Bill C-10, the budget implementation bill, has now passed the committee stage, and is being reported to the House for third reading. NDP MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis, in her rather smart purple jacket and turtleneck, wasn’t about to let that fact pass by as she castigated it during her Member’s Statement. Her biggest concern is the pay equity provisions contained within the bill, which now look like they’re going to come to pass.
Question Period was quite entertaining. Ignatieff started off by baiting Jim Flaherty, referencing a “spectacle of synchronised deterioration” of the economy. Harper, incidentally, let it be known that every Conservative announcement gives hope to Canadians. Because he’s the Canadian Obama, don’t you know?
Up next was Bob Rae, who asked about a lack of references to credit in the aforementioned C-10. This managed to unhinge Flaherty. Red-faced with outrage, he waved his copy of the budget in the air while stepping out between the desks on the front row, looking like he was about to cross the centre aisle while jabbing his finger in Ignatieff’s direction. (Ignatieff, in his seat, gave the universal sign of “whoa!”). And in his supplemental, Rae poked more fun, imitating Flaherty’s move toward the aisle. (Those of us in the Press Gallery had a good laugh at this particular bit of spectacle).
When Marlene Jennings – in her unfortunate dusky rose jacket – got up to ask about why zero infrastructure dollars went toward building new childcare spaces, Diane Finley said that their party believes that child care isn’t a women’s issue because they believe both parents are responsible for child care. Not long later, Treasury Board president said that pay equity isn’t a women’s issue, but rather an issue of family rights in order to provide for children. Huh?
Mario Silva asked about job losses, Hedy Fry (in a double-breasted pink jacket) asked about violent gun crime in Vancouver (Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said that he was going to put the Liberals “on probation” for being “born again crime fighters”), and Justin Trudeau demanded the minister responsible for the Francophonie respond to the changes made to CIDA funding, which saw four francophone African countries dropped from the list of priority countries. Bev Oda, responsible for CIDA and not the Francophonie, talked about the Francophonie. But her lavender outfit was far better than her lime green monstrosity the day previous.
Toward the end, there was one final telling exchange. Bloc MP Paul Crête asked the foreign affairs minister his definition of a child soldier, since Omar Khadr apparently didn’t qualify. And Lawrence Cannon stood up and refused to answer – twice.
Sartorial snaps went to Martha Hall Findlay for her black-trimmed pink jacket, and Bonnie Crombie, who can pull off a lapel-less jacket. Lisa Raitt was also doing pretty good with her chocolate brown suit paired with a red shirt – but her jacket was too long, and when undone, it looked like a smock or a lab coat. Now, given that Raitt has her Master’s degree in chemistry, I’m sure she’s comfortable in lab coats – but they don’t belong in the House.
There were two distressing cases of wrong shades of orange being worn in the House – Yasmin Ratansi’s creamsicle-coloured jacket, and Jack Layton’s nearly fluorescent tie. Neither worked – but then, orange is a very tricky colour. After two good days, Kristy Duncan resorted to a turquoise-blue jacket, which wasn’t so good on her. But the true style citation goes out to Helena Guergis, who decided to wear a large scarf with some cause’s logo on it, in a very conspicuous manner so as to highlight said logo. Isn’t there some rule about props in the House?
Elsewhere, over in the Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics committee, Bill Siksay was one of the deciding votes for the decision to re-open the committee’s investigation into the “In and Out” affair. I think his work on the committee just got a lot more interesting.
Up tomorrow – a Liberal opposition day, and it looks like it'll be Gerard Kennedy's motion on municipal infrastructure to be debated. Sadly, not a confidence motion.