MPs back in House of Commons to tackle pension, federal budget issues

A winter parliamentary session that many have predicted will be a donnybrook began Monday with the gloves still on, and the only jersey askew being an old powder blue sweater vest.

OTTAWA — A winter parliamentary session that many have predicted will be a donnybrook began Monday with the gloves still on, and the only jersey askew being an old powder blue sweater vest.

The benign, Ward Cleaver image Prime Minister Stephen Harper cultivated in a previous election campaign is gone, warned Peter Julian, the NDP finance critic.

“Very, very clearly, this government has taken off the sweater vests,” Julian said.

“They’ve taken off any pretence of moderation and a responsible approach to public policy.”

The Conservative government, which spent last fall clearing a number of long-standing legislative promises, wades into 2012 giving clear signals of a more far-reaching agenda.

Harper’s mini throne speech, delivered to a business audience in Davos, Switzerland, last week, set the stage for a bruising winter.

With deep spending cuts, pension reform, a new copyright act, changes to environmental assessment reviews, an end to the long-gun registry and tough criminal justice reforms all on deck, the opposition will have plenty to chirp about.

Nycole Turmel, the NDP’s interim leader, took a rhetorical suicide run at Harper’s majority last week, vowing to make the looming spring budget the “fight of my life.”

Asked about a fight that — numerically in the House of Commons, at least — the NDP simply can’t win, Julian said it’s a battle for public opinion.

“For the Conservatives to say ’we just don’t care about public opinion’ for the next few years, I think would be a primary mistake. I don’t think they’re that stupid,” he said.

But as hard as New Democrats and Liberals are working to pull the sweater over Tory heads and lay on a beating, the anticipated brawl has yet to materialize.

Just Posted

Decision next month in drunk driving causing death trial

Bobbi Crotty trial on four impaired charges wrapped on Tuesday

RCMP on scene of collision near Rimbey

Hwy 53 down to one lane at collision scene

Is the fate of Red Deer’s Parsons House solely in the hands of the province?

Demolition of old police station next door to begin this fall

Fundraiser to help keep kids warm in Blackfalds

Community Warmth Fall Fundraiser

Piper Creek Foundation gets a new name

Red Deer subsidized housing program for seniors

WATCH: Red Deer students take part in annual run

Dawe/St. Pat’s Run reaches 40th anniversary

Uber driver suing Bucs’ QB Winston over groping incident

PHOENIX — A female Uber driver in Arizona is suing Tampa Bay… Continue reading

Thousands of fans request grand jury probe of Prince’s death

MINNEAPOLIS — Thousands of Prince fans are asking federal authorities to open… Continue reading

Man pleads guilty to ‘Field of Dreams’ site vandalism

DUBUQUE, Iowa — A man accused of driving onto and damaging the… Continue reading

Rafael Nadal to skip tournaments in Asia because of bad knee

MADRID — Rafael Nadal says he will not play in upcoming tournaments… Continue reading

Canadian crabs with bad attitude threaten coastal Maine ecosystem

BIDDEFORD, Maine — Canadians are known as friendly folks, but these crabby… Continue reading

UK lawmakers: ‘Wild West’ cryptocurrencies need regulation

LONDON — British lawmakers have backed calls for greater regulation of cryptocurrencies… Continue reading

Proposed class action lawsuit on trailing commissions filed against CIBC

TORONTO — A class action lawsuit regarding trailing commissions paid to discount… Continue reading

Saskatchewan family reunited with dog that bolted during July 2017 farm visit

MOOSE JAW, Sask. — A family in Moose Jaw, Sask., is overjoyed… Continue reading

Most Read