New Democrats have spent months on the attack, unified as a party and free of scandal. Or so it seemed. The party will have to find another way to pay for outreach offices in Quebec and Saskatchewan that, until now, were propped up by parliamentary resources. The NDP says it did nothing wrong; it broke no rules; the House granted proper approvals; and the other parties on the Board of Internal Economy, the secretive all-party committee that administers House finances, are ganging up on the NDP and changing the rules in the middle of the game. That opinion doesn’t extend past the orange door.
The other parties also think the NDP deserves to be punished for sending flyers into a number of ridings, free of charge, before a series of by-elections last autumn. Liberals and Conservatives say the flyers should have counted as election expenses. Elections Canada’s Marc Mayrand disagreed initially, in a letter, but everyone who’s not a New Democrat hopes Mayrand will take a closer look at the flyers, which they say were too partisan to qualify for your average parliamentary mail-out. Behold, a parliamentary morass.
Today, the NDP hopes to force an emergency debate on the issue of temporary foreign workers. Earlier this week, NDP MP Jinny Sims attacked Employment Minister Jason Kenney’s inability to stop a McDonald’s franchise from hiring temporary foreign workers. Presumably, the official opposition thinks Kenney is responsible for the proliferation of TFWs across the land. For his part, Kenney said he blacklisted the franchise immediately and launched an investigation. And his people are quick to point out that the NDP was silent on foreign workers yesterday.
With that, you have a full day’s worth of inside baseball and Ottawa wearing its partisan best to work. If there’s even one useful exchange during Question Period, that’ll be worth a celebration.
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.