The QP Clip: Syrian refugees and scoring partisan points

The exchange that you can’t miss from this afternoon’s Question Period
Journalists watch a T.V. as the Speaker of the House of Commons Peter Miliken tallies votes in the the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa Tuesday, May 10, 2005 the Conservative party and Bloc Quebecois are pushing for a non-confidence vote. (CP Photo/Jonathan Hayward)

The problem with politics is the labyrinthine glass house in which it all takes place. No one is safe from accusations. No one is pure. Sometimes, people make mistakes. Occasionally, people break the rules on purpose. Under those circumstances, parliamentarians try to debate. Often, those conversations don’t go so well. See: today’s proceedings.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair asked Prime Minister Stephen Harper a legitimate question about Syrian refugees: namely, how many government-sponsored Syrians have escaped hostilities overseas and arrived in Canada. Harper snuck in a quick response—”Over 1,000″—before he forgot all about Syria. Harper urged the Official Opposition to repay $1.17 million in postage fees that the party spent on mailings deemed partisan by the all-party board of internal economy. The NDP denies any wrongdoing. Tories don’t care. Scandals are regrettable. Also regrettable is any party’s willingness to forget all about urgent issues outside of the House of Commons—e.g. a Syrian refugee crisis—because scoring points against opponents is easy and fun and never gets old for the people doing the blaming.