Parliament by numbers

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This article was published 4/12/2008 (4791 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Parliament by numbers

Number of days the 40th Parliament of Canada sat: 12

Number of days until Parliament resumes: 53

Lights were on at Parliament� but the politicans had already gone home.

SEAN KILPATRICK / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Lights were on at Parliament� but the politicans had already gone home.

Salary earned by members of Parliament between now and Jan. 26: $22,114.90

Salary earned by Prime Minister Stephen Harper between now and Jan. 26: $44,229.80

Salary earned by Official Opposition Leader Stéphane Dion between now and Jan. 26: $32,702.45

 

Comedy of errors

OTTAWA -- Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion's televised address to the nation was the talk of Ottawa on Thursday -- for all the wrong reasons.

Some said the amateur-looking tape that aired Wednesday night looked like video from a camera phone. Others joked it was taped by people holding Dion hostage.

But what's dead serious is that the Liberal leader's message was nearly eclipsed by the medium.

While Dion's face was out of focus, the books in the background were not -- including the book, Hot Air.

But the bungling began long before the tape finally aired. The Liberals were supposed to deliver it by 6:30 p.m. to the National Press Gallery across from Parliament Hill, which would then take it to the CBC building a two-minute walk away. From there, it would be fed to all the TV networks at the same time.

The tape was meant to air one minute after Harper's address ended, at about 7:10 p.m.

Instead, the Liberals showed up more than half an hour late.

 

'Grave' remarks decried

OTTAWA -- The recent political fad in Ottawa of tossing around the names of dead relatives has annoyed Pierre Trudeau's son -- and left Jack Layton's mother sputtering in rage.

The Conservatives have spent days casting the opposition coalition arrangement with the separatist Bloc Québécois as an insult to the legacy of former Liberal prime ministers like Trudeau, Pearson and Laurier.

Former Liberal MP Sarkis Assadourian has said Trudeau, the staunch anti-separatist, would be spinning in his grave over the deal.

Conservative cabinet minister Marjory LeBreton said the same thing Thursday about Robert Layton, the late Tory minister and father of the current NDP leader.

The relatives struck back Thursday.

Justin Trudeau, a rookie Liberal MP from Montreal, said he often hears those kinds of comments from Conservatives and he takes exception to them.

Trudeau said his father worked with the founders of Quebec's independence drive in the hope of tackling common problems.

He referred specifically to the patron saint of the Parti Québécois, with whom the prime minister frequently clashed in a Quebec referendum and constitutional battles.

"(My father) sat down and negotiated many times with René Lévesque on issues," Trudeau told CBC.

"Not always successfully, but there was an openness to respecting other people's points of view if we can work together for common causes.

The NDP leader's mother had an even stronger reaction to a similar comment Thursday.

LeBreton told CTV that Robert Layton was a good guy who would be spinning in his grave, watching what his son is doing.

The comment angered Doris Layton enough that she agreed to discuss the issue in an interview: "My husband and I never disagreed on political opinions and I know that he would be 100 per cent behind Jack right now -- definitely not turning in his grave."

 

Fletcher: end subsidies

Manitoba MP Stephen Fletcher said opposition parties will find out in the next election just how Canadians stand on the issue of public funding for political parties.

Fletcher said he doesn't regret his government's pledge to cancel the $1.95 per vote in public funding political parties get, even though it was the trigger that pushed Canada into a parliamentary crisis.

And Fletcher said the issue is not going away: "I think we're obviously going to campaign on that next time."

He said Canadians are appalled to think any federal tax dollars go to fund a separatist party, and said Canada is the only country in the world that would let that happen.