IN THE NEWS ~ Harper heckles Burnaby-New Westminster MP in House of Commons


Getting heckled by the Prime Minister was worth tweeting about for Burnaby-New Westminster MP Peter Julian.

On Thursday, he let the twitter-verse know Prime Minister Stephen Harper had heckled him in the House of Commons as the NDP finance critic spoke during question period.

"It doesn't happen very often," said Julian from Ottawa on Thursday, which began with him meeting with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to outline his party's budgetary priorities. "It was one of those days where anything can happen."

The heckles come on the heels of parliamentary secretary for finance Shelly Glover calling him anti-Canadian earlier this week for questioning the government's spending plans.

"I've always found when the other party resorts to insults they're not winning the debate," said Julian.

Julian questioned why the government wants to spend tens of billions of dollars on fighter jets at the same time as wanting to cut pensions. "The fighter jets have tripled in costs, and the latest news is the costs will be even higher. What was originally an expenditure of a few billion dollars is now more than $30 billion."

He also pointed out even though crime rates are going down the Conservatives want to build shiny prisons, and that many Canadians are losing their jobs while the Tories are proposing corporate tax cuts.

"That's not putting the resources of the country where the priorities are," said Julian.

Harper's heckling was in response to Julian noting the International Monetary Fund ranked Canada 152nd for economic growth in 2012.

"That's a point that undermines the government's credibility on the economy. I bring these points to debate and the government doesn't have a credible response," said Julian. "It doesn't bother me, but it shows they don't have a response to their poor economic performance."

Julian said he's enjoying his role as finance critic taking him back to his days as an administrator for the Western Institute for Deaf and Hard of Hearing, which he said won two business excellence awards, before entering the political fray.

"I've worked with numbers all of my life," said Julian "For me, it's second nature so I was very happy and honoured. I'm enjoying it immensely."

Julian also said before asking Canadians to tighten their belts, Harper should show leadership by reducing the size of the "ballooning Prime Minister's Office." He said no other government sector has received as much money as the PM's communications department in the last few years, and he also suggested ministerial air travel could be cut down.