1. Easy target. After withstanding the slings and arrows of the opposition over their decision to prorogue Parliament, Stephen Harper's Conservatives are turning the tables on Michael Ignatieff's Liberals.
"After Eight Days, Ignatieff Prorogues Himself…," is the headline of an internal memo sent by Tory party officials in which they note the Liberal Leader was a no-show in the House of Commons Monday.
"Ignatieff is nowhere to be found," says the cheeky memo, which is sent to Conservative officials, MPs and supporters.
Bolstering their case is that Mr. Ignatieff missed his caucus's opposition day - a designated day on which the Liberals are allowed to debate a subject of their own choice.
Yesterday, they opted to tackle the wastefulness of taxpayer-funded mailings, called ten per centers. They argued these mass-mailing flyers are overly partisan and wasteful; they want them cut.
"Well, well, well," the Tory memo says. "Look who's not bothering to show up in Parliament for work today after only eight days of parliamentary sittings. That's right - it's Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff."
Parliament returned only last Wednesday after being prorogued for six weeks. This week was a scheduled break week for parliamentarians but the government cancelled the holiday, wanting to work through it after the criticism it took for the forced shut-down.
"After complaining for weeks about the recent routine prorogation of Parliament and insisting that Members of Parliament could only be 'working' if they were in Ottawa, Ignatieff is nowhere to be found."
Mr. Ignatieff was in St. John's yesterday as part of a cross-country tour in advance of his Montreal policy conference next week. The Liberal Leader is in Regina today and tomorrow.
"Canadians shouldn't be surprised that Ignatieff isn't bothering to show up for work this week in Ottawa," the missive says. "This is the same Liberal leader who last week couldn't be bothered to move a routine Parliamentary amendment to the Budget. Even Stéphane Dion took the opportunity to do so when he was the Liberal leader.
"Michael Ignatieff isn't in it for Canadians. He's just in it for himself."
A senior Ignatieff official, however, had this to say about the Tory attack: "If I'd be them, I would stay away from anything with the word 'prorogation' in it!"
The Tories dropped 10 points in popularity in the national opinion polls after making their decision late last December to shut down the House. "Stephen Harper was in his office. Where is his "recalibrated" agenda again? Michael Ignatieff was not in the House, nor in Ottawa. He was in Newfoundland, encouraging young Newfoundlanders to get involved in politics."
2. Head shots. An NDP MP is demanding a royal commission on violence in sports as a result of the growing outcry around hockey injuries from vicious hits to the head.
"Head hits are increasing and it is trickling down from the NHL into our local hockey leagues," said Glenn Thibeault, the party's sports critic and MP for Sudbury. He made his demands last Friday in the Commons.
"When will the government show leadership and strike a royal commission on violence in sports so that we can find further ways to protect our young players and our games?"
His demand comes amid reports today in The Globe and Mail that a group of general managers is pushing the NHL to adopt a new rule for hits to the head before the end of this season.
Mr. Thibeault's request was prompted by a story in the The Ottawa Citizen in which the mother of Boston Bruin Marc Savard was interviewed, saying she thought her son was dead after he suffered a hit from Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cooke.
Mr. Cooke was not suspended for the shoulder hit to Mr. Savard's head. The fact he was not punished for his behaviour resulted in much controversy.
In an interview on CTV's Power Play, Mr. Thibeault said hockey moms are coming into his constituency office saying that they are pulling their kids out of hockey because of the "fear of violence."
Mr. Thibeault says a royal commission would be an opportunity to "see how violence is creeping" into hockey and other sports.
His idea so far has been ignored by the government.