Maclean’s is your home for the daily political theatre that is question period. If you’ve never watched, check out our primer. Today, QP runs from 2:15 p.m. until just past 3. We livestream and liveblog all the action.
Where were we?
Hot off the presses: Laureen Harper doesn’t think she’s a secret weapon in her husband’s quest for re-election. Harper simply “has an interest in child protection,” an issue that took her to a roundtable convened by local MP Julian Fantino at a school in Vaughan, Ont. Whatever her importance to the party’s campaign, Harper’s visit to Vaughan was, of course, all about the next election. The Tories want to be seen as having kids’ best interests at heart, and donating some time to a roundtable on child protection only helps the cause. Harper played good cop.
Meanwhile, her husband, the prime minister, has taken up the role of bad cop. Stephen Harper reveres the Universal Child Care Benefit that puts money in parents’ pockets, he’s increased the monthly haul as of July, and he’s denying anyone else the right to steal his policy. Last weekend, he got down to fear-mongering about the scary opposition. “Friends, our opponents have been clear. They would take away the Universal Child Care Benefit. They’ve said so on many occasions,” he told supporters. The Canadian Press was skeptical, and reporter Bruce Cheadle did some fact-checking.
Cheadle asked for evidence that opposition parties would eliminate the UCCB. The PM’s spokesman gave examples of the opposition opposing both the original benefit and the increases to the current benefit, but no evidence that anyone wants to eliminate the program. And NDP Leader Tom Mulcair promised earlier this month to “keep the recent additions” to the UCCB. Cheadle concluded that Harper’s statement was, according to the wire service’s official measurement system, “full of baloney.”
But Harper can play bad cop in front of a friendly audience whenever he wants; whatever riles up his biggest fans. He’s got plenty of good cops criss-crossing the country.