Cheers and Jeers

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Cheers: to a thin ray of light.

After the byelection loss in Harbour Grace-Carbonear, Premier Kathy Dunderdale did talk about the need for her party to look at its future a little differently. But then, things went sideways, with Dunderdale arguing the defeat actually brought messages of support. “I’ve had tremendous support from the caucus, particularly all through the campaign, again last night and this morning … I’ve had wonderful messages from party members from right across the province — very positive, very supportive.” She also went back to an old chestnut — the idea that elections are bought, not won: “We’ve invested hundreds of millions of dollars in that district, so the demands of the district were met. … This was a district that was largely ignored when it had Liberal representation, so there was a great deficit in infrastructure.” Sad. The party’s been in a slow-rolling mode, complaining that they are doing good things and not getting credit for them. Maybe a little kick in the byelection pants will cause them to take a good look in the mirror instead.

Cheers: to a little spiteyness. Liberal MP Gerry Byrne found himself on the wrong side of the Speaker of the House of Commons when Byrne tried to drag the Speaker into debate about the ongoing rebranding of the Government of Canada as “The Harper Government.” The Speaker’s first volley? “Order. I see the Hon. President of the Treasury Board is rising to answer the question, but I think the Hon. member for Humber-St. Barbe-Baie Verte may find it difficult to get recognized in the House for a little while.” Byrne apologized, saying, “Mr. Speaker, the wisdom of the chair is clearly shining here this afternoon with the time that you offered me to reflect on my words spoken in the House. I will concur with the chair that they were indeed unparliamentary. I apologize unreservedly in an unqualified manner.” The Speaker offered another smack in return: “As difficult as it may seem to the Hon. member for Humber-St. Barbe-Baie Verte, I have great confidence in his intellectual capability.” Testy, testy.

Jeers: to not being able to handle the truth. A Senate committee considering whether or not there was interference in an independent audit of Sen. Mike Duffy’s expenses took another sideways turn, as Conservative Senators blocked having a senior member of auditing firm Deloitte come before the committee. Some senators felt it would be valuable to hear from Deloitte’s Mike Runia, who the RCMP say called the auditors actually doing the work. The police say Runia, who has done work for the Conservative party, called the other auditors at the behest of Conservative Sen. Irving Gerstein, and that Gerstein had been prompted to ask Runia for the favour by officials in the Prime Minister’s Office. No, no, of course we don’t have to have the players speak about their behaviour under oath — that would be so very counter-productive! Makes you wonder sometimes: are there people who will go to their graves happily patting themselves on the back for being the ultimate “party man”? What a fine legacy — “I followed my orders.”

Organizations: House of Commons, Treasury Board, Senate committee RCMP

Geographic location: Canada

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