When commemorative ceremonies get awkward...

… commemorating ministers get cryptic:


OTTAWA, October 5, 2009 — The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry and Minister responsible for the Canadian Space Agency, will be on Parliament Hill today to commemorate a significant space milestone for Canada. Canadian Space Agency President Dr. Steve MacLean will also participate in the announcement.

Date: Monday, October 5, 2009

Time: 3:30 p.m.

Location: Commonwealth Room

Centre Block (west wing)

Parliament Hill

Ottawa, Ontario

So, is there another “significant space milestone for Canada” that took place on this particular day in history? Because if there isn’t, it seems all but impossible to hold this event without eventually mentioning the name of the person whose accomplishment is ostensibly the source of celebration, even if he is now a Liberal MP and his party’s industry critic.

Then again, after what happened to those local Liberal MLAs at the Action! Plan announcement last week in Saint John, Garneau should probably consider himself fortunate if he makes it into the room without being stopped by security. (ITQ kids, of course: as a parliamentarian, any attempt to block him could be seen as a breach of personal privilege. Of course, that doesn’t mean they have to let him speak.)

Of course, it’s always possible that the minister actually plans to pay tribute to Canada’s first ‘space tourist’, although it’s not clear how Guy Laliberte’s sight-seeing trip can be considered a milestone for the Canadian space program, since he plunked down his own money for a ticket on a Russian spacecraft.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.