Solidarity, people. Solidarity!: HFX09 NDP Convention Day Two – semi-liveblog/open thread

What better way to spend a sunny Saturday morning than curled up in front of CPAC, watching an NDP policy convention? Anyway, if there are any readers out there who, like ITQ, are drawn to these events like a moth to a flame (or possibly vice versa), feel free to use this as an open thread to chat about the speeches, the speakers, the resolutions up for debate, your feelings on the ideological significance of the letter N — you know, whatever. If it gets particularly lively on the floor, or if another procedural wrangle breaks out, I’ll liveblog it, but otherwise, expect updates to be sporadic, at least for the first part of the day.

If you happen to be CPAC-deprived, you can watch the coverage via livestream over at, and follow chatter from the floor via the #hfx09 hashtag on twitter.

8:46 AM

A perfect opening vignette: During debate on a resolution on nationalizing the energy industry (or something like that), a female delegate in a ridiculous hat pops up on a point of order to rather snippily remind the chair of the rule passed at the last convention, which requires the chair to divvy up floor time by gender — if a man speaks at one microphone, a woman should speak at the next one. The chair — determinedly smiling but serious-business-minded party president Anne McGrath — assures her that she’s well aware of the rule, which is why she recognized Ridiculous Hat Wearing Delegate in the first place. Oh boy. Er, boy/girl/other/unspecified.

9:14 AM

We’re up to the third resolution of the day — the last two passed with near unanimous support from what ITQ could see – Arctic sovereignty through anti-militarism, cooperation and unionization. Brilliant — brilliant, I tell you! Topical, yet with that classic orange NDP twist. By the way, has anyone else noticed a distinct lack of orange at this convention? This time around, the convention colours seem to be blue and green, which is distressingly reminiscent of the new Canada Action! Plan logo.

9:22 AM

“I’m not saying we should nationalize the phone companies,” a delegate assures us, midway through a rambling diatribe about outsourcing, and how it’s impossible to get a live human being on the phone when you call your phone company with even the simplest question about your bill, and outsourcing exploits workers while fatcat executives rake in salary by the millions, and — yeah. Carried. Take that, Emily!

Hmm. Rather than take over Blog Central. I should probably stick in a jump, huh? It’s the polite thing to do. See you on the other side.

9:26 AM

Investment in the forestry sector — a resolution brought to you by the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, and which will almost certainly pass unanimously. I’ll be surprised if there’s a single speaker against it — man or woman. Given the unlikelihood of actual debate breaking out, ITQ will seize the moment and whip herself up some toast. Don’t worry, she can hear everything from the kitchen.

9:44 AM

Well, darn. My toast-making foray wound up overlapping with a resolution on expanding employment insurance coverage, which sounded like it was on the verge of getting feisty, mostly because those opposed were of the view that it didn’t go nearly far enough. Also, one of the women called to the microphone confessed that she felt “guilty going before the men”. Which is just one of the unintended consequences of enforcing gender parity in extemporaneous debate. Oh, and PS — it passed. Easily.

There’s some confusion on the floor, apparently, over the order of resolutions for debate.

9:52 AM

A Larsenista is attempting to hitch his drug policy resolution proposal to a resolution on affordable housing and homelessness — because apparently, it’s all the same thing, really — and the chair — not Anne McGrath this time, but another woman, and ITQ can’t help but notice that there isn’t a single male on stage at the moment. Where’s that famous gender parity now, brothers and sisters? Anyway, the Larsenistas appear to be having little luck rallying support for their procedural gambit, although – oh, Libby Davies is on their side! With Libby at the mic, surely victory is but a cranky counterintervention or two away.

9:59 AM

Saskatchewan — or, at least, a delegate speaking on its behalf —  is Not Impressed by the Larsenite shenanigans,  and demands an immediate vote on the motion to refer — which, I gather, is kind of like a hoist motion — which he gets in fairly short order. Motion to refer – -the Larsenite gambit — defeated. Sorry, Libby. Somehow, I don’t think this is the last we’re going to hear from the pro-pot brigade, however. (There was also also an elliptic, if pointed reference to the pre-convention unpleasantness by one of those backing the referral motion, which, ITQ suspects, isn’t the first time we’ll hear that sort of thing, either.)

The main motion – which calls for more affordable housing and a homelessness strategy – passes easily. On to pay equity!

10:06 AM

Does anyone — anyone — have the slightest bit of uncertainty as to whether this resolution will pass, almost certainly unanimously? Didn’t think so.

10:09 AM

The NDP has deep roots in rural Canada, brothers and sisters. Deep, like the sleep ITQ  missed out on this morning. Sorry, sorry. Hey, look, it’s Niki Ashton at the microphone, avowing eternal support for the people of the earth. She’s like a young Judy Wasylycia-Leis. Younger, that is — and taller. (ITQ, being just a sliver under five feet, is allowed to point that out, but don’t any of the rest of you get any ideas.)

Also, P3s? BAD. No, I have no idea what the wording of this particular resolution is — something about protecting rural and remote communities, I’m gathering — but apparently, I’m not alone; every now and then, a delegate pops up to complain that there’s still no list of the prioritized resolutions — the ones that will actually make it to the floor today, that is — and the chair-du-moment apologizes and gives a status update. According to her latest bulletin, the package is now in the process of being photocopied, but it’s a “big job” — more than twenty pages. Has anyone here ever heard of “the internet”? Because I’m told you can put documents  “online”, which magically makes them “available” to “all” and “sundry”.

10:19 AM

(Wildly off-topic aside: If anyone out there is still reading this liver-than-expectedblog and can manage to watch a policy convention and read acerbically insightful political analysis at the same time, you might want to check out Susan Delacourt’s latest post, which is all about one of ITQ’s very favourite topics: the talkingpointification of Ottawa.)

10:22 AM

Okay, I don’t know if this is CPAC’s fault, or the NDP tech team, but QUIT RANDOMLY RUNNING SIMULTANEOUS FRENCH TRANSLATION OVER ENGLISH SPEAKERS. Thanks in advance.)

10:25 AM

Only three minutes left in this section! No, that doesn’t mean everyone gets to go out and frolic under a beaming New Democrat Nova Scotian sun; it means they move onto the next resolution theme package. The last resolution, by the way, is on handgun smuggling, and the stopping thereof, but it is delayed slightly by an oddly hostile delegate-chair-other-delegate exchange, coincidentally enough to do with simultaneous translation, and how English-speaking delegates ought to grab themselves one of those handy-dandy little headset things, since, as the clearly irate second delegate points out, occasionally, someone who speaks French may take the floor and have something interesting to say.

Oh, and it turns out that there is some controversy over the handgun motion, which several delegates — I suspect Larsenistas, although the words “drug policy reform” are never used — claim was actually folded into an omnibus motion during yesterday’s prioritization session, but the chair doesn’t seem to share his interpretation. After the handgun resolution passes, there’s a brief interlude wherein yet another delegate tries to convince the room to give unanimous consent for two more minutes of debate so that his resolution on green jobs can make it to the floor. Since that has nothing to do with drug policy, as McGrath explains, it gets some support, but not enough to suspend the rules. Sorry, green job enthusiasts. Better luck next time.

10:34 AM

And now it’s time for … Governing In an Inclusive and Fair Canada, starting with a resolution on reforming the formula for federal funding to northern territories. Oh, will this session include the one on dismantling the monarchy, and replacing the Governor General with an appointee who will also serve as House speaker? Gosh, I hope so.

10:38 AM

Hmm, it doesn’t sound like it, according to the list now somewhat hurriedly being read by the chair, but on the plus side, there does seem to be a pro-Parliamentary Budget Officer resolution on the agenda. Did I mention that the fabulous Gloria Galloway is on the ground in Halifax, blogging the heck out of today’s action for the Globe and Mail? Because she is, and ITQ is very jealous. Here’s her latest dispatch from the front.

10:48 AM

And the pro-North resolution passes! Wait, why haven’t any resolutions failed so far? Was the prioritization done according to likelihood of success?

Meanwhile, Paul Dewar — the MP for ITQ’s neighbouring riding of Ottawa Centre — wants the sale of all Crown assets to go before Parliament, which actually seems like a pretty good idea.

10:51 AM

Of course, the first speaker to follow Dewar wants to go beyond that, and retroactively de-approve the selling-off of Petro Canada. Clearly, a subamendment to immediately invest in the development of an eco-friendly system of time travel would be required.

The motion passes, by the way. I know, I was shocked too.

10:52 AM

Ooh, here’s a resolution that ITQ can get behind: access to information reform.

Adorable: Bill Siksay saying “when we’re in government”.

Less adorable: Addressing McGrath as “Sister Chair”.

Motion passes. Of course. In fact, if I forget to mention the result, you can probably assume that every motion passes, and that the only real objections during debate are to the fact that whatever it is, it just doesn’t go far enough.

10:56 AM

And now, the pro-PBO motion, with the irrepressible Pat Martin leading off. Wow, a lot of sitting MPs hitting the mics this morning — you’d think they’d be a little more reticent to take up time that could go to all those delegates who don’t have a seat in the House from which they can opine on virtually any issue that comes up.

That seems to be it for this morning’s session — CPAC briefly cut away to an interview with Alexa McDonough, but hastily switched back for the last bit of housekeeping on the floor. From what I can gather from the agenda, they’ll pick up where they left off after lunch — 12:30 Ottawa time, if I’m reading this correctly. There are also a few emergency resolutions headed for the floor — H1N1, fisheries, Omar Khadr, cell phone costs, the situation in Iran and a couple of others. Maybe over the lunch break, some enterprising little organizer will put the full package online. In any case, see you back here in an hour and a half. What? You are all coming back, right? Right? Hello?

11:13 AM

One more quick note for the twittficianados amongst y’all: NDPApparatchick is, in ITQ’s considered but highly subjective opinion, far and away the most entertaining convention-tweeter to hit the #HFX09 stream so far.

12:21 PM

Good afternoon, brothers, sisters and others! After a brief constitutional around the block with the perennially patience canine, ITQ is back on the NDP beat, having caught the tail end of a CPAC political panel featuring two MPs — Nova Scotia Liberal Geoff Regan and New Democrat Charlie Angus — and Conservative strategist Kevin Lacey, who used to run the PMO Atlantic desk, but headed back to Nova Scotia earlier this year to run Rodney MacDonald’s re-election campaign, which shows what a trooper he is. He thinks the NDP should spend more time going after Michael Ignatieff and the Liberals — gosh, I wonder why — but Angus dismisses that idea, although not before taking a shot at Regan for suggesting that his party has yet to move past the 1970s as far as its nationalize-everything policy platform. He then makes ITQ’s eyebrow go straight up in the air by suggesting that Liberals like Regan just aren’t used to this kind of “open debate”. What convention is he attending, and can ITQ come? Because the one she’s been watching on CPAC has been pretty light on that front.  And no, saying that every third motion “doesn’t go far enough” does not, in ITQ’s view, make it a debate.

Hmm. Martin Stringer has now moved onto an interview with Thomas Mulcair, but it looks like the convention is actually back underway, which means ITQ is going to switch over to the live feed until CPAC gets back to the main event.

12:38 PM

Huh. The main event appears to be a debate — or “debate” over a proposal to protect French-speaking workers in Quebec. There’s no translation on the webfeed, and still no list of the prioritized resolutions, so I’m not entirely sure which resolution this is, but that seems to be the gist. A “proud English Quebecker” speaks in support — the same one who got a bit testy with his fellow Anglophones before lunch — as does Thomas Mulcair. Apparently, if they pass this motion, the NDP will prove that it is the party that supports Quebec workers, and Francophones. Take that, Bloc Quebecois!

Seriously, is there really a need for a designated “con” microphone?

Motion passes. Unanimously. Is it wrong that I’m starting to get a bit nostalgic for the last Conservative policy convention? At least there, you occasionally had a mildly controversial resolution make it to the floor. This is just — really, why not hold the whole convention via twitter?

12:50 PM

Wait — did ITQ speak — or type — too soon? Thomas Mulcair — who is suddenly omnipresent — is warning that some delegates may find the wording of the next resolution just a tiny bit controversial, but that it really just recognizes what has already been passed unanimously by the Quebec Assembly. Oh, it’s a nation motion. Nation motion controversies — man, those are so 2006.

Motion passed. Next.

12:53 PM

UPDATE: According to a rather truculent  #HFX09 tweet, the NDP is not going to be debating that famous  name change motion, and we-the-media should “get over it”.  Can anyone out there confirm that? That is, if there’s anyone out there at all, of course, which I’m beginning to doubt.

12:58 PM

Ooh, this next resolution might actually spark a little debate — PR debate, even! It seems to have something to do with creeping gradually towards a Canada-side Mixed Member Proportional system, and a delegate from BC — sorry, missed the name — gives the usual argument in favour of electoral reform. Apparently, the NDP wants to make parliament work for Canadians. Who knew?

Finally, the “con” mic gets a little love, first from a youth delegate, who thinks we need a ‘national dialogue’ on how we elect our governments, rather than “locking ourselves” — the party, that is — into one particular form of electoral reform, then from an elderly gentleman who worries that the wording of this particular resolution is too unclear — he wants it to be laid out, black and white with “no grey”, exactly what proportional representation is. Another delegate moves to send the whole thing to federal council, which eventually prevails. That’s the closest we’ve gotten to a defeat yet.

1:07 PM

And with that, it’s onto the third theme package — Building an Ecological and Durable Canada (But Not With A Carbon Tax). First resolution: Something to do with investing in green employment. Yeah, I’m betting the con mic wranglers can go back to sleep now.

1:13 PM

“There’s no such thing as a friendly amendment,” the chair advises a delegate — a male delegate who mic-hopped in front of the next available female, but on a point of order so he wasn’t hauled off by the anti-harassment police — who wanted to tweak the wording of one resolution to include First Nations, Inuit and Metis government on the consultation list. Wow, that delegate up now — who is complaining about translation errors in the same resolution — has a whole lot of buttons. Anyway, his complaint turns out to be persuasive enough for the proposal to be sent back to the resolution committee, but don’t worry — it will be back on Sunday. Along with the name change resolution, according to ITQ’s source on the convention floor.

And now, environmentally-friendly infrastructure funding. Ooh, edgy.

1:18 PM

This just in from DanaLarsen (via twitter, which – yes, does seem to be having a mercurial day, as far as uptime):

An emergency resolution to reinstate my #ndp delegate status has been put forward at #hfx09

Ooh. That could get interesting. Quick, NDProcedural counterattack squad! Get Robertsizing! Also, both Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff hate the environment, according to a Quebec delegate, and Elizabeth May thinks unions are anti-green. But wait — if that’s the case, who can Canadians vote for? Oh, right. Anyway, this guy is happy to see people supporting his, Jack’s and Obama’s vision of a green economy, and eventually, the motion carries.

1:23 PM

And now, a motion to transfer funding for the tar sands — note: tar, not oil; RFI would be pleased — to clean energy, which was proposed by a Quebec riding. And — hey, it’s Linda Duncan, the NDP’s sole Albertan MP and natural resources critic, who is up at the “con” mic — she wants the resolution to be sent back to the policy committee — not because she doesn’t “agree with the sentiment”, but because she thinks they need to look at a “broader energy strategy”, and also, here’s a thought, maybe KEEP HER SEAT in the next election. It’s possible ITQ added that last part, but really, you can’t tell me that didn’t cross her mind.

A delegate from Ottawa Centre wants to know whether the chair can assure us all that any resolution that disappears into the black hole that is the policy committee will actually come back to the floor, since he finds the idea of coming out of this convention without any sort of statement on the tar sands to be “unacceptable”. Sister chair weasels a little — she can’t say whether or not it will make it back, it all depends on what happens on Sunday — which sparks a number of delegates to come out against the referral. Cleverly, the motion to refer is based in part on the fact that the original resolution doesn’t mention consulting with Metis, Inuit and First Nations communities, but that doesn’t seem to be fooling anyone other than the few Albertans in the room.

Gosh, this is almost suspenseful. Seriously, what’s going to happen?

1:33 PM

Okay, motion to refer the tar sands motion is defeated — sorry, Linda — and it’s back to the main motion, starting with Michael Byers — at a “pro” mic, I believe — who tries to reassure everyone that this is “not a radical position” — it’s downright mainstream within the environmental community, and their party should darn well be there too. Oh, there’s the Proud Anglophone Quebecker Who Really Doesn’t Seem To Think Much Of His Fellow Delegates, who reminds them that if there’s so much concern over not explicitly including Inuit, First Nations and Metis peoples in the wording of their resolutions, they might want to include them during the drafting process. Morons. He’s surrounded by morons! (It’s possible he only said that last bit in his head, but ITQ could hear it.)

And now — wait, what’s this? Elections? Oh, come on. ITQ will do a lot for her readers — or perhaps we should refer to him/her/other as “reader” at the moment — but liveblog the elections for party officers? No, that’s beyond even her sense of duty to democracy. I’ll meet you back here when the policy session gets back underway.

1:57 PM

And we’re back — back to the policy session on governing a green and inclusive eco-Canada, or whatever they’re calling it — with the balloting going on in the background. Up now: a resolution on the protection of coastal waters, presented by Nathan Cullen, who explains that this targets “a specific insane proposal” by the Harper Conservatives and the Campbell Liberals to allow tanker traffic off the coat of British Columbia. There’s also a subplot involving a pipeline, and the expansion of the tar sands, and it all sounds very dire. I’m guessing he’s not going to find much opposition in this room.

2:09 PM

And — he doesn’t. Yes, it took that long for a motion with virtually unanimous support to pass. You have to give everyone a chance to voice their impassioned agreement, after all.

Now, a motion on water as an essential resource, not a commodity. Again, if there’s a single opposed, ITQ will eat her imaginary hat.

Huh. Did  I zone out and miss the vote? Weird. Oh, or the chair screwed up and called the wrong motion — it’s not clear. We’re onto something about a pipeline freeze, pulling out of NAFTA’s energy provisions, a moratorium on energy experts to the US — you know, the usual stuff. The delegates seem nearly as confused as ITQ, and there’s also apparently a “logistical problem” with the clock, so they’re timing interventions with a stopwatch from the stage. Which smacks of a coverup to ITQ. COVERUP! LET THE PEOPLE SPEAK!

Sorry, sorry. Anyway, a delegate hailing from the CEP wants the west to send its crude oil to the east, rather than to the United States. “This resolution is about energy security for Canadians,” he avows, “Putting Canadians first, not last!” A new NEP? WHO’S WITH HIM, PEOPLE?

(Yes, the occasional outburst of allscapsianity does keep it interesting for the liveblogger. Thanks for asking.)

2:16 PM

Hey, it’s someone opposed to the resolution! He’s from Burlington, and he agrees with most of what’s in the motion, but he insists that we have to “skip this step” and stop the use of fossil fuels, cold turkey, in the near future. He gets a small, but enthusiastic burst of applause, but it doesn’t sound like his argument is going to carry the way. This is borne out by the immediately subsequence appearance of the party’s latest star candidate from Quebec, whose name ITQ seems to have momentarily forgotten, points out that there are already pipelines, and Quebeckers need energy security too. Right now, they have to depend on American imports.

Another delegate agrees that it seems “conflicting” for the party to support both a moratorium on tar sands and a new pipeline, but a CEP representative notes that there’s going to be a pipeline anyway, and it has to go somewhere — so why not make that somewhere in Canada, and not the US?

2:25 PM

Ooh, a Manitoba cabinet minister speaks out against the resolution — this might be the death knell, everyone. He’s “horrified” by the idea of freezing electricity exports — what about green energy, the kind that his province wants to send to the US to benefit Manitobans? WHY?

And the motion — fails. Near unanimously. Take that, old labour!

2:29 PM

One more itty bitty policy block — apparently they have a speaker scheduled to take the stage in fifteen minutes, so they won’t be able to get through the next theme pack — Canada’s place in the world —  until after they reconvene later this afternoon. The first motion is on women’s role in peace-building — the Alexa motion, let’s call it — and would ensure justice for women who suffer sexual violence in war. Okay, let’s see someone oppose that.

2:34 PM

Paul Dewar argues in favour of the resolution, which – according to his explanation — is a virtually universally applicable pro-women foreign policy. He even gets in a shot at the latest move by the Afghanistan government, and eventually — without a single argument against — it passes unanimously.

With that, it’s on to foreign aid — specifically, “refocusing Canada’s bilateral aid”. Libby Davies speaks in favour, and brings up her recent trip to the Middle East, during which she was appalled by the conditions under which residents of Gaza are still living, and which she implores everyone to support. Another delegate complains that the motion is “too vague” — and reading it (page 69 of the NNW-provided resolution package), ITQ can’t help but agree. He’d like to see a list of specific countries to which to transfer aid, and not just a “broad statement with no direction”.

Okay, did anyone but ITQ just giggle at the delegate who began her intervention with, “I’d like to second what the brother said …”?

2:39 PM

ITQ would like to propose a emergency motion to recognize the fact that the gender-alternating pro/con microphone system has turned out to be a logistical nightmare. Meanwhile, some guy in a yellow shirt at a con mic — that means he’s opposed to referring it to committee, in this case — delivers an exhaustive explanation of what the main motion actually means, but I think Puzzled Delegate’s point stands; as worded, the resolution is a little bit on the vague side.

Okay, the motion to refer passed, which means the resolution goes back to committee, and may or may not return, in clarified form, tomorrow morning. Is anyone else starting to wonder how they’re going to squeeze all these amended resolutions into the time allotted for debate? Especially since there are already a dozen or so emergency motions to get through? And the name change resolution?

2:45 PM

Okay, that’s it for the pre-show — it’s time for Leo Gerard, president of the Steelworkers, who is now taking the stage, accompanied by Jack Layton, in front of a vast, vaguely terrifying picture of himself. On that note, ITQ is going to sign off for the moment — and possibly the day, as it’s not clear whether they’ll return to policy after the “showcase” portion of the day has concluded. If they do, I’ll put up a fresh post to alert anyone who cares that liveblogging has resumed, but if not — well, I guess we’ll all be back here tomorrow for the emergency/amended policy session spectacular.

Hope y’all have enjoyed the coverage so far — and feel free to drop me a line if I’m missing any juicy off-camera action.

4:12 PM

Well, hello again, everyone — looks like we’re not quite done with the policy debates after all. As soon as Marshall Gantz — Obamaista, and a pretty darned impressive speaker from what ITQ was able to catch on CPAC — was hustled off stage, the unassailable Anne McGrath reconvened conventioneers for another half hour on Canadian foreign policy, starting with support for nuclear disarmament, which she thought was already the heart and soul of the NDP, which shows you what she knows. Anyway, it carries unanimously after a brief spiel from Bill Siksay.

4:14 PM

And now, corporate social responsibility — another no-brainer as far as the likely result, ITQ dares say.

Wow Paul Dewar — the motion’s main defender — has somehow managed to get one heck of a tan despite the rainsoaked Ottawa summer. That, or it’s a trick of the lighting. His resolution passes — I think it was unanimous, but you can’t always tell, and then it’s onto a resolution calling for peace in Sri Lankan — and a full investigation of human rights abuses allegedly carried out during the civil war, and to expedite humanitarian assistance to the affected Tamil population. There’s other stuff too, but you get the gist.

4:19 PM

Oh, look, there’s Paul Dewar again — this time, speaking in favour of the motion on Sri Lanka. “The world turned away from Sri Lanka when the people of Sri Lanka needed the world to take note,” he says — and this resolution will “define the NDP position” on the issue. Carried — again, virtually/actually unanimously — and onto a motion on immigration reform, which is a kitchen sinker, by the sound of it — everything from a moratorium on deportation to recognition of foreign credentials.

4:24 PM

And there’s Olivia Chow, whose riding may actually have been the proponent of this particular resolution. She’s also the immigration critic, so it’s not surprising that she’d speak up, but I’d be surprised if this MP/critic-heavy presence at the microphones may not be irking some of the delegates on the floor. I mean, really, if Olivia Chow wants to rail on about the treatment of temporary foreign workers, she can do so in the House of Commons, or at committee — or hold a press conference, even. It seems a little bit unfair to take up time that could go to rank-and-file members.

I’m just waiting for someone to mention the Dhalla debacle. So far, nobody has brought it up, but you’d have to think that it’s on everyone’s mind. Right now, a UFCW union guy is at the pro mic — no sign of anyone at the con.

4:30 PM

And here’s another sitting MP — Nathan Cullen — speaking in favour of the motion. I really don’t get the strategy here, unless it’s to stock up on footage of New Democrat MPs Fighting For Ordinary Canadians to include in the next batch of campaign ads. Anyway, someone moves to call the question, and it passes. Unanimously.

4:33 PM

Another immigration reform motion — this one focuses on family reunification, and the lead speaker is not a sitting MP, which immediately endears her to ITQ. Her motion carries, and then it’s off to yet another motion on recognition of foreign credentials — didn’t they just pass a resolution that would do that? I’m confused. Meanwhile, a delegate is griping that this session was allotted less time than the others, which the chair seems to dispute. The resolution passes, and it sounds like they’re going to get an extra five minutes at the end of this session. Win/win/WIN!

4:40 PM

And a non-immigration motion for a change of pace: this time, calling for a full review of human rights in Colombia before signing Canada up for a free trade deal. Wait, didn’t we already do that? Anyway, a representative from the Steelworkers gives a brief recap of efforts made to push a similar initiative when it went before the House, and notes that there was a split in the Liberal caucus over the issue. Both the NDP and the Bloc were four-square against it, however, and were able to force the government to nudge it off the Order Paper, which was “quite a success”, considering. Which it is, and I apologize for not paying more attention at the time. Peter Julian pops up again to speak in favour of the motion, and reminds the crowd that the fight isn’t over — the bill may resurface this fall.

4:45 PM

Five more minutes — and it’s back to the stopwatch. The motion on Colombia’s human rights record carries, and it’s onto – huh, that’s a bit off the beaten path, setting timelines for the ratification of ILO conventions. Somehow, I’m betting this resolution won’t be terribly controversial either. You know what would be fun? To switch resolution packages, and have NDP delegates debate Liberal Party proposals; Conservatives, NDP motions; Liberals, Greens and so on. Well, fun for ITQ. Maybe not so much for the parties involved.

4:50 PM

After the ILO motion passes, it turns out that’s it for this resolution block, so the chair hands the mic over to a delegate who wants to celebrate Tintmarre. Happy celebratory day, everyone! ITQ is going to sign off — for good this time, at least for the night — but she’ll see you all tomorrow morning, bright and early, for the final policy session.

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