The Commons: ‘In the kingdom of hypocrisy, the Prime Minister is king’

The second day of the Pierre Poilievre era goes about as smoothly as the first

The Scene. That Dion fellow, in case you were wondering, was off on a day trip to Quebec City. Meanwhile, Michael Ignatieff couldn’t even wait for the customary applause to die down before launching Question Period.

“Mr. Speaker… Mr. Speaker,” he began, shushing his peers, “the RCMP raided the Conservative Party headquarters. They did not raid our headquarters, and they did not raid anybody else’s headquarters. They raided one party alone.”

As a statement of fact, this was difficult to dispute. On, next, to the question.


But before the Prime Minister could respond, Ignatieff offered an answer.

“Because only the Conservative Party broke the spending limits, only the Conservative Party refused to cooperate with Elections Canada.”

As this is Question Period and the Speaker demands that members at least feign an inquiry, Ignatieff concluded with a variation on what the Prime Minister knew and when he knew it. The Prime Minister explained only that he knew various members of the Liberal party have had their differences with Elections Canada, too.

“Mr. Speaker,” Ignatieff shrugged, “they did not raid my headquarters.”

Equally dismissive, though, was the PM.

“Well, Mr. Speaker,” he huffed, “if what the honourable member is saying is that it is strange that Elections Canada had one practice for the Conservative Party and one for other parties, we agree.”

Ah yes. The great conspiracy. Essentially, if you are not with this government, you are aligned against it. Oliver Stone is less paranoid than this bunch. Enemies lurk everywhere, though strangely most have consolidated in the public service.

Still, the twisted fantasies of these self-styled martyrs are at least preferable to—or at least more entertaining than—the twisted logic they otherwise rely on.

Yesterday, you may remember, didn’t go so well in this regard. Pierre Poilievre, the prodigal son, made a right mess of things—demonstrating a habit of attribution that would have gotten him expelled from most self-respecting universities. And despite protestations that all he said Monday was on the up-and-up, none of it was repeated on Tuesday. Strange, that.

Instead, the Conservatives stepped up their campaign of insinuation. What, they asked, of money transferred between the local and national campaigns of other parties? Well, the opposition would respond, Elections Canada saw no infractions there.

Exactly, the Conservatives would cry. Circular logic at its most nauseating.

This government has used confusion and misdirection quite effectively in the past—their predilection for obfuscation outlasting even the most noble of critics—and they may yet succeed here too. At least so long as you consider public apathy akin to success.

For now, though, the opposition is rightly enjoying itself, scoring the more spectacular of blows.

Thundered Gilles Duceppe at one point: “Au royaume de l’hypocrisie, le premier ministre est le roi.” In the kingdom of hypocrisy, the Prime Minister is king.

A tri-partisan ovation swept through the ranks, building until it overtook the House.

A moment later, the Bloc leader sniped again, asking the Prime Minister if he might sue the authors of these latest allegations.

Again, there was rare tri-partisan applause.

His side was looking wobbly, so up came Poilievre with his best retort. “Dans le royaume des transferts, le chef du Bloc est vraiment le roi.” In the kingdom of transfers, the Bloc leader is truly king.

Barely half a dozen government backbenchers could muster the pride to applaud their colleague’s effort.

The Stats. Election financing and the economy, 10 questions each. Food prices, Quebec media, language rights, Afghanistan, landmines and government disclosure, two questions each. Sport, international aid, child care and algae, one question each.

Stephen Harper, seven answers. Pierre Poilievre, five answers. Jim Prentice, Jim Flaherty, Jean-Pierre Blackburn and Maxime Bernier, four answers each. Josée Verner, two answers. Helena Guergis, Peter MacKay, Tony Clement, Bev Oda, Monte Solberg and John Baird, one answer each.

Looking for more?

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