He said the opposition started slowing down the government's agenda when it insisted on calling witnesses to review the selection of NHL forward Shane Doan to the national Canadian hockey team, in light of old allegations about anti-Francophone comments made during a game.
The government has its own positions to defend," Mr. Harper said in Waterloo.
"But as you know, we recently had the goofiness with the Shane Doan incident and I think our members at that point said: This was an embarrassment to Canada, attacking the national hockey team,"
Harper, then admits that his government is no longer "new" but "spent":
"in the future we're going to be much clearer about what we want to discuss."
Translation, we are currently an empty vessel, in dire need of direction and a purpose.
Harper is usually pretty adept at the counter-punch, but blaming the chaos in parliament on the debate over Doan is plain weak. Ditto for Van Loan today in the House, floundering to find a coherent counter for the opposition attacks.
If parliament has descended into a sideshow, which was detailed on CBC's The National tonight, then the responsibility rests with the government. The way in which the government has reacted, its inability to play well with others, the threats, the bombastic talking points, have all created an atmosphere that has led to the deterioration. Moreover, the complete lack of an agenda has contributed to the sense that parliament is adrift. The government sets the tone, time for Mr. Accountability to take some responsibility.
Not that it's relevant, but some clarification on the Doan matter. Harper's weak argument aside, he has a bad memory:
"Harper airbrushes out Tory role in Doan affair"
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is rewriting the parliamentary inquisition of Team Canada captain Shane Doan to rub out Conservative participation.
There's only one problem with Mr. Harper's analysis — the Conservatives participated in the Doan “goofiness.”
All 12 MPs — including five Conservatives — on the official languages committee agreed earlier this month to summon Hockey Canada officials to explain Mr. Doan's captaincy at the world hockey championships in light of disputed racist comments attributed to him in 2005.
And the decision was defended at the time by Mr. Harper's former sports minister.
“It's not in the business of government to involve itself in professional hockey matters, but what we're talking about is amateur hockey,” Conservative MP Michael Chong said on May 1.
“We're talking about Team Canada. We're talking about an organization that receives millions of dollars a year in government money, in public funds.
“They are accountable, in part, to the government of Canada.”