On March, 9, 2011 the Speaker of the House of Commons Peter Milliken issued a report declaring two possible charges of contempt of Parliament. The first was against the Minister responsible for the Canadian International Aid Agency (CIDA) Bev Oda. It’s alleged that Oda added the word “not” to a funding memo for an aid agency, resulting in the request being ignored and lied about in testimony before a committee. Milliken also ruled that Cabinet itself could also be in contempt of Parliament for not disclosing the cost of its crime policies, and the cost of new F-35 fighter jets. He sent this report to a committee, who on March 21, 2011 ruled that the Harper government was in contempt of Parliament. On March 25, 2011 the finding of contempt led to a motion of non-confidence introduced by Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff. The NDP and BQ supported them, which resulted in the adjornment of the 40th Parliament of Canada, and made Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government the first to fall on a charge of contempt of Parliament.
Fast forward to the 2011 election campaign. From the Vancouver Sun:
Leader Michael Ignatieff pledged Thursday that a Liberal government's first budget would include a $500-million investment in a cost-shared "early childhood learning and care fund," in partnership with the provinces. ... The annual federal spending would rise to $1 billion by the fourth year of the plan, said Ignatieff, who stopped to draw a picture with a little girl named Mercedes during his visit. "One in five Canadians have access to what Mercedes' got. That's not right," Ignatieff added. "This is going to be a very flexible program, it is a program that we can get started fast and early — as soon as you elect a Liberal government."
When asked to provide the costs to the provinces, Ignatieff couldn't give an answer. After all the showmanship surrounding the contempt hearings, don't you think he should have that information? The argument that he has given for pursuing this election is that the Conservatives couldn't be trusted. He has accused Conservative MP's of lying because they couldn't provide parlaiment with the costs to the provinces for the crime and justice bills, and now he's kicking off his campaign doing the same thing. He's forced a $300,000,000.00 election on us, doesn't he owe it to those of us who will be getting the bill to give us the details? If you judge him by his own standards, then according to the coalition members that dominated the contempt of parlaiment committee meetings, he's either going to be a poor Prime Minister or a bad liar.
Which brings us to the subject of the title. MP Stephen Harper made a commitment to Newfoundland & Labradorians that the federal government would provide loan guarantees for the Churchill Falls project. This would provide millions in economic benefits and taxes to the province to manage its finances, whether it's health care or daycare. Michael is promising money also, which statistically would be less than 2% of the $500,000,000.00 available. That's less than a million dollars. If you're a mother with young children trying to find suitable daycare in Newfoundland & Labrador, you have a good reason to fire up that old bulldozer. You're going to need one, to plough through all the empty, uncosted Liberal promises that are piling up.