The Commons: Made for television - Macleans.ca
 

The Commons: Made for television

Finally, somebody makes a Magnum, P.I. joke


 

The Scene. The Prime Minister must surely appreciate Michael Ignatieff’s concern for the good reputation of this government.

“Mr. Speaker,” Mr. Ignatieff lamented this afternoon, “by letting the rumours swirl the cloud over the government continues.”

Indeed. Though it was quite sunny and warm here today, a metaphorical cloud has descended on the capital—a swirling mess that can now be said to include references to a private investigator, blackmail, drugs and compromising photos taken in strip clubs. All or none of which may ultimately be proved to have anything to do with anything.

Mr. Ignatieff attempted to put this in some kind of context.

“There is a pattern here. When Parliament gets in the Prime Minister’s way, he shuts it down. When MPs ask for documents, he blacks them all out. When ordinary citizens ask for access to information, he turns them down. When Parliament asks a simple question, why did he fire a minister, he will not even deign to answer,” he said. “There is a pattern of arrogance here.”

The government side laughed, as, well, an arrogant bunch might be expected to react.

“When will it stop?” the Liberal leader pleaded.

The Prime Minister stood to respond. Or at least to shrug.

“Mr. Speaker, as I have said, we received information which is obviously of serious concern. I have no direct knowledge to add to this information. The appropriate thing to do was turn that over to the authorities,” he explained. “The consistent pattern here is the government is doing the appropriate thing under the circumstances.”

Doing the appropriate thing. Under the circumstances. If that’s not already scheduled to be the government’s next campaign slogan, it probably should be.

The Liberals sicced Mark Holland, their barking bull terrier, on the government side.

“Mr. Speaker, when Rahim Jaffer met with some of his more questionable clients he said ‘I have access to a green fund.’ It was no idle boast,” Mr. Holland said. “The infrastructure minister delegated authority to review projects for the billion dollar green fund to his parliamentary secretary.”

“Ooohhh!” the Conservatives mocked.

“A parliamentary secretary who now confirms he did meet with Mr. Jaffer and his partner last June for government cash for three specific projects,” Mr. Holland continued.

“Ooohhh!” the Conservatives sang.

“What are the details of these projects?” Mr. Holland finally asked. “Which of Mr. Jaffer’s clients were involved? Why were these unregistered lobbyists not reported to the lobbyist commissioner?”

Over then to John Baird to plead the government’s innocence.

“Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary did have meetings with Mr. Jaffer and no funding was recommended to any of the projects that were discussed,” he said.

“Ahhh!” the Liberals mocked.

The Bloc proceeded with their part of the interrogation, Gilles Duceppe trying to deduce the nature of the mysterious allegations and Carole Freeman lamenting that the government’s lack of accounting has forced opposition members to rely on the media for information—a truly sorry statement on the state of affairs.

Finally then to Jack Layton, the NDP leader standing to make a necessary and long overdue reference to Tom Selleck’s television career.

“Mr. Speaker, the culture of secrecy of these Conservatives is reaching new heights. We have the commissioner of rights to information telling us that our system is in tatters. We had the Eyes Wide Shut approach on torture in Afghanistan, and so on. Now we learn that the Prime Minister referred a matter to the RCMP based on a report from Magnum, P.I.,” he charged.

“Why? What is the origin here? What we see today is the chief stonewaller refusing to tell us. Tell us what the private eye told him. At least give us a hint as to why the RCMP is involved.”

Alas, the Prime Minister was unwilling to play along.

The Stats. Helena Guergis, 15 questions. Afghanistan and Rights & Democracy, four questions each. Health care, access to information, Haiti, taxation, foreign ownership and foreign aid, two questions each. Railways, employment, Internet access, auto safety and gas prices, one question each.

Lawrence Cannon, 14 answers. John Baird, 10 answers. Stephen Harper, eight answers. Mike Lake, three answers. Andrew Saxton, James Moore, Denis Lebel and Jim Flaherty, one answer each.


 

The Commons: Made for television

  1. At least give us a hint! Famous last words of the liberal party – talk about moronic. Of course the PM can not give you a hint .. good grief! … were he to give a HINT not only would he be derelict in his duty but irresponsible as well. Give me a hint man .. I love it – is this the calibre of oppostion at present no wonder they can't get above Dions numbers – the liberal party is turning into a charticature of itself .. when in doubt ask for a hint!

  2. oops – it was the NDP – same thing lately hard to get past the cloning of the opposition parties at present.

    • I usually love to watch QP but this is stupid and Igniateff, sounds sillier than usual!

      • You really do enjoy soap operas…..

        • It's more a sign that no one feels like doing anything of any significance.

        • Hahaha, I do (well, not soap operas) but QP since the late 90's, I almost feel like getting the popcorn and a beer and my little flags cheering for…. it depends, but for the most part is Harper, I can't help it, just as much as I liked Chretien.

  3. Eyes Wide Shut and Magnum, PI references? I don't know if that's ironic hipster cred or out-of-touch fogeyism on the part of the OLO writing staff.

    • you mean ndp?

    • It was embarrassing.

  4. Speaking of TV references, I think the Liberals' "Helena Guergis" strategy has jumped the shark.

    • None other than Warren Kinsella agrees with you on this one CR. Great minds think alike.

      • You're really calling Kinsella a "great mind"?

        • And the internet has forever immortalized the moment! Who woulda thunk?

        • Or it could also be that jarrid was attempting to insult CR. ;-)

          • Nah.

          • sourstud placed a question mark at the end of the comment. Diogenes54 dares to suggest it is an insult to be compared to, um, a certain Liberal Party operative who may or may not be both a little touchy-sensitive and litigious like crazy.

            Don't even bother retracting, fellas. The statements of claim are coming out of the laser printer already. Be nice to the process server in the morning — he's just doing his job.

  5. So now we know where Layton stole his 'stache from! -).

    It would help the people who are subjects of the RCMP to know the nature of the investigation. Why do the Liberals and NDP want to help the criminals cover their tracks by providing them with information regarding the nature of the allegations?

    • Why do the Liberals and NDP want to to risk the lives of our brave men and women in Afghanistan, just to prove they can bully the government into releasing secure documents, because in a minority, they out number the government?

      • They do it because YOU hate the troops. Why do you hate the troops Wilson?

  6. Both avr and psiclonce clearly are obsessed with the Liberals so much so that it is clouding their reading comprehension

    • To be fair, the opposition's rhetoric is pretty freely interchangeable nowadays.

      • After Iffy's flip flop on Charest's users today, there is not a hair difference…..
        These coalition negotiations are working out in favour of ALL the Dipper's policies,
        Iffy leads but only if they run on Jack's policies.

      • You plead for fairness? We'll remember this.

    • ConBot programming does have its limitations. They need to expand their prejudice so it envelops more…

  7. Misread, apologies; NDP.

    (So…the latter, then?)

  8. ha! user fees, that is…lol users works too

  9. So let me get this straight. What many of commenters here are suggesting is that the Opposition parties in the House of Commons should ask NO questions about a Minister of the Crown fired and thrown our of the government caucus because of serious – and secret – allegations of criminal misconduct?

    I'm sure if the shoe was on theother foot you would all feel exactly the same way.

    • Haven't you heard? Asking questions makes the troops sad.

    • Ni kidding!

  10. The government representatives keep saying that they have referred the problem to the appropriate authorities. Yet one of those authorities, the Ethics Commissioner, says that she won’t look at it. Without knowing what the accusations are, how do we know that they have been referred to the appropriate authorities? Is this just another delaying tactic by the PMO?

    • Why, THIS government surely would never DREAM of doing such a thing….would they?

      Why do you want to make the troops cry??

    • Bobby – you have no doubt heard by now that the ethics commissioner dropped a bombshell on cbc (The Current) this morning.

      Specifically, that no request to investigate had been received at all, nor any information either.

      So far, the RCMP have not been heard from.

    • Of course it is, that's all this government knows how to do!

  11. Is it just me, or does the Harper party seem rather subdued these days in QP? It seems disturbingly civilized without all the usual arm-waving, finger-pointing, shouting and smirky accusations from the government side responding to questions from across the aisle.

    • The pot calling the kettle black me thinks. Have you not heard that silly woman Marlene Jennings and crazy Raph Goodale chirping. The rest are pikers compared to these two.

      • Can't say that I have, but 'chirping' is barely on the scale of the usual government side hollering etc., but judging by the number of commenters here obsessing about what the parties that are NOT in power are doing I guess it's just me.

  12. Hey Iggy here is a hint. Canadians want you to leave for home (Boston)

    • (2nd grader) Zing!

      • From one Canadian to another SpencBC, you don't speak for all Canadians….that is why we have elections and don't you forget about that mister!

    • NOT!

  13. There must be something in the drinking water on the Hill. I've seen more mature behaviour from 9 year olds in the school playground.

    …and they aren't getting paid a base salary of $157,731 annually.

    http://viableopposition.blogspot.com/

  14. It's hard not to appear arrogant when you have such buffoons on the other side of the house.

  15. The "Eyes Wide Shut approach on torture"? So people were tortured, but it was part of an orgy, so no harm, no foul.

  16. Isn't there far too much appropriate behaviour about?

  17. Oh I see..Jack Layton mentioned "Magnum PI" in question period only to give more staying power to his moustache.

    • Sam Spade had more credibility. He' s jealous of Magnum's 'stache !

  18. Jack Layton…now there is a classic example of politics in neutral. His polling numbers are consistently bad, he huffs and puffs in Question Period and his emissions are such he should issue an environmental impact statement.

  19. Gosh, pit-bull Johnny Bairdie *does* rather seem disturbingly civilized along with the rest of the Taliban-on-the-Hill boys! The boy *does* listen to His Master's Voice it seems….