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Birthday zingers to celebrate Conservative majority

Happy birthday, Harper majority government. Orange juice all round! Nothing to do with Bev Oda, of course, but a grateful nod to the NDP's orange surge that swept away enough Liberal votes to wash the boys and girls in blue into their current, sheltered status, where never is heard a discouraging word about prorogation or stimulus spending or other irritants from those dark days of minority.

And what a year it's been. Let's review some of the hits.

* Prime Minster Stephen Harper: "The leader of the NDP, in 1939, did not even want to support war against Hitler."

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* Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird: "Let us look at what the former leader of the NDP-CCF said: 'I would ask whether we are to risk the lives of our Canadian sons to prevent the actions of Hitler.' " (Mr. Baird was referring to CCF leader J. S. Woodsworth, whose Christian faith made him a life-long pacifist. The CCF caucus supported the war.)

* Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver: "These [environmental and other radical groups]threaten to hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological agenda."

* Environment Minister Peter Kent, explaining why Opposition MPs were not included this time in Canada's delegation to the UN climate change conference: "We were in a minority government situation last year."

* Public Safety Minister Vic Toews: "[Liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia]can either stand with us or with the child pornographers."

* Industry Minister Christian Paradis, on refusing to resign his post after scathing criticism from the federal Ethics Commissioner: "These reports are educational tools to help us understand how conflict of interest works."

* Treasury Board President Tony Clement: "The auditor general said she was concerned about the lack of documentation [regarding $50-million for pre-G8 projects in his riding] I take that to heart. The paperwork was not perfect."

* International Orange Juice Futures Minister Bev Oda, after the media uncovered her stay at an ultra-posh hotel: "The expenses are unacceptable [and]should never have been charged to taxpayers. I have repaid the costs associated with the changing of hotels, and I unreservedly apologize."

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Oh, what a lovely majority.


Quiz time. Who said this, and when, in the hallowed chambers of the B.C. legislature? Prize: A paid-for transit ticket signed by Adrian Dix.

"One of the bargaining points in the approval of [a pipeline from Kitimat]by the government is that we will trade off the environment of the north coast of British Columbia....

"None of that crude oil is destined for refineries in British Columbia; none of it is to the advantage of British Columbians.... The Kitimat pipeline is extremely dangerous to the environment of the north and central coast....

"When the pipeline begins operation, [tankers]will be brought through one of the most hazardous areas for navigation....An oil spill could completely wipe out [marine]resources for periods up to a decade."

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Answer at the end of this highly-esteemed Notebook. Delayed gratification at its best.


Chilliwack RCMP recently seized four stolen framed paintings. In words that would do justice to any art critic, Cpl. Tammy Hollingsworth described one of the purloined paintings as "a framed cross-stitch print with the alphabet, a cat, birds, trees, flowers, and a little house, that has '1990 C. McHardy' stitched into it."

Being stolen puts it in the same category as one of the four versions of Edvard Munch's famous painting, The Scream, another of which just sold for a ludicrous $120-million. Personally, I'd steal the McHardy.


MLAs say the darndest things.

Hon. P. Bell: "Today [May 3]is perhaps one of the most important days on the calendar, because today is World Press Freedom Day. So, on this absolutely critical day, I would encourage all of our press gallery to feel absolutely free to write something nice about all of us."

Mr. Bell's weighty pronouncement was followed by an even weightier pronouncement.

J. Horgan: "I invite members to acknowledge the passing of Jim Marker, the creator of Cheezies – the Hawkins Cheezies, which is an iconic Canadian snack food.

"Mr. Marker passed away at age 90 in Belleville, Ont. I think we should all rip open a pack of Hawkins later on today in honour of Mr. Marker's passing."

Premier Christy Clark, she of the declaration celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Oreo cookie, did not respond.


And the answer to our lame version of Quinn's quiz is none other than the pride of Port Alberni, Bob Skelly. The New Democrat was speaking 35 long years ago in 1977, the year Elvis popped his last pill.

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