Opposition efforts to have Prime Minister Stephen Harper declared in contempt of Parliament were dismissed as “posturing” by Crowfoot MP Kevin Sorenson on Thursday.
“There’s all kinds of posturing, there’s all kinds of politics being played, probably more on the opening day,” said Sorenson from Ottawa.
“You know, one leader is promoting legalization of marijuana, another leader wasn’t seen throughout the summer,” said Sorenson, referring to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair. “So they’re coming back talking about some issue with the prime minister.
“We’re talking about the economy. We’re talking about jobs. I think that’s what Canadians want us to focus on,” said Sorenson, who was appointed junior finance minister in July.
NDP ethics critic Charlie Angus drew the support of other opposition parties on Thursday for his bid to have a Commons committee determine whether Harper deliberately misled the Commons over the Senate expenses scandal or was deceived by his own staff.
Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer was asked to make a preliminary finding that Harper was in contempt of Parliament last spring when he repeatedly insisted no one in his office knew his chief of staff had bailed out Senator Mike Duffy to the tune of $90,000 — an assurance since contradicted by the RCMP.
Angus wants the issue referred to the procedure and House affairs committee.
Senate reform was mentioned in the Throne Speech and Sorenson believes the time has come to talk about that in more detail.
Sorenson believes there still could be a role for the Senate, while getting rid of situations where senators are appointed to 35-year terms.
The Senate was a hot issue on Thursday because Claude Carignan, the government’s leader in the Senate, introduced motions to suspend Duffy, Pamela Wallin and Patrick Brazeau, three of four senators at the heart of an expenses scandal.
Meanwhile, government whip John Duncan announced in the House of Commons that Conservative MPs and senators will begin voluntarily disclosing greater details of their expenses.
“I have no problem with disclosure and having Canadians know where my money was being spent,” said Sorenson, adding that most of that information is already on government websites.
Sorenson said there is much in the government’s Wednesday Throne Speech that addresses issues important to Albertans, such as protecting jobs, keeping taxes low and building the economy.
“We are in a very fragile economy right now and we’re going to continue to do those things that promote growth in our economy.
“We’ve also made it clear we are going to keep taxes low,” he added.