The House of Commons is a quiet place when Mr. Harper is away. And he has been away more than he has been present for most of the fall. His Ministers run things as truculent children when the boss is away. Defence Minister Peter McKay is on the defence. Treasury Board President Tony Clement is in the counting house, counting all our money. The NDP is arguing over succession and the Liberal rump is trying to figure out what a rump should do.
Most of the attention of the Ottawa Press Gallery in the past week has been on an Ontario native Canadian settlement on James Bay that nobody in Ottawa could spell or pronounce. Charlie Angus, MP for the area, got the media’s attention for the squalid living conditions there. There is a sustainable fishing industry there in the spring and fall but the natives are a long way from their traditional winter trap lines. The area has been a sinkhole for government funding because of the costs of only being able to bring in building materials on frozen tundra each winter.
While there was some initial excitement over Mr. Harper giving the keys to Canada to Mr. Obama mid week, it was a non-event. It was nothing more than a photo-op in Washington for the two leaders to say they agree on something. What they agreed upon will be worked out later. The friendly border between the two countries has already been wired and barricaded by the Americans.
The New Democrat search for a new leader is starting to warm up. In the first all-candidate debate in Ottawa, those with inadequate French were busy ruling themselves out. The race became more interesting in British Columbia. B.C. has the votes to make itself heard and its reaction to the candidates was interesting. It shows Brian Topp in trouble despite his constant emphasis on his supporters among the top echelon of the party. Peggy Nash seems to be retaining her spot among the top contenders but Thomas Mulcair was on foreign soil in B.C. He did not connect.
B.C. is home turf for Nathan Cullen and he won ground. Cullen seems to be the only leadership contender who is really addressing the concerns of the NDP electorate. He is talking about Social Democratic issues and he welcomes Liberal Party connections at least at the electoral district level. There will be more to come on this race.
Meanwhile the Liberal Party has a crash program underway to get Liberals to remember their political party for Christmas. They are turning out everyone possible to send us e-mails asking for funds. The two most interesting lately were from Arlene Perly Rae and Hon. John Turner. Arlene might be interested because of her husband’s future but who knows what the Liberal Party has done for former Prime Minister John Turner lately?
Copyright 2011 © Peter Lowry
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