Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Parliament in Review - May 4, 2012

Friday, May 4 saw a relatively short day of debate on the omnibus budget bill - but with a few twists on the discussion seen to date.

The Big Issue

Claude Gravelle noted that the range of major changes in C-38 goes far beyond the environment alone.
Ted Hsu wondered why the Cons slashed the home retrofit tax credit, then noted that the budget included the elimination of capital investment in research and development; Costas Menegakis responded to the latter point by cheerleading for general corporate tax slashing. Laurin Liu pointed out a poll in her riding suggesting that the EI system already fails unemployed workers - making it all the more appalling that the Cons are working on making it less accessible. Anne-Marie Day described the Cons' economic philosophy as being "to lower both salaries and purchasing power". Mathieu Ravignat highlighted how the bill serves to make the federal government less accountable. And Romeo Saganash pointed out the appalling efforts of Taseko Mines to cut First Nations out of project assessment processes, while wondering why the Cons would be so eager to facilitate that type of corporate-dictated change.

False Assumptions

In the previous day's question period, the Cons tried to evade accountability for their frivolous use of taxpayer money on limos and unused five-star hotel rooms with a "they do it too!" attack. Just one problem: Paul Dewar and Ravignat came prepared with facts in response, with Dewar noting thatManitoba has a single assistant whose duties include driving while Ravignat pointed out that Darrell Dexter's Nova Scotia government actually did away with the driver service previously enjoyed by Cons and Libs alike.

Needless to say, we shouldn't expect the Cons to apologize anytime soon for their utterly baseless smears. But just in case there was any doubt that reality is not a friend to the Cons...

In Brief

Rosane Dore Lefebvre slammed the Cons' laxity on crime committed for their own purposes or by their media friends. David Christopherson noted in the wake of the news that the Cons' F-35 cost projections had been exposed as lies that their benefit estimates now looked to be similarly dubious. Romeo Saganash wondered why on earth the Cons would be cutting funding to fight tuberculosis. In a sure sign of the NDP's lack of interest in Alberta, Nathan Cullen questioned whether the federal government would put some resources into twinning Highway 63 around Fort McMurray in light of recent deaths. Jean-Francois Fortin contrasted the Cons' austerity on actual public services against their lavish spending on pointless symbolism. And Rejean Genest closed debate on his rental housing motion.

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