It's time for a different kind of Question Period

Monday, May 30, 2005


Written by Scott Piatkowski

Since, mercifully, Parliament isn’t sitting this week, I thought I should take the opportunity to pose a few questions to our politicians (current and former). Let’s get started.

A question for Conservative Party Leader Stephen Harper:
When did you develop your outrage about party members crossing the floor to join another party? Was it before or after Hamilton-area MP John Bryden left the Liberal benches to join your party (only to lose the party nomination)? Or, to take a more current example, was it before or after you openly tried to entice David Kilgour and Pat O’Brien to join the Conservative Caucus?

Supplemental question to Conservative Party Leader Stephen Harper:
Does your strong commitment to party loyalty date back to when you decided to run against the Progressive Conservative Member of Parliament for whom you used to work?

A question for Deputy Conservative Leader Peter McKay:
Did you forget to put “the agreement” in writing? Or, based on your experience betraying your written agreement with David Orchard, did you see that as a pointless exercise?

A question for former Mulroney Cabinet Minister John Crosbie:
When did you decide that people changing parties was contributing to “the democratic deficit” in Canada? Can we assume that it was sometime after you left the Liberal Party (where your own provincial leadership aspirations had been thwarted) to become a Conservative?

A question for Prime Minister Paul Martin:
When did you decide to call on all parties to restore the dignity of the House of Commons and political discourse in general? Was it before or after one of your ministers compared Conservative MPs to the Ku Klux Klan? Was it before or after another of your ministers referred to a Conservative MPs low placement on “the gene pool”?

Supplemental to Prime Minister Martin:
When even the Press Gallery openly laughs at your media conferences (as they did last week when you claimed that the appointment of Belinda Stronach to Cabinet had “nothing to do with” the pending non-confidence vote), is it possible that you have a credibility problem much larger than you had imagined?

Further supplemental to Prime Minister Martin:
When you said it was important to wait until the Gomery Commission reported before calling an election, did you forget that you had already called one election before the Commission had even began its hearings?

A question for Deputy Prime Minister Anne McLellan:
Where was your outrage about sexist language when the aforementioned Pat O’Brien referred to Sarmite Bulte, your own party’s Ontario Caucus Chair, as “a blonde bimbo”?

A question to former Prime Minister Jean Chretien:
Why are you laughing so hard?

A question for Human Resources Minister Belinda Stronach:
Now that you are Minister Responsible for Democratic Renewal, will you introduce a bill requiring Members of Parliament to resign their seats and run in a by-election if they wish to change party affiliation?

Supplemental to Belinda Stronach:
When you were expressing your concern about your former party’s alliance with the Bloc Quebecois, did it ever occur to you that you’d be sitting in Cabinet with Jean Lapierre, cofounder of the Bloc?

Further supplemental to Belinda Stronach:
When you were facilitating the merger between the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party (and subsequently running for the leadership of the merged party), why was it so important to have “an alternative to the Liberals”? Why is so important that those same Liberals stay in power?

A question for Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe:
When you said that the NDP amendments to the budget were “bad for Quebec”, where you referring to the elimination of corporate tax cuts (which you opposed) or to the spending on housing, foreign aid and education (which you favour)?

A question for NDP Leader Jack Layton:
Who do you think you are, demanding and then winning major changes to the federal budget? Don’t you realize that your party has only 19 seats?

A question for the entire Liberal backbench:
Did you really think that unswerving loyalty to Paul Martin over the past decade-and-a-half was going to get you into cabinet? Does the phrase “take a number” mean anything to you?

A question for the entire NDP bench:
Where can we find more MPs like you?

A question for the entire Conservative bench:
How much longer do you think you’ll be able keep biting your tongues?

A question for the entire House of Commons:
Now that the non-confidence vote has been decided, have you thought about behaving like adults and actually trying to get something done?

So, in the end, we’re left with a series of mostly snarky questions and absolutely no answers. Kind of like the real Question Period, eh?


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