That's A Good Question! - Contempt of parliament (02/27/10)

Courtesy of the coding elves, here's the audio from this week's That's A Good Question, as heard earlier this morning on The House. 

 This week's question was submitted by David Winchester, who wanted to know how, exactly, opposition members could go about finding the government in contempt for failing to comply with the House Order to produce unredacted copies of detainee-related documents requested by the Afghanistan committee. 

For the answer, hit the little black arrow -- -- and for much, much, no-seriously-so-very-much more on contempt, check out the parliamentary privilege document dump here.


UPDATED AGAIN - ContemptWatch: A little light weekend reading ...

For those of you who tuned into The House for the inaugural edition of That's A Good Question! -- and for those who did not and are now heartily regretting it, I'll post the audio just as soon as it's available -- I thought I'd do a little privilege-related document dump. 

Unless otherwise noted, these documents were provided by the office of Liberal MP Derek Lee, which in addition to the text of his proposed motion -- which you can read here -- included the following background material. While it may seem a little on the unfathomably dense and dull side for those not quite as obsessed with the minutia of parliamentary procedure as, well, me, I'm sure there are a few other people out there who may find interesting, if only to get some idea of what's been going on over the last few weeks,and how the ensuing debate over said motion may unfold. 

Ready? Okay, let's get parliawonking! 

Bernier's version


(Clement Allard/Canadian Press)

Despite his backbencher status, Maxime Bernier manages to end up in the spotlight every once in a while.

This week, it's through the Opinion pages of La Presse that the Beauce MP resurfaced.

The headline of his open letter, "Greenhouse gases: caution is the right stance for Canada," and the arguments that followed, caught the eye of many.

In the letter, Bernier argues it makes sense to be skeptical of the science surrounding climate change, and therefore, Canada's moderate position is the right way to go.

Daniel Lessard is the host of Radio-Canada's Les Coulisses du Pouvoir.

He says Maxime Bernier is trying to send a message... not about the environment, but about his political future.


Listen to Daniel Lessard's commentary for The House:

UPDATED: Flaherty's footwear forecast

flahertyshoescp-300.jpgIt is, of course, tradition for the finance minister to avail himself/herself of some new footwear for budget day.

It is a tradition that even the Library of Parliament can't explain, but it's our tradition and Jim Flaherty will play along again this Thurday.

The choice of shoe is often viewed as symbolic of what will be in the budget.


As predicted last Friday, Jim Flaherty did indulge in a pair of new shoes. And not just any shoes.

He bought a pair of comfortable ECCOs at a cost of $271.20. That's nothing to sneeze at.

As for Thursday, Flaherty says the government will show "how we will move forward and reduce the deficit over time, so that in the medium term, we can balance the budget in Canada."

UPDATED - PrivilegeWatch: Do not taunt Happy Fun Parliament.

A little bird who may or may not work for the Liberal MP whose name appears on the cover of The Power of Parliamentary Houses to Send for Persons, Papers & Records: A Sourcebook on the Law and Precedent of Parliamentary Subpoena Powers for Canadian and Other Houses, sends along a copy of an intriguing -- and potentially parliamentarily incendiary draft motion, which could be introduced in the House as early as next week. 

For those of you whose eyes glaze over somewhere around the third instance of the word "whereas,"  hit the jump for the gist of what would transpire if the motion was passed in its current form.  

posted more little-bird-delivered background material here

Question of the Day


Helena Guergis, minister of state for the status of women, issued an apology Thursday to Charlottetown Airport workers and Air Canada staff for throwing a tantrum last week. Her apology doesn't seem to have quelled the Liberal opposition, who are demanding she resign from her cabinet post.

Got a question? Have a story to tell? We want to hear from you.

This weekend on The House



Here's what's on this weekend's edition of The House on CBC Radio:

UPDATED: Mike Layton: chip off the old block?


By the looks of this Facebook invite, he is. Toronto's Trinity-Spadina Ward 19 just so happens to have an opening with longtime city councillor Joe Pantalone, who's vacating his seat as part of his mayoral bid in the October municipal election.

UPDATE: Sure sounds like it, too. Reached on his cell, the 31-year-old Layton won't come right out with it and declare, but says everything but.

Look who's coming to next week's Liberal roundtable ... at least for now!

Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page, that's who -- unless, that is, his name mysteriously vanishes from the list of panelists for Monday's session on the Federal Accountability Act, specifically "what was promised, what was delivered, and the fixes." 

Orders of the Day (02/26/10) - The calm before the parliamentary storm


Having made it back to Vancouver just in time to celebrate the gold medal victory of Canada's women's hockey team, the prime minister has a full day of Olympic events ahead of him. 

This morning, he attends the 
women's slalom competition, and then pops by Canada Olympic House. Later today, he cheers on the women's curling team this afternoon, although he apparently wasn't able to persuade Wayne Gretzky to play hooky from his coaching duties and join him in the stands.* Instead, he'll attend the match with Canadian Forces reservist Captain Tylere Couture and Canadian Olympic Committee members, after which he joins Alexandre Bilodeau -- who won Canada's first gold medal of the Games last week -- for the men's and women's short track speed skating final.

*I have been informed that Wayne Gretzky does not, in fact, have any official role in coaching Team Canada, which just goes to show you how clueless I remain about all things sports-related, despite the best efforts of friends and family to educate me, although in my defence, if you think I'm bad with hockey, you should see me when I'm forced to watch football.    

As for the other party leaders, Michael Ignatieff is still in somewhere in Vancouver, presumably -- his staff don't tend to keep us posted on his itinerary when it doesn't include public events -- and Jack Layton joins members of Toronto's Muslim community for local prayers at Madina Masjid Mosque.

On the ministerial important announcement circuit today: