightly so. The interview did nothing to tell us why she claimed such large expenses. Who in the world is looking at these expenses before they are paid. Who is verifying what is being claimed and determining whether they qualify as expenses etc. etc. The time has come and Canadians are demanding that MPs/Senators expenses be exposed to the cold harsh light of day.

      • Well, Harper personally looked at her expenses and told us everything was kosher.
        Why don’t you believe him?

    • Yeah, that was priceless, the other party that should have paid, not Wallin herself. Then there was that precious comment about keeping up with all the paperwork. Apart from the fact she has an allowance for staff to do things like that, wouldn’t you expect that someone having trouble keeping on top of her paperwork would forget to submit some receipts? Be way behind on expense claims rather than claiming extra ones?

      • Given that, according to her expenses, she seems to be on a plane somewhere between Toronto and Moose Jaw at any given time, she could do her paperwork while flying. While flying high on the taxpayers’ dime.

        • Maybe we can pay for an efficiency course on how to manage her time better.

  4. And Dean Del Mastro is in tears….aww you guys are so mean.

    Boy, they can dish it out, but………..

    • Guilty or not guilty Del Mastro and the public deserves to have answers. If the case was so open and shut as the media led us to believe why in the world has it taken over a year to even hear from Elections Canada.

      • If you guys would obey the rules, and ditch the conspiracy fantasies you wouldn’t have all these problems.

        • Of course in your eyes Del Mastro is guilty. Never mind due process and fairness in the process. Hang him. He is a Conservative. Disgusting.

          • It’s a bit of Reform play-book philosphy that’s stayed with me over the years. LOL

          • Good thing you never made it far within the Reform party! You would have managed to put all of Canada to shame!

          • There’s no crying in baseball.

  5. Gosh, the case against Mulcair sure is mounting! First he turns down a bribe and now he runs stop signs. Further investigation may reveal that he also tears that label off his mattress and sometimes records the Superbowl.

    • Oh noes…..NOT the mattress label?!

      • AND the pillow cases, oh yeah, he did it.

        • OMG…..!

    • He claims he turned down a bribe. Of course we’ll never know the truth because he lied about it for 15 years.

  6. Unnecessary repetition does wonders,not?

    How many times could the opposition parties ask the same questions over and over and over again, and STILL Justin Trudeau does not understand the meaning of double-dipping!

    Seems to me that some questions have NOT been repeated enough! Keep it up, QP; ask ALL relevant questions. Canadians deserve to know the truth coming from ALL sides?

    And so, Justin Trudeau, are schools and school boards not funded by tax payers dollars?

    • Probably as often as you ask the same question about Justin Trudeau and being paid while a sitting MP AND not understanding he was cleared by the federal ethics commissioner, Mary Dawson.

      • But I think that Justin did not tell Mary Dawson that he was going to SKIP the House when going out to deliver speeches for a fee! If Justin has not been honest with the Ethics Commissioner, how then could Dawson have cleared Justin?


        • What you need to understand, is what you think is not proof, it is conjecture. Show proof and then you can accuse to your heart’s content. Until then you sound like someone who suffers from OCD.

Sign in to comment.