Five highlights from this afternoon’s post-Question Period scrums:
1. Minister of Defence Peter MacKay on the Canadian contribution in Mali: I can confirm that we will be extending our support for the Mali mission for an additional 30 days. So what that consists of is the heavy transport, strategic lift C-17 aircraft will be made available to the French for that specific use on an as-needed basis for an additional 30 days. So that will take us out to March 15th.
2. Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver on climate change policy: We all know that climate change is a global issue and, as we’ve said repeatedly, particularly when we said that the Kyoto Accord doesn’t work, it’s because it only related to 30 percent of the emissions globally. We agree that this is a global issue, and of course we are working on it, working on it in conjunction with the U.S. We’ve got the same overarching target—17 percent reduction from 2005 by 2010 on transportation and so on. And we’ve got a lot of other initiatives. So we’re definitely moving in the same direction as the United States.
3. NDP MP Charlie Angus on a lack of transparency in the Senate: I think what’s really clear is that the Senate is making this up as they go along. They’ve been caught out of the spotlight, they’re not used to having one of their own examined, so why were they going to keep this audit secret? How long has this audit been going on? Did it just happen? Has this been an ongoing investigation? Did they think they could get away with it being, with it being secret? And that leads to another question: Have there been other secret audits of Senate expenses that we’re not aware about?
4. NDP MP Olivia chow on cuts at Canada Post: Disabled senior and people who live in isolated areas have very, very little alternatives but to rely on the Post Office. By cutting the Post Office, the Conservatives will be allowing the service, an essential service to be cut and also hurting our economy. And that’s a very, very serious problem.
5. NDP MP Randall Garrison on RCMP complaints: We’ve been calling for action for over a year now on the sexual harassment file, and I think that the report put forward by the RCMP today is a good first step, providing it has some resources. But obviously, both these reports ignore the obvious, that 200 women have brought a class-action lawsuit against the RCMP for sexual harassment, so obviously there’s a systemic problem to deal with.