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
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 Canadians...like 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!