The Coderre Affair vs. The Stimulus Update

A frenzy of activity at today's post-QP scrums

2:55:32 PM
Welcome back to the liveblog, where, after a brief QP-induced hiatus, ITQ has left her perch in the Hot Room for the crush of the Foyer, where reaction to the update, she still holds out hope, is about to pour forth. It’s a frenzy of activity here already; reporters circling the waiting mics like so many psychic vultures. There will be blood! We can smell it! Wait, no, that’s just the Coderre contingent.

3:00:54 PM
Hey, here’s Jack Layton!

You snooze, you lose, Liberals; he’s got the main scrum right now. Unfortunately, ITQ was a fraction of a second too late to the cordon, and can’t make out a single word he’s saying, although the occasional syllable that makes it through the maw sounds suspiciously like part of the same talking point from the week before last (and since): they’re here to help those unemployed Canadians, although the number appears to have dropped from 200,000 to — something less, although he won’t say what it is. It’s all about the billion dollars.

People are “literally” telling him that they’re at risk of losing their homes, and have lost hope. But how *many*, a reporter wants to know. Layton doesn’t seem eager to give specifics.

Another reporter brings up the fiscal updates – what does he think about them, now that they seem to involve photo-ops of the prime minister riding a caboose?

He hasn’t yet had the opportunity to read it, as it turns out, so he doesn’t want to comment yet. Although presumably, he’ll still vote for it.

3:05:34 PM
“A billion dollars is a lot of money,” Layton reminds us. When a reporter points out that we’ve already heard that line, he snips that we can always hear it again.

3:08:23 PM
And now, a moment with Gilles Duceppe, who is annoyed that the government is spending more money on the auto sector than forestry. Also, he’s not surprised by Coderre’s complaint that the Liberals are running Quebec out of Toronto; that’s what all parties – other than his, of course – do.

3:10:11 PM
You know, scrums really aren’t designed for those of less than Amazonian proportions. (By which, of course, ITQ means anyone taller than 5’2.

3:11:04 PM
And here he is — Ignatieff, that is — with a “brief statement” on the update. He notes that, when the Liberals came up with this idea of demanding probation reports, they wanted “real action”, but instead, the government has been “playing with words.” As such, it has come down to ‘basic trust’ — they’ve had enough of these games, and that’s why they’re going to bring forward a ‘very simple’ motion on Thursday.

3:14:12 PM
On Denis Coderre — he regrets the decision, and he’s not going to replace him — for now, that is. (That explosion you just heard was the collective heads of all those Liberals who have been questioning the very notion that a Quebec lieutenant is necessary since the Chretien era.)

3:15:34 PM
Amid shrieks of English — bilingualism, scrum-style — Ignatieff switches tongues, says something vaguely positive about Coderre’s contributions, and then goes off on a tangent about how Quebeckers come up to him in restaurants to tell him they want a moderate, centrist Canada, with him as prime minister. Without the approval of the Quebec lieutenant? ITQ thinks not! Who do these Quebeckers think they are?

3:17:37 PM
“This is another great day in the life of the Leader of the Opposition,” he says, taking a pleasing – and uncharacteristic – self-deprecating approach when asked what this means as far as election readiness. He tries to do his My Dinner in Trois Rivieres story again, but is virtually drowned out by the bellow coming from directly behind ITQ: “BUT THAT WAS BEFORE CODERRE SAID WHAT HE SAID, SIR!” See, Colleague Wells? This did too change everything?

3:19:38 PM
Also, does anyone find it odd that after we spent all of last week telling anyone who would listen that Denis Coderre was doing incalculable damage to Liberal fortunes in Quebec, yet now that he’s gone, we’re just as adamant that this is a possibly fatal blow against Ignatieff’s leadership?

Mulcair nailes it in his scrum, which ITQ just joined midway through: When one’s adversaries are self-destructing, don’t intervene. Y’all might want to heed him on that one, Conservatives.

3:22:56 PM
And — hey, there’s John Baird, and he’s talking percentages! September, it seems, will be the ‘biggest month yet’ as far as stimulus spending — why, in the last two weeks, $700 million was announced in BC; if there had been an election, that wouldn’t have happened. Well, the *announcement* might not have happened, but that doesn’t mean money wouldn’t have changed hands, does it? I mean, normal-sized cheques are still legal tender too, and anyway, don’t the bills have to start coming in before the federal government will start paying them?

3:25:21 PM
John Baird hasn’t met anyone in the last few weeks who wants an election. What, skipping cabinet now, are we? (Kidding!)

3:29:17 PM
Alright, that seems to be it for the scrums — when the TV lights go off, it’s time to flee. I’ll meet you back on the other side of the wall o’ spin.

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