Wednesday, October 07, 2009

As Transparent as a Bloc

Today, Gerard Kennedy introduced two motions at the Transportation and Infrastructure committee.

The first motion was meant to have PBO Page, appear before committee to discuss what he has been able to analyze re' the stimulus spending and presumably, what he hasn't been able to gain access to.

Kennedy made his case and then the committee set about debating the issue. The NDP was on side, but shockingly, the Bloc said they would vote against. MP Laframboise said he didn't want to waste Page's time. I know! Huh? He suggested an amendment or something else all together, and that was to write to Page to give him time to prepare.

All of this seemed odd to me, because Kennedy had indicated that Page had done some work and would be available, however, I've long stopped trying to figure out the Bloc.

The real obstructionists however were of course the Conservatives. Yes I know it seems improbable, because, you know, they keep telling us that they are being completely transparent, have nothing to hide and even put up a useless web-site for heaven's sake, for all Canadians to see!

First up was MP Brian Jean. He's a highly partisan member who never misses an opportunity to punch below the belt, demean and generally behave like a boar. He accused Kennedy's office of making 1000 phone calls to determine what money had been spent and where. He thought that was profound. Wow, imagine accusing a critic of doing his job!

Furthermore, if everything is so open and transparent, why on earth would there be a problem? He went on to demean Kennedy, who I must say handled it all as a gentleman.

Jean dismissed the motion, but really wasn't able to put up any sort of real argument. MP Hoepner also spoke and for a rookie MP, she certainly has learned the Conservative babble quickly. She too went after Kennedy and said that there were far more important things to discuss...things that are on the minds of all high speed rail.

Um isn't this spending, this Action Plan the jewel that they keep crowing about? Isn't it the one thing that the government says Canadians need more information on and that is why they are spending millions in advertising....oh wait, that isn't really the point of the ads is it.

Then we come to MP Jeff Watson. Oh, he is yet another hyper partisan who really has no problem going after the opposition, but generally he does it in a passive aggressive manner. He left the passive at home today. The aggression was out in full force though. He berated Kennedy, brought up that he'd been absent for some meetings and suggested that the normal work of the committee isn't usually politically 'sexy'. (I guess he didn't get the memo post the Raitt affair.)

He went on to berate the media, who he says never show up at these meetings, unless Kennedy appears and brings them in tow. He closed with the profound, 'if it was up to me, Mr. Kennedy wouldn't be on this committee at all'. (Maybe he's jealous?)

So, in the end, what we have is a government and it's members on the Infrastructure Committee, refusing to have their infrastructure program receive any scrutiny. I mean seriously. If the government truly had nothing to hide, wouldn't they welcome such a review? In fact, as Kennedy said, isn't it the job of the committee to act as the oversight body to this legislation?

While I was disappointed that the motion didn't pass, it says much more that the government is blocking it.

Kennedy will bring forward another motion, amended in a way that the Bloc said they could support it. That requires 48 hours notice, which I presume he gave today.

The second motion was to bring the Conservative candidate for Markham, Landon, who, as I'm sure you remember, resigned after saying publicly that money wouldn't come to that riding because it was held by John McCallum, a Liberal.

That was defeated too, but that one didn't surprise me.

Fun fact of the day. MP Jean, in one of his rants, (inadvertantly I think) said he thought it was remarkable, fantastic even, that the government had actually managed to spend 12% of the funds!



Lizt. said...

I like Kennedy, and they can be cruel to him. There are some good people in the Liberal party... Well, as far as the Cons go, they have but one motto ...."If a lie is told often enough, it becomes truth."

KNB said...

Indeed that is their credo Lizt.

This one is dumb though and it's going to bite them I think.

Almost all of what they come up with is not credible, but this one is black and white. Period. They usually reduce things to grey and tried today, but even their spin cycle wasn't powerful enough to see those two colours run together to produce the desired result.

Steph C said...

Officers of Parliament are accountable to parliamentarians. I can't remember if anyone rose in the House on a question of privilege.

KNB said...

You are right of course...on which side do you meant though?

Not sure if Kennedy has.

To be frank, I'm not sure I'd look to Milliken for a ruling on that.

Tomm said...

The committee work is sometimes pretty interesting to watch. I didn't see the Kennedy stuff but from what I saw last year with the Ethics Committee and their interviews with Schreiber and Mulroney, I'll certainly give in to your views of the partisan sniping.

I watched 3 committee hearings lately. The first was a Senate committee looking into EI. One of the Liberal Senators (a woman from New Brunswick I think) inserted some snide partisan comment into every comment she made.

The second was Steyn and Levant talking about the CHRC's. The two Bloc MPs and Ujjal Dosanj were pretty ugly. The Bloc MPs looked to be enjoying acting as stupid as they could.

The third was Jason Kenney in front of a commons committee talking about Immigration and Citizenship. Everybody seemed to be on their best behavior except the Bloc MPs (once again). But instead of being thick and acting stupid they were actively trying to cause Canada immigration pain by making it seem every refugee and immigration claim must be correct and we should bend ourselves into pretzels to be fairer than fair. Of course the hypocrisy of a sovereign Quebec flipping these same refugees the bird without any fairness was as transparent as their allegiance.

Very interesting and illuminating. If more Canadian's saw this stuff, even through media reporting, we would probably see a lot less ridiculous behavior.

FredfromBC said...

This one is dumb though and it's going to bite them I think.


In your dreams, maybe. The media is just having too much fun watching Michael Ignatieff self-destruct. As if the Quebec thing wasn't bad enough, then comes a new poll showing the Conservatives at 41% and the Liberals at 27 or 28%, followed by Bob Rae (and supporters) sniping at him...and now, the Liberal Senators turn on him too?

I almost feel sorry for the guy.

You can deny this all you want, but Ignatieff is finished as leader (oh, wait...*interim* leader) of the Liberals. And if you guys are dumb enough to pick Bob Rae to succeed him you're going to be in opposition for a long, long time...

RuralSandi said...

Nothing dumber (FredofBC) than a con troll using his instructed PM approved talking points.

People can go back and forth on this - the real question is - why is Harper afraid of the truth and why is he hiding so much?

Keep it simple, stupid - nothing to hide - open the books.

Steve V said...

"I almost feel sorry for the guy."

I thought the same thing about you, but then I realized without ignorant people in the world, enlightenment couldn't exist.

FredfromBC said...

Blogger RuralSandi said...

Nothing dumber (FredofBC) than a con troll using his instructed PM approved talking points.



If there were indeed any Conservative 'talking points' dealing with Ignatieff's leadership of the Liberal party (which was the subject of my post, in case your mind wandered a bit), they would be to *encourage* Liberals in their support for Iggy. You thought we loved Stephane Dion as your leader? Ignatieff is even more popular in Conservative ranks. :)

FredfromBC said...

Steve V said...

"I almost feel sorry for the guy."

I thought the same thing about you, but then I realized without ignorant people in the world, enlightenment couldn't exist.


Sure. Just remember that I was here two years ago saying exactly the same things about Stephane Dion, and for exactly the same reasons. I'll be happy to remind you of this fact immediately after the next election (Steve V, is it? I'll write that down...) in case you should happen to forget.