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question period

The NDP have taken a vow of non-heckling - but then there's Charlie Angus.

The Timmins-James Bay MP and Opposition ethics critic is a one-man show in Question Period. There is no adjective, metaphor, cliché or alliteration that he won't utter in the allotted 35 seconds he has to criticize the government. It's quite a feat.

This week, he's been leading the NDP attack on the Auditor-General's report blasting the Tories for their lack of transparency in doling out public money at last summer's G8 and G20 summits.

Mr. Angus's primary target is Treasury Board President Tony Clement, whose Muskoka riding was the venue for the G8. It received about $50-million for various projects, some of it diverted from a border infrastructure fund.

Ironically, Mr. Clement is now the minister in charge of finding ways to $4-billion annually from government spending.

And so it was on Tuesday that Mr. Angus was characterizing the spending as the "Muskoka gravy train" - and accusing Prime Minister Stephen Harper of "putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank" by moving Mr. Clement to Treasury Board.

On Wednesday, he was back at again.

"If we look at how the President of the Treasury Board blew through $50-million on glow sticks and gazebos, it is as if the three amigos - the mayor, the hotel manager and the minister - stuff the largest porcine piñata ever conceived and then whacked all those baubles and booty over the hills of Muskoka," the NDP MP charged.

"When will the minister apologize for this abuse of public trust?"

Mr. Angus was referring to reports that Mr. Clement along with the manager of the Deerhurst Inn, where the summit was held, and the Huntsville mayor personally chose the infrastructure projects.

Frustrating Mr. Angus is the fact that Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, rather than Mr. Clement, has been answering all of the questions. Mr. Baird was the infrastructure minister last year and so signed off on the 32 projects.

Again Wednesday, Mr. Baird repeated that every single dollar was "accounted for" and are "providing good value for taxpayers."

And he marvelled - with much sarcasm - at Mr. Angus's hyperbole, suggesting the NDP are hypocrites when it comes to their assertions that they'll behave in the House. "I listened with great interest when the new Leader of the Opposition said that he was going to come to the House of Commons and raise the level of debate," Mr. Baird said. "I am very disappointed by the comments made by the member opposite."

That just seemed to egg on Mr. Angus, who twice used the expression "dog house" in his follow-up question: "While members of the NDP would certainly like to raise the level of debate, to do that we would have to raise up somebody from the dead," he said, referring to Mr. Clement, who has not been answering questions.

"He seems to be either hiding in the dog house or he was put in the dog house since he got whacked by the Auditor-General."

Then, Mr. Angus raised the spectre of the Liberal sponsorship scandal and the former public servant in charge of the program, Chuck Guité. He was convicted of defrauding the federal government.

"When Chuck Guité played around with public funds for partisan gain, he got sent to jail," Mr. Angus noted. "When the minister from Muskoka played around with public funds for partisan gain, he got the keys to the Treasury Board. What kind of message does this send to Canadians?"

Not much of one, according to Mr. Baird, who regretted and then rejected the New Democrat's "slanderous and character assassination."