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It was a Question Period framed by the Liberal motion of no-confidence in the government that everyone knows the Conservatives will survive, thanks to their reluctant allies, the NDP.

So Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff wondered why this government was so confrontational, so deceptive and so incompetent, while Prime Minister Stephen Harper wondered back why a Liberal devoid of policy was trying to force an election that they alone desired.

York Centre MP Ken Dryden accused the government of funneling infrastructure money to ridings with Tory incumbents, to which Transport Minister John Bard replied that one of the biggest infrastructure projects of all - extending the Spadina subway line - was in Mr. Dryden's own Toronto riding.

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Gilles Duceppe, Leader of the Bloc Quebecois, said if Ontario and British Columbia were getting money to facilitate a Harmonized Sales Tax, Quebec deserved some too. Oh, and by the way, how come Ontario gets money for its auto sector but Quebec gets nothing for forestry or aerospace? These questions were repeated, with minor variations, throughout the hour, with assorted Conservatives saying that, on the sales tax, the federal government was simply abiding by an agreement it signed with Quebec last decade, and had delivered plenty of help for Quebec industries.

NDP Leader Jack Layton asked whether the Conservatives were going to go back on their word to end their deployment in Afghanistan in 2011. No, replied Mr. Harper. That date still stands.

Why was the government keeping witnesses from testifying at the Military Police Complaints Commission, the NDP wanted to know. We aren't, replied the government. Yes you are, the Dippers insisted. No we're not the Tories maintained.

The opposition lamented that the government wasn't offering more for people out of work. The government insisted it was doing plenty.

Liberal MP Hedy Fry lamented that the new Olympic clothing logo looked like an ad for the Conservative Party. ( It does.) We had nothing to do with it, said Gary Lunn, the minister responsible.

There was more, but you really don't want or need to know.

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About the Author
Writer-at-large

John Ibbitson started at The Globe in 1999 and has been Queen's Park columnist and Ottawa political affairs correspondent.Most recently, he was a correspondent and columnist in Washington, where he wrote Open and Shut: Why America has Barack Obama and Canada has Stephen Harper. He returned to Ottawa as bureau chief in 2009. More

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