Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Memories of Mulcair

This Canadian Press report from Friday is about the use of the debate time in the House of Commons Friday on the reaction to the budget. The NDP took up all the debate time that day to prevent Liberals from getting any of it. Rae pointed it out as being petulant and perhaps a mark of insecurity. The NDP claimed in response that this was all according to the rules.

The shut out continues on into this week.  Mulcair was quoted yesterday as saying the Harper horrors need to be pointed out, so much so that it requires the NDP to go against tradition and prevent other elected representatives from speaking: “These are things that have to be pointed out,” he added. “Their economic management has been abysmal and we’re going to take all the time that we need and use all of the parliamentary tools at our disposal to make sure that we do our jobs as Canadians have elected us to do.”

Here's Rae's latest reaction:

This new NDP style was foreshadowed way back in 2008. There's something between Tom Mulcair and Bob Rae, a vital rivalry. Check out Mulcair's special and warm welcome for Rae to the Commons after Rae was elected in a March 2008 by-election. Rae responds and it's quite a fun exchange. Fun in hindsight, not so sure how fun it was there in the House of Commons. It may give some present day context to what seems to be a deep well of animus between the two, particularly on Mulcair's part, given the language he chose to use then and the tactics on display today.

While we're looking back at Mulcair in the '08 era, this story from Le Devoir from 2008 is apparently still an undercurrent in the environmental movement there. Mulcair, while he was Environment Minister in Quebec, put the kibosh on a $2 million grant that Hydro Quebec was about to make to a climate change action group, le Centre québécois d'actions sur les changements climatiques. It is speculated that Mulcair thought there were separatist sympathies in the group and this was the reason for his quashing of the funds. But in 2008, when Le Devoir obtained the emails and asked him about it, he denied that explanation and was vague, said he didn't remember why. Always interesting when meticulous and rigorous individuals forget why a $2 million grant was quashed. Apparently it is still a sensitive matter among environmentalists in Quebec (last paragraph here) and this advice may be good for Liberals with respect to Quebec in particular.