It’s not terribly uncommon for attendance at Monday question periods to be a bit light, and yesterday was no different – Gilles Duceppe was the only party leader in attendance, but paradoxically the Bloc seats were the emptiest for the duration. That left Liberal deputy leader Ralph Goodale to lead off QP with questions about the perimeter security agreement and the lack of available facts on what the agreement will entail. Lawrence Cannon didn’t provide any answers. Pablo Rodriguez got up to ask about whether the government agreed with Maxime Bernier’s weekend musings on Quebec language laws but got a reply saying these were matters of provincial jurisdiction. Gilles Duceppe and Daniel Paillé were back on the tax harmonization bandwagon, while Libby Davies and Charlie Angus badgered and hectored the Conservatives about their latest vice-chair appointment to the CRTC, who fails to meet the posted qualifications. James Moore defended that by saying it was code for their appointee not having any conflicts of interest in the industry. Huh?
Round two kicked off with another go at Diane Finley over her comments on childcare, this time by Liberal Bonnie Crombie, followed by questions on home care by Marlene Jennings. Jean-Yves Laforest asked about the perimeter agreement, Maria Mournai about cuts to border crossings, and Christiane Gagnon about radioactive waste being transported down the St Lawrence Seaway (to which Christian Paradis explained that the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission was an arm’s length, independent body. Really? Did anyone bother to notify Linda Keen about this development?) John McKay asked about CIDA’s cuts to a teaching program while funding a mining company’s corporate social responsibility obligations, and Bryon Wilfert asked why the government fired one of our diplomats in Geneva when he was supposed to be negotiating to ban cluster munitions.
Round three saw questions about Canada’s spending on security contractors in Afghanistan, that appointment to the CRTC (with the implication it was about furthering the government’s deregulation agenda), and a pair of questions from Rob Oliphant about cuts to immigrant settlement agencies (which got a spirited response from Jason Kenney). Rounding off were questions on what a trade agreement with the European Union could mean for prescription drug prices in Canada, investments in the knowledge economy, and something about the military base in Bagotville.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Bonnie Crombie for her well-tailored long black jacket with the embroidered fastens down the front panel, as well as to Scott Simms for his charcoal pinstripe suit with a pink shirt and light-blue tie. Style citations go out to Diane Finley for her gold jacket with brown top and skirt (making her look like an old-school Century 21 realtor), as well as Louis Plamondon’s couch-like brown checked jacket, brown trousers, yellow shirt and maroon tie.
Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro unironically tells The Hill Times that partisanship is holding up the debate on C-32, the copyright bill.
A group of health researchers has come out against Bill S-10, which would impose mandatory minimums on drug crimes.
An access to information request appears to show that outgoing RCMP commissioner William Elliott did not in fact get any firearms training before he went to Afghanistan and was photographed with a gun strapped to his belt. Oops.
There are major tensions in a couple of Toronto-area ridings around the nomination process of certain Conservative candidates, and it sounds like central office is trying to keep certain nominees out of the race.
And Scott Brison is trying to move a motion of privilege to get the government to actually give Parliament figures on their tax cut plans, as well as the cost of crime bills – something the government calls “cabinet confidence,” which Brison disputes. Could get interesting!