Beyond the matter of the toy shuttles and beneath the daily debate over the F-35 procurement, there is an intriguing dispute playing out in the House.
Nearly a month ago now, Bob Rae rose on a point of privilege and attempted to make the case that the House had been misled on the F-35 file. The Speaker could not find a question of privilege in Mr. Rae’s comments, so the interim Liberal leader tried again the next day.
Mr. Rae’s argument was twofold: first, that while ministers were telling the House that the government accepted the conclusions of the auditor general, two departments of government officially disagree with some of the auditor general’s findings; second, that “if in fact it is true that the government accepts the conclusions of the Auditor General’s report, the Government of Canada is admitting that for a period of 21 months it misled the Parliament of Canada.”
After some quibbling with this from the government side, the House went on break for two weeks.
Upon the resumption of business last week, Peter Van Loan offered a full response from the government. The next morning, Nathan Cullen tabled the NDP’s position. That afternoon, Liberal MP John McKay added ten points of his own. He was then followed by Wayne Easter. Last Thursday, Mr. Rae responded to Mr. Van Loan. Yesterday, Mr. Van Loan responded to Mr. Rae. Though the Speaker is now pleading for the House to leave the matter with him, Mr. McKay has suggested he might have more to add.