Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Day after budget day notes

And at least one other topic...

1. A picture worth a thousand words...did I get around to saying how much I enjoyed this picture yesterday:

Because I did, very much. First time, I believe, that other ministers in the Harper empire have been given such photoriffic prominence in the inner sanctum. And they all looked like they were having such a good time too. So natural. I wonder who told the men to take off their jackets and such. Who placed Stock's coffee cup there, to make it look like they're hard at work at the bidness of the nation. There is no "i" in team you know...:) (see BCer for video as well)

Other than having fun though, is there anything we can take from the staging of such a series of photos of the shirt-sleeved Conservatives. Or from the leaks about the grown-ups now being in charge. Or from the budget lacking in November-update-style partisan shots. Is there any clue in any of this whatsoever about what the Governor General might possibly have discussed with Mr. Harper in terms of the possibility of a $300 million election call were he to once again face a losing confidence vote and ring her doorbell. Just wondering...

2. Areas of concern in the budget being cited this morning, to name five: the numbers on which it is based are too rosy, undermining its credibility; its lack of vision; and the constraints on infrastructure funding that may prohibit it from flowing, rendering it useless; EI not more accessible, not increased;  skyrocketing deficit numbers.  Clearly the case can be made for improvements.

3.  Bob Rae-Lawrence Cannon exchange in the House of Commons yesterday:   
Rae: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Foreign Affairs. President Obama has closed the prison in Guantanamo and suspended proceedings against Mr. Khadr.
My question for the minister is simple. Mr. Khadr is a child soldier. Why is Canada not shouldering its responsibilities and bringing Mr. Khadr back to Canada?

Cannon:Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. Our position on Mr. Khadr remains unchanged. In fact, two previous Liberal governments took the same position. Mr. Khadr has been charged with serious crimes, including murder, attempted murder, conspiracy, providing material support for terrorism and spying.
We are continuing to monitor the situation and the work of the American committee set up to consider the fate of the detainees in Guantanamo, including Mr. Khadr.

Rae:Mr. Speaker, Mr. Khadr was recruited at the age of 13. He was arrested at the age of 15. He has been incarcerated for nearly seven years. I wonder how the minister can, in all conscience, not recognize that while the position of the Government of Canada may be unchanged, regardless of the circumstances, the fact remains that the President of the United States, who we will be welcoming here shortly, has in fact carried out a whole series of changes.
When will somebody turn the lights on over on that side of Parliament and recognize that the world is changing around them and that Canada needs to take its responsibility for one of our own citizens?

Cannon:Mr. Speaker, our position regarding Mr. Khadr remains unchanged. It is exactly the same position as two previous Liberal governments. The problem here is that no charges have been dropped against this individual, on the one hand.
Where there is inconsistency is in the Liberal Party's position. As a matter of fact, the leader of the Liberal Party would want to have this individual come back to Canada; whereas the hon. colleague who has just asked me the question, the member for Toronto Centre, would want to set up a special committee to look at this problem. So, what is the issue? In--
They're back and their answers are as unhelpful as ever.