The first Question Period of the last five-week stretch of the year began with Michael Ignatieff and Bob Rae asking about the Afghan mission extension – What were the details? How long would we be there? How many troops? How much would it cost? Lawrence Cannon wouldn’t give any answers. Pierre Paquette, Claude DeBellefeuille and Jack Layton all asked about the mission extension along the lines of why Harper wasn’t allowing a vote in Parliament on it, despite earlier promises to do so (and only because it allowed him to escape accountability, people!), but again Lawrence Cannon wasn’t really answering but made vague mumblings about it not being a combat mission, and therefore the 2008 vote still stood.
Geoff Regan and Siobhan Coady were up next to hammer away at questions about G8/G20 costs, which Vic Toews and Lawrence Cannon evaded, while Guy André asked about lump-sum payments versus a monthly pension for wounded veterans, Bernard Bigras asked about our climate change position for the upcoming Copenhagen negotiations (allowing John Baird to get up in his new part-time environment portfolio), and Marc Garneau asked about the F-35 fighter cost overruns. But then, surprisingly, Bob Rae got up for round two – asking specific clarifying questions about the Afghan mission extension (which he didn’t get answers to).
There were two questions on US Steel, two about a new pact with China in relation to a national securities regulator, and interestingly, Michael Ignatieff got up for a second round as well, again asking for more details on the Afghan mission extension (and not getting any). Rounding off the day were questions about debit and credit card fees, abused MP mailouts, some kind of a financial hub in Montreal, and tailings ponds in Alberta that allegedly are not sealed as they should be.
After Question Period, Marlene Jennings stood up to apologize for calling Peter MacKay “slime” during a heckle – by repeating it about five times. Oh, dear…
Sartorially speaking, I’d have to say that all those mustaches for Movember were pretty distracting, whether it was Glen Thibeault looking like Super Mario, or Marc Garneau growing what appears to be a real Canadian Forces-special ‘stache. But mustaches aside, I’m going to give snaps to the aforementioned Jennings for her smart green tweedish jacket with the collared white shirt underneath, while I’ll give a style citation to Joy Smith for a rather insipid dusky rose jacket and top. (Really, dusky rose?)
Scott Taylor considers Harper’s decision to give his Afghan update on Remembrance Day – to wrap himself up in the memory of fallen soldiers to soften the blow – to be a new low.
Maclean’s John Geddes looks at all those government watchdogs who don’t bite.
And Human Resources Minister Diane Finley’s inaccessible riding office finally gets the ire of the official media arm of The Party – even though Liberal Mike Savage has been bringing this up in QP for what – the past two years? Oh, wait – that would require actually going to QP to know that.