An hour before Question Period was due to begin, Green Party leader Elizabeth May held a press conference to decry the behaviour in the Commons, despite John Baird and company promising that decorum would be improved. And while I had thought the heckling wasn’t too bad lately in comparison, the Chamber yesterday was probably the most raucous it had been all week – even though we didn’t see some of the more egregious sexist and patronizing comments of certain Conservative cabinet ministers that we did the day previous.
Michael Ignatieff kicked off Question Period by asking the government to explain its big-spending ways (to which John Baird gave a platitude about jobs and supporting the troops), and moved onto Jim Flaherty’s partisan rant on Tuesday. From there, Geoff Regan brought up all the sound, documented reasons why the lack of a competition process for the F-35 fighters was a bad thing, but logic and fact were impervious to Peter MacKay’s truthiness.
Gilles Duceppe wondered why Harper, who used to be all over the moral imperative of the will of Parliament, didn’t want to respect it with the long-gun registry, and Jack Layton worried about unemployment and seniors' pensions.
Questions on flexibility for stimulus deadlines and the long-form census were met with the usual talking points. (Does anyone remember when Chuck Strahl gave more substantive answers in his previous portfolio?) Strahl’s successor assured the House that Canada would soon sign on to the UN Declaration on Aboriginal Rights when faced with a question about Harper’s credibility on the world stage, when he couldn’t even eliminate poverty in his own country.
From there were questions on meat inspectors, water quality in the Athabasca River (and there’s a good article in the current issue of The Walrus about that river system), First Nations’ education (while a protest was going on about the issue on the steps outside of the Centre Block), the newly released data on Afghan prisoner transfers, yet another question on whether the newly announced veterans’ payments would be retroactive to 2006 (which again went unanswered, other than to say a bill would soon be tabled), farm support, an analysis of the potential Potash deal and customs charges at a Quebec airport.
Sartorially speaking, it was actually a pretty good day all around, but snaps go out to Kirsty Duncan for her fabulous tailored white jacket with the black and blue square patterns. Also, Cathy McLeod made four for four good days with a crisp white shirt and a well-cut purple jacket. By golly, I think she’s got it. I couldn’t even really find anyone really overly deserving of a style citation, except maybe for one of the usual suspects: Tilly O’Neill-Gordon’s poorly shaped black dress with the green floral outlines. The Megan Leslie outfit watch reports a grey suit with a bright yellow top and greige heels.
During Members’ Statements, Mario Silva spoke about the hundredth anniversary of a school in his riding.
Mr. Speaker, Davenport is known for its rich history and deep community roots. That is why my community is honoured to celebrate the 100th anniversary of St. Clare's School.In 1908, a resident of the then mostly rural community wrote to Archbishop McEvay informing him of the numerous Catholics who had settled in the area and that they were in need of a school and a church.Within two short years, land had been purchased and a school built.Several years ago, I met with children from that school when they were collecting hundreds of teddy bears for children in Beslan, Russia, following a terrorist attack.This event, like many others in the past, shows the compassion, the care and the incredible empathy of the St. Clare's School community.I would ask all of the members to join me in wishing the students, staff and members of the community the very best as they celebrate the 100th anniversary of St. Clare's School.
The Liberals have announced their private member's bill to restore the long-form census, and it’ll be Carolyn Bennett sponsoring it, which could see debate in the House as early as next month. The Bloc and the NDP have indicated that they would support it as well.
The Liberals are also promising to restore prison farms should they form the next government.
At the UN, Harper made his Security Council seat pitch to a nearly empty house. Some analysis says that we’re unlikely to get it, in part because we’re not courting other members in the manner to which they’ve become accustomed (which this government is already playing down, talking about austerity budgets and so on).
Coming up – with a list of G8/G20 expenses now public, I’m sure we’ll hear about it somewhat with Friday’s b-team QP, and certainly Monday when the heavy hitters are back.