The government kicked off the morning by delivering the news of just what this new “training mission” in Afghanistan was going to mean – 950 troops for another three years, and so on. And wouldn’t you just know it, that was the lead question for all parties during Question Period.
Michael Ignatieff’s first two questions, clarifying just what the details are, were practically softballs, but his final one was about the political improvisation going on in the government – not that Harper answered that. Kirsty Duncan was up second, asking about the mental health needs of returning soldiers, and why we have no database to track these kinds of things. For the Bloc, Pierre Paquette and Claude DeBellefeuille, followed by Jack Layton, asked more questions about the Afghan mission.
For round two, Dominic LeBlanc asked MacKay about the rumours regarding his career options. The Speaker cautioned that it may not be in order, but MacKay answered it anyway with some laughs. Marc Garneau asked about F-35 fighter costs, Bernard Bigras asked about the upcoming Cancun summit, Christiane Gagnon about contaminated land at Shannon, followed by Mike Savage and Raymonde Folco about increased food bank usage in an era of extravagant G20 spending. (The NDP’s Tony Martin and Carol Hughes would later follow up on this same issue.)
From there we had questions about Jim Prentice’s departure, whistleblowers, contracts administered by Michael Fortier, money for victims of crime not being spent, allegedly misleading statements by the political minister for Quebec, the G20 arrests and roads linking certain First Nations communities in Manitoba.
Sartorially speaking, special mention goes out to Shelly Glover for the red Métis sash she wore across her shoulder, while Ralph Goodale also had a Métis symbol pinned to his jacket. Both were in commemoration of the fact that yesterday was the 125th anniversary of Louis Riel’s execution. Snaps go out to Alexandra Mendes for her chocolate-brown soft leather jacket and skirt, with a toffee-coloured top. Style citations go out to Lynne Yelich for a terrible beige jacket and top, as well as Chris Charlton for the fluorescent yellow jacket (bad enough) paired with a black top. Yellow and black! Gah! The Megan Leslie outfit watch reports a black suit with a mustard top and cranberry shoes. Again with the yellow and black! No more yellow and black!
The Conservatives are trying to use something Michael Ignatieff said in Winnipeg over the weekend to make him sound racist. The Winnipeg Free Press journalist who asked those questions laments the way her work is being distorted.
Vic Toews has paved the way for Americans to access Canadian passenger data, even if the planes don’t touch American soil.
Michael Fortier says he had no idea about the renovation problems with the West Block when he was public works minister.
A group of Canadian actors were on the Hill to express support for amending the current copyright bill and to support the so-called iPod tax about a levy on MP3 players and other hard drives to provide compensation to artists who’ve had their works pirated.
The Status of Women Committee heard from women’s groups concerned about the loss of the long-form census, especially the questions on housework that the Conservatives loved to decry so much, which were invaluable to these organizations.
Hedy Fry lays out some “ground rules” for where she feels the debate on public healthcare should go. Maclean’s, meanwhile, examines just what those OECD indicators about our healthcare system really mean: that we’re actually doing above average on most indicators.
Apparently there was another small environmental protest on the Hill yesterday morning, this time in the Rotunda.