The Commons: Inconvenienced by reality

With Harper away at a power point presentation in Brampton, Flaherty was left to answer the tough questions


The Commons: Inconvenienced by realityThe Scene. First, an existential question.

“Mr. Speaker,” Michael Ignatieff asked, “why is the Prime Minister telling Canadians in Brampton that we will be out of this economic crisis by 2010?”

Before anyone on the government side could respond, Ignatieff ventured an answer.

“It is a nice forecast,” he said. “I hope it is true, but this is the same Prime Minister who said, ‘If we were going to have a recession we would have had it by now.’ That was in September 2008. His reputation for credibility has never recovered.”

Following that flourish, Ignatieff asked: “So why should we believe his forecast now?”

With the Prime Minister not yet returned from his power point presentation in Brampton, Jim Flaherty rose to take this one.

“Mr. Speaker the Prime Minister and his government has an economic plan for Canada, Canada’s economic action plan,” he said, cradling the handsomely bound budget document in his arms. “It is a great read. I know the members opposite want to read it. I know they have only had about five weeks to get through it and it has lots of pages. It is a big read but I encourage the members opposite to take the time on behalf of Canada to read this.”

The Liberal leader appeared unconvinced.

“Mr. Speaker, Brampton, where the Prime Minister gave his speech, happens to be a place where 1,100 Chrysler workers lost their jobs in 2007 and 3,000 more jobs are hanging by a thread in 2009,” he said. “The government is on a far away planet.”

Ignatieff left the identity of said planet unspecified, showing the good judgment to refrain from trying to find a proper Uranus joke for our troubled times. “It said nothing about those workers in his speech,” he said. “When will the government stop spinning the facts about the reality of our economic situation and tell Canadians the truth?”

“Mr. Speaker, in fact the Prime Minister did mention the auto sector in his remarks,” Flaherty responded. “I am sure the leader of the opposition would like to retract saying that he did not.”

Indeed, among the Prime Minister’s 3,300 words this afternoon, three were “automotive.”

Undaunted, the Liberal leader repeated his question in French. Unmoved, the Finance Minister outed the real source of our troubles.

“I agree, Mr. Speaker, that economic times are difficult, that many Canadians are losing their jobs. That is why we have an economic plan for Canada. We have a challenge in the Liberal dominated Senate. This is a question of leadership,” he said, challenging Ignatieff to impose his will on the upper chamber.

Asked next about bank fees, Flaherty upped his demands. “I hope the member opposite will encourage the Liberal senators down the hall who he knows to make sure they act this week and not go off on holidays next week,” he said. “They cannot say they have constituency work because they do not have constituencies.”

And so, apparently, a week’s worth of Senate work is the only thing between recession and economic salvation. (No doubt the unemployed in Brampton will be delighted to learn that at the end of Question Period Mr. Ignatieff emerged to tell reporters that senators on all sides had agreed to expedite the budget without delay.)

A moment later, Jack Layton was up, typically unhappy. “Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives’ reckless fiscal policies have led Canada into the worst recession in a generation, but when it comes to the economy, the best that our missing-in-action peekaboo Prime Minister can do is to hightail it out of town to point fingers of blame at everybody else instead of taking a little responsibility,” he began, succinctly. “Meanwhile he is proceeding with the slow and steady death of the auto sector, forestry, mining, steel, and the list goes on. While he is in Brampton saying, ‘Don’t worry. Be happy,’ the Minister of Finance is telling the Senate that things are going wrong. Who is right? And who is in charge?”

“Mr. Speaker,” Flaherty clarified, “it is pretty clear to everybody in the world, actually, except perhaps the leader of the NDP, that there is a synchronized global recession.”

Layton persisted. “Is the government capable of taking any responsibility for the miserable economic performance of Canada?” he asked. “Yes or no?”

“Mr. Speaker, of course we have taken on the responsibility, unlike the leader of the NDP who did not even bother reading the economic plan for Canada before he decided to vote against it,” Flaherty responded.

With his last opportunity, Layton rose with a question for the IT department. “When these unemployed workers turn to the government’s job bank website to get a bit of help and maybe a bit of hope, what do they get?” he asked. “They log on and they are greeted by a message saying there are technical difficulties. Well, no kidding, Mr. Speaker. How can we have any confidence in a website about the slush fund when the government cannot even get its job bank website working?”

Diane Finley stood then, only to see Flaherty rise too. Finley, seeing Flaherty, sat back down, but Flaherty, seeing Finley stand, did likewise. After an awkward couple of seconds or so, Finley stood unopposed.

She provided then one of the most impressive moments of candour in the history of her government.

“Mr. Speaker, we are doing everything we can to ensure that all Canadians have access to all the labour market information, all the job information they can,” she began. “Unfortunately, we have unprecedented numbers of people looking to the job bank. We are working to update that to ensure it is robust enough to withstand the demands upon it. We are working on that to serve Canadians.”

Indeed. If it weren’t for all these unemployed people, everything would be going wonderfully.

The Stats. The economy, 11 questions. Science and arts funding, five questions. Forestry and immigration, four questions. The auto industry, high-speed rail and the CBC, two questions each. Child care, government contracts, Sri Lanka and fishers, one question each.

Jim Flaherty, nine answers. James Moore, seven answers. Gary Goodyear, five answers. Jason Kenney, four answers. Diane Finley and Stockwell Day, three answers each. Mike Lake and John Baird, two answers each. Denis Lebel, Christian Paradis, Lawrence Cannon and Jean-Pierre Blackburn, one answer each.


The Commons: Inconvenienced by reality

  1. So, how “charming” was Gary Goodyear today with his five answers?

  2. Liberal Senators, MP’s and Professor Puffin are playing a dangerous game that Canadians will not soon forget, first they call for money out the door right away, then they want to slow it down, all the while they claim it’s not their fault. What a bunch of blathering idiots.

    Iggy is worse than Dion, except he can speak English and when he does speak it comes out of both sides of his mouth. He has no control over the Liberal caucus and Buffalo Bob Rae and his gang are already sharpening the knives in preparation to carve up a little industrious bird that hides it’s poop

    • What are you talking about Bruce?

      The Conservative and Liberal senators have agreed on a timing that will ensure proper review of the budget and approval before the end of the month. It has not even come up for a vote yet!

      As for the slush fund, all the Liberals are asking for is a tiny bit of accountability. Baird conceded yesterday that they have a list of projects already so what is the problem? They aren’t even asking for a list, just what departments and programs will be getting how much. So what is the problem? Why are they so afraid of a little accountability? Perhaps they have no idea where they are going to spend it but they want someone to blame?

      Besides, Harper’s own actions tell us he needs the supervision. There is a reason he’s been put on probation.
      – the Information Commissioner tells us his record of transparency and accountability has been appalling with very little information flowing out as required by law.
      – they promise billions and billions of spending but have only spent about 4% of infrastructure money promised. Harper has $3 billion that is committed to spending and ready to go but he won’t spend even though there are tons of “shovel ready” projects.
      – of the infrastructure money they have spent, 80% of the money has gone to Conservative ridings, maybe about 90% has gone to Conservative or close swing ridings.
      – Flaherty himself has said there will be lots of screw ups by the Conservatives

      So yeah, since we are dealing with the Harper Conservatives, you betcha I want some little bit of accountability. This money is not going to go out the door tomorrow and the small accountability that the Liberals want is not going to delay the money. Unless it means the motion is forcing the Conservatives to actually come up with a spending plan that doesn’t exist.

      • Time will tell if the Liberal Senators stick to their word, which isn’t worth very much at all.

        • You tell ’em, Bruce!

        • Time has told us how much our Pm likes to tell little white fibs and the sad part about this all, he doesn’t even realize how many times he does. His biggest problem and the lot of the likes of you, actually believe them. Bruce, Lies have left a huge footprint to follow up so give it up already.I think your drinking to much of that blue cool-aid. Smarthen up and look at the plain facts instead of making up your own stories. That is what one would call spininig your self right out of orbit.

        • Its still worth a whole lot more than the government or Harper’s these days.

      • Thank G-d for the Senate.

        i hope the Senate separates the fig-leaf Stimulus bill from the rest of the “pork”/crap crammed in. i assume there would be no hold-up for the Stimulus since the opposition has already approved.

        the conservs protest too much now for speed since they were happy to delay and let Canadian lose jobs and let us down when they went Pro-Rogue in Dec08.

    • Has anyone ever seen Bruce and Kody together in the same room at the same time?

    • first they call for money out the door right away, then they want to slow it down, all the while they claim it’s not their fault

      Well, any party can play that game.

      First the Prime Minister said if we were going to have a recession we’d have had it by now, now he says if we don’t spend $3 billion yesterday, the recession we’re now in will get worse, all the while blaming it all on the Liberals.

      First, the Prime Minister said we’d never go back into deficit. $34 billion later…

      First, Flaherty heard, first hand, that the Liberals and the Tories in the Senate were going to work on the budget next week. Then, he went into the House of Commons and said that the damned (Liberal!) Senate was not going to sit next week.

      One could go on all day…

      • Keep drinking that leftist Kool-Aid.

        • LKO isn’t a leftist, and his comments were very apropos. Both the Conservatives and the Liberals have made inconsistent, misleading, and nakedly partisan statements about the budget and its timing.

          • Sure froggy.

          • Boo yah!

          • what are you? the loser cheerleader?

          • You would be surprised how much scorn and abuse has been hurled at my cheerful little avatar. It seems like every second day, some masterful orator will attempt to disparage poor Kermie with a delightfully clever use of the word “frog”.

          • You would be surprised how much scorn and abuse has been hurled at my cheerful little avatar. It seems like every second day, some masterful orator will attempt to disparage poor Kermie with a delightfully clever use of the word “frog”.

            Oh, the whining of the liberal…

          • Biff, is your name yug-it, spelled backward?

          • You GO Bruce!

            I mean you are doing great on this commenting thing so far. Now run back to the blogging tories and tell then what a big man you are!

          • Hear that, CR! You’re a liberal! And tomorrow you’ll be a Marxist!

            “Biff,” eh? Hmm, his style is quite different form kody’s, but I believe scholars have tried to equate the two . . .

          • I actually thought that Biff was a sock puppet of a sock puppet, but who knows… maybe he’s just some unlettered lout who thinks I’m a lefty because I use words that have more than three syllables.

          • A critically reasoning frog is like a red flag to a bull to those guys. Ya gotta speak slower or somfing!

          • Now run back to the blogging tories and tell then what a big man you are!

            Typical secular progressive. Do you kiss your mother with that far-left mouth?:

          • Oooh tough words. Typical secular progressive? What are you then? Typical wingnut fascist?

          • Judging by the style shift it seems “yug-iT” has finally dropped the charade. (The filter won’t permit the forward spelling of his name.)

          • Sorry, JM, I misread your comment. By “scholars” you meant Paul Wells. You caught on to “yug-iT” too. :)

          • Hey, where did Bruce go? How come this discursive tangent..er…sidetrack…has ended with some dullard who has no life?

          • I lurve Kermit and especially his Reporter persona. Always with the hard-hitting questions, and his angling and aim was exceptional. Kermit it ageless.
            And true.

          • Ah, CR, interesting theory. No, I was alluding to an accusation of yug-iT’s that “kody” and “biff” (small b) were two sides of the same coin. This Biff lacks kody’s plaintive tone, though, and yug-iT never has much to say pro-Harper, so I wonder if big-B Biff is not a wholly novel force of nature. Oh, I should have been a Kremlinologist. And while I’m here I’m going to try using a [br] tag to try and defeat The System.

            Will this be a new paragraph? I know it will, I know it!

        • Bruce, the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, hadn’t you heard?

    • Geez Bruce – do you not check things out? You have fallen for the Harper Rhetoric Plan – unbelievable and frightening that so many believe the garbage.

      “the greatest threat to democracy is spending five minutes with the average voter”
      – Winston Churchill.

    • My my my… you seem a little agitated.

      Why not separate the fiscal portion from the idealogical portion of the budget as the Senate has requested? This way the infrastructure dollars can flow while the rest gets a good going over? Hmmmmm?

      It would seem to me that Mr Harper ulterior motives.

      Why does any rational person buy into his schtick?

  3. Kind of contadicting yourself aren’t you Ted. First you say Baird has a list, then you say perhaps they don’t know where to spend the money. Which is it?

    That unspent money is earmarked for projects from last years budget, projects which are awaiting things such as proper enviromental assessments.

    Your 80% spent in Conservative ridings? Right. Yyou’ve had that disproved on other blogs in the past Ted, be honest. And hey, more money was spent in Chretien’s riding than the province of Alberta.

    As for Iggy, its wonderful to see he is worried about those Brampton Chrysler workers, but apparently he never got the memo that the plant has been awarded the new 300C, Charger, Challenger, and 200C electric models beginning in 2010.

    • Excellent post, Paulsstuff!

  4. “Action plan”

    You know what that means.

  5. I assume from the lack of attention to Gary Goodyear means he is back on his meds. That’s good, he’s so creepy and short tempered when he skips a day.

    About Flaherty and Power-point Boy. Words escape me. They are like a couple of skipping and jumping monkeys at the carnival. Fun to watch sure, but no talent when it comes right down to it.

    The CONservatives want a blank cheque for $3 billion and blame everyone else when people ask questions about the $3 billion. Haven’t we all seen the movie before?

    • I join with my compadre Olaf in issuing a *boo* to this comment.

      • Can you imagine if it turned out that half the wingnuts on these blogs were all sock puppets created by the one guy who most aggressively clashed with them? That we are all just pawns in some colossal mindf**k created by “yug-iT”?

    • Dion’s debt gets paid off by the LPoC to be rid of him, Professor Puffin will be stabbed in the back before years end, next up Boob Rae. Go Liberals!

      How’s that fund raising thing going?

      Ready for an election in by 2013? Probably not.

      What a joke.

      • Heh. “Boob Rae.

        It’s gold!

        • “Boob Rae”.Did you lay awake at night thinking that one up? Or did you google it?

        • Now there’s some brainy responses for you. A little partisan? A little “facts don’t matter”?

      • Actually liberals out fund raised the conservatives in December!

    • a very C movie

  6. One month is not a year kc.

    The Conservatives raised a record $21.2-million in donations in 2008

    The Liberals raised $5.8 million in donations in 2008.

    The New Democrats raised $5.5-million in 2008

    The Bloc Quebecois raised $713,415 for the year.

    • *oomph*

      Take no prisoners, Bruce!

      • Bruce! Eat them alive!!

    • That’s why i said December, immediately after Iggy’s er…coronation. I would imagine things will continue to improve, although as you pt out the hill is steep!

    • ever since schmeergelder toppled Joe Clark something hasn’t been right with the national conserv movement in this country.

    • And the Conservatives blew $19 million on a needless election. Great spending of money there

  7. How many people covering QP in the press gallery today?

  8. Quite the troll trouble on this board eh? Wow. lol

  9. Is cheerleading allowed on here? Because that’s all Biff seems to be doing.

    • Get a clue, Scott. You’ve been had.

      • Yeah. Get a clue, Scott!

        Disclaimer: My mummy told me to write this.

    • Biff Boom Bah! Rah Rah Rah!

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