These days, it is not always clear that the official opposition has the fire in the belly to acquit itself of some of its most basic parliamentary duties. On Monday, the first day back in Parliament after a six-week break, more than 30 Liberal MPs were missing in action for question period.
--Chantal Hébert, Toronto Star, today
Mike Duffy also noted the thin Liberal ranks to Liberal whip Karen Redman on his program Monday. The clip is titled "Party whips discuss the stance on Afghanistan" and Duffy refers to the absent Liberals at about 4:20. Redman defends the absentees at about 8:00.
As some politician once said: "You can fake that you care, but you can't fake being there."
Perhaps Monday's embarassing attendance is why Liberal MPs were wearing red scarves in the House today (after this morning's caucus): a public gesture of solidarity.
But maybe it's Dion who needs the warm garments. If I were a leader possibly facing an election in a matter of weeks, and 30 of my MPs couldn't be bothered to show up to support me during the first question period after the winter break, I'd be feeling pretty chilled.
Update: According to commenter Jason, the red scarves had to do with a charitable initiative, and not Dion's caucus support. My apologies.
Mrs. Lynne Yelich (Blackstrap, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, tomorrow, January 31, is National Red Scarf Day. Twelve year old Miss Hannah Taylor initiated this campaign. As a young child, she witnessed a person homeless and hungry and was moved to take action to combat homelessness in Canada.
The Minister of Human Resources and Social Development and I met with this charming young lady this morning to express our government's support for her great work.
We recognize that a safe and stable home is an important first step on the path out of poverty. Our new homelessness partnering strategy works with other levels of government, the private sector and community organizations like Hannah's Ladybug Foundation to implement solutions that address local problems. Together, our work is delivering results.
We recognize National Red Scarf Day. On behalf of the government, I am pleased to acknowledge the valuable work of Hannah Taylor, the Ladybug Foundation and the Canadians who support this worthy cause. We thank Hannah.