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Parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page waits to testify before the House Commons finance committee on Tuesday, November 3, 2009.


They say you should return incivility with civility.

But Conservative MP Ted Menzies - normally known for his gentlemanly conduct - wasn't following any golden rule today when he went after Liberal MP John McCallum for complaining that a Parliamentary committee meeting was being held outside the purview of live television cameras.

Mr. McCallum started things off by grousing that the governing Tories had moved a meeting with budget watchdog Kevin Page to a Parliamentary room that's not outfitted with video cameras able to broadcast live proceedings to TV outlets.

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Mr. McCallum complained that the government had "shunted us over here where there's no bright lights of television."

Mr. Page, of course, is the Parliamentary Budget Officer whose reports - on deficits and the cost of the Afghanistan war - have made him a thorn in the Harper government's side.

Mr. Menzies wasn't having any of Mr. McCallum's theatrics though -- and instead levelled a personal shot at the Liberal MP's appearance, saying he shouldn't complain about the lack of TV cameras because they might show the "bags under your eyes."

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UPDATE Mr. McCallum says that while he felt Mr. Menzies's remark about his eyes was "somewhat off-colour" he is not upset over it.

"It may have been somewhat off-colour but I am definitely not offended by it," the Liberal MP said.

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About the Author
Parliamentary reporter

Steven Chase has covered federal politics in Ottawa for The Globe since mid-2001, arriving there a few months before 9/11. He previously worked in the paper's Vancouver and Calgary bureaus. Prior to that, he reported on Alberta politics for the Calgary Herald and the Calgary Sun, and on national issues for Alberta Report. More

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