This week in patriotism

Stephen Harper on Tuesday, responding to a question from Michael Ignatieff.

On this side of the House, we are Canadians first and only.

If you wanted to seriously engage such a statement, you might wonder how MPs who were born outside Canada fit into Mr. Harper’s paradigm. (How does the Prime Minister’s sense of “first” apply to a chronological sense of residency? A CBC survey in 2006 found that most of those Conservatives born outside Canada did not report dual citizenship, but does the Prime Minister’s insistence on “only” imply any kind of limit on future Conservatives MPs? And so on.)

Meanwhile, in response to the Defence Minister’s taunts, Liberal Marc Garneau sought yesterday to engage in a sort of patriotic penis-measuring contest.

Marc Garneau: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence is quick to question my patriotism. I will go up against him any day on patriotism. I do not just dress up like a soldier. I actually serve my country. The minister also likes his little Star Trek analogies, so I will take him where no Conservative has gone before, to fiscal competence and balanced budgets. Why will he not hold an open competition, get the best aircraft for our needs, guarantee industrial benefits and save Canadians billions of dollars?

Peter MacKay: Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what we will do. In fact, I regret not having had the opportunity to serve my country in uniform. I serve my country in a different way. Canadians can always count on this government to do the right thing when it comes to giving the best equipment to the best citizens, the members of the Canadian Forces. They can always count on this government as well to look out for the interests of taxpayers and our aerospace industry. Why is it that the member from a region of Montreal is demonstrating contempt for the aerospace industry in his own region? He should explain that to his constituents.

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