3 min

QP: A restrained energy

On the Monday after a constituency week,
the energy in the Commons can best be described as “restrained.” However, as
this is the first Monday of the final five-week stretch of the calendar year,
we should remember to check back on this “restrained” sense once the MPs start
getting squirrelly by week three. Nycole Turmel kicked off QP with questions
about whether the Conservatives would sacrifice supply management of
dairy and poultry in order to gain access to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as
Harper indicated on the weekend. Peter MacKay, who was today’s backup PM,
assured the House we would protect our interests in these negotiations, just as
every country does. Peter Julian asked about job losses and the incoming
increase in EI premiums, to which Ted Menzies sang the praises of the Economic
Action Plan™. Bob Rae asked a pair of questions on the same EI premiums topic,
but from the angle that the government insisted repeatedly that the rates were
determined arm’s length and they couldn’t change them, and lo and behold they
did – but MacKay was unmoved in his unwavering support for the government’s
agenda. To close off, Rae asked about the accusations of systemic sexual
harassment of female RCMP officers and what the government planned to do about
it. MacKay assured him that government was indeed concerned and that the new
RCMP commissioner – whoever that might be – would be “seized” with the issue
upon coming to office.

Round two kicked off with Megan Leslie and
Claude Gravelle asking about the Keystone XL pipeline, though curiously, Leslie
wondered why we didn’t learn from the Americans on the topic. Err, to delay it
for crass political reasons and then go ahead once the next presidential
election is over? Regardless, Joe Oliver wondered why the NDP were fighting for
jet-setting Hollywood stars rather than the unionized employees who wouldn’t be
getting those jobs working on said pipeline. Charlie Angus asked about the CBC
ATIP documents and the Commons law clerk’s condemnation of the move, but James
Moore assured him that Dean Del Mastro is just looking out for taxpayers’
interests. Jack Harris asked about the declaration of “victory” with the guilty
plea in the In and Out case (Poilievre: Here’s a letter where the NDP
confesses to breaking election finance laws); Alexandre Boulerice asked about
the separation between public servants and political staffers (bizarrely,
Poilievre reread his previous answer) and about a fundraiser held for Tony
Clement at the Albany Club (Clement: Brian Topp is holding a fundraiser there
too – so what?). Frank Valeriote
and Wayne Easter returned to the issue of supply management in the face of TPP
negotiations (Fast: We’re pledged to defend supply management), and Scott Simms
asked about the In and Out decisions (Poilievre: Individual Conservatives
were cleared, so it’s a big victory!). Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet and Jasbir
Sandhu asked about the RCMP harassment allegations (Toews: We’re concerned), before
Sandhu and Sylvain Chicoine asked about a port review for the RCMP (Toews: Nice
to hear you support the RCMP, now pass our crime bills).

Round three saw questions on potentially
unsafe traffic tunnels in Montreal, aviation safety in the North, breaches in
veterans’ private medical files (Blaney: 10-point action plan!), fewer women
being appointed to the bench (Nicholson: We appoint based on merit, but look at
all the women judges there are under our government), tightening up the live-in
caregiver program and making truck sidebars mandatory to save cyclists’ lives.
Randall Garrison asked about the overloaded court system in the face of the new
crime bill, and there was one final question on supply management.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Lisa
 for a red dress paired with a black belt and knee-high boots, and a black
cardigan overtop, as well as to Robert Chisholm for his charcoal suit with a
lavender shirt and purple tie. Style citations go out to Jean Rousseau for his
slate-coloured suit with a light teal shirt and tie, and to Françoise Boivin for
her boxy light-orange faux-suede jacket. Dishonourable mention goes out to Candice Hoeppner for her gold top and black skirt (and yes, gold still counts
as a yellow-and-black offence).

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