Weekend Notes (Vol. 1, No. 17)

In response to this week’s open challenge, a reader raises an interesting point about the in-and-out controversy: if all the component parts are legal on their own, how can the scheme in its entirely be illegal? 

In response to this week’s open challenge, a reader raises an interesting point about the in-and-out controversy: if all the component parts are legal on their own, how can the scheme in its entirely be illegal? 

Interesting point. Indeed, that’s essentially what the Conservative party argues in the Donald Affidavit.

Is it a sound argument? Well, if the ADA from Law & Order were here, he’d probably point out that it’s entirely legal to own a gun. And it’s entirely legal to fire a gun. And society has deemed it lawful, or at least acceptable, in various situations to fire a gun and propel a bullet in order do another person great physical harm. And yet, it’s not legal to murder someone.

Likewise, it’s legal to consume alcohol to the point of intoxication. And it’s legal to operate a motor vehicle. But it’s not legal to drive while drunk.

Context is rather important that way.

—One of the other arguments, of course, is that the law in question is silly and dumb anyway. Fair enough. But I’m not sure anyone would agree that the best way to register a philosophical objection to a law is to violate said law. This seems an invitation to general unruliness, if not anarchy.

—On a lighter note, excerpts from Thursday’s episode of the David McGuinty Def Comedy Jam. While the government took a question on aid for Burma: “Why don’t you get the Hell’s Angels to pay?” Later, on the same subject: “Send in Julie.”

—After Thursday’s QP, Conservative Rod Bruinooge rose on a point of order to defend the honour of Pierre Poilievre. To wit. “Mr. Speaker, yesterday the member for Don Valley East made a hurtful, discriminatory and unparliamentary remark. The member’s remarks maliciously stereotyped young people. Allow me to quote Hansard, in which it says, ‘He is young so he will do what is asked of him without too much questioning.’ If a member made the same remark about other people or replaced the word “young” with “aboriginal, female or disabled”, we would rightly have been furious and demanded that member’s resignation. It is not different when one targets the age of a member. The member then used the term ‘junior’ to describe Canada’s youngest parliamentarian. If a similar disparaging remark had been made about a senior, we would have equally have been appalled. The Canadian charter forbids discrimination on the basis on age. We say to our young people that they can risk their lives defending our democracy abroad and then the member suggests that they should not be allowed to participate here at home.

“How can we encourage young Canadians to get involved in the democratic process when certain members insult them for doing so? As a young Canadian, my parliamentary privilege has been affronted. I ask the member for Don Valley East to do the honourable thing and apologize to young Canadians for her hurtful remarks and withdraw her comments.”

—Interesting note from Susan Delacourt. “A Conservative told me this week that Harper likes to supply attack lines to cabinet ministers and has been known to chide them after Question Period if they miss an obvious opening to slam a Liberal.”

—A Bloc member, whose name escapes, zinging Lawrence Cannon this week. “It’s funny the Transport Minister can rise to defend the monarchy, but he can’t rise to defend his own election spending.”

—Bill Blaikie, presiding over Friday’s QP, puts an end to Pierre Poilievre’s in-and-out song-and-dance. At least for today. “Any more chanting like that, some people will find themselves just out.”

—Bob Rae led QP for the Liberals on Friday. Here’s his second question, which he promised to follow-up on when the Prime Minister returns to the House next week. “I would like to ask the minister another question on another subject, and that has to do with the comments that were made yesterday by the Prime Minister on the radio in Toronto. The Prime Minister is quoted as saying that:  ‘…anti-Israel sentiment, really [can be] just … a thinly disguised veil for good old fashioned anti-Semitism.’ He then went on to say that: ‘I am disturbed that there are some elements in our political system, there are even some members of Parliament … some that were willing to cater to that kind of opinion…’ Perhaps he will understand the sensitivity that all of us feel as members of Parliament. Perhaps the minister could tell us who exactly are the anti-Semites that the Prime Minister is talking about?”

—When the Prime Minister called reporters to the Hill on Thursday it was, supposedly, so he could comment as he descended the stairs from his second floor office. He took no questions, apparently because he was in a hurry to get into the House. But, er, why? What was he going into the Commons for? He spoke to reporters at 1pm, but was not in the House at 2pm when Question Period began and, according to Hansard, made no comment in the intervening hour.

—Behind the scenes as Mark Holland prepares for Question Period. The psychedelic effects on Peter Van Loan are a nice touch.

—Finally, a note of thanks to readers. Since comments were opened on this blog, the discussion has been almost entirely respectful and often enlightening. Even noticed a couple of well-played in-and-out puns. I’m told we’re only deleting comments that stray too close to defamation and so far those have been few and far between.  So a sincere thank you to all. Hopefully the discussion maintains this early level of sanity.