3 min

QP: Actual finger wagging

After a morning of gun-registry debate that
devolved into Hitler references – seriously – it was time to take a break for
the scintillating debate that is question period. And so, Nycole Turmel stood
up to demand to know why we haven’t recalled our ambassador from Syria yet,
like all of these other countries have. Jason Kenney, in his role as back-up PM
du jour, assured her that Canada has condemned the Assad regime and that we’ve
evacuated most of our staff from the embassy. (Not actually the same thing, but
I digress . . .) Turmel then turned to the topic of OAS, to which Kenney gave the usual
talking points, and Jack Harris got up to ask about news of this directive that
allows CSIS to use information obtained through torture. Vic Toews said that we
don’t condone or employ torture and discount evidence obtained through it . . . but
we can’t ignore it if lives or property are at stake. Bob Rae, acting like any
MP should in QP, stood up and followed up on that answer – what exactly did
Toews mean, and would he table the wording of that directive so that we can be clear?
But Kenney stood up instead and gave the blanket reassurance that Toews gave
moments before. Rae then turned to the topic of OAS; he referred to Diane Finley’s
answer from yesterday and surmised that she was “in her mid-50s” (she’s 54,
for the record), but he was immediately subjected to actual finger wagging from the
Conservative benches for daring to refer to a woman’s age. Eventually, he got to
his point – that the new Conservative pension scheme is “Warning 55, Freedom
95.” Kenney reminded him that our population is aging.

Round two opened up with Irene Mathyssen
giving her best recitation of outrage from behind her script, while she
bemoaned the closure of Electro-Motive Diesel and wondered about the pensions
of those employees laid off (Paradis: That’s Ontario’s jurisdiction); Peter
Julian demanded a jobs plan (Flaherty: You voted against it); Françoise Boivin
gave a bunch of erroneous facts when she asked about the presumed attempt to
reopen the abortion debate (We don’t actually have legislation that guarantees
a woman’s right to choose in this country, because we have no laws on abortion
period; also, a prime minister cannot dictate private members’ business, and if
he could, we would have much bigger problems; Nicholson, for the record,
reiterated that they’re not reopening the debate). Libby Davies and Anne
Minh-Thu Quach then asked about the news that the health minister killed
attempts to ban trans fats (Aglukkaq: We’re working with stakeholders). Gerry
Byrne asked about a questionable patronage appointment to ACOA (Valcourt: The
Public Service Commission is investigating), and Marc Garneau asked about Peter
MacKay’s excuse that his helicopter ride was a last-minute affair when emails
show the event was planned two weeks in advance (MacKay: I used government
resources for government business). Christine Moore and Matthew Kellway then
asked about the news that Julian Fantino used a military helicopter to go from
Ottawa to Petawawa (MacKay: Government assets for government business) and
about news that the UK is delaying their own F-35 purchase (Fantino: You don’t
support the men and women in uniform! Moore would later tell Fantino that she
did indeed serve in the Forces).

Round three saw questions on Attawapiskat;
the search-and-rescue centre closing in Quebec; the lack of search-and-rescue response times for a Labrador teen who died; funding for First Nations
schools; the government’s approach to federalism (James Moore: We totally
consulted with the provinces on the copyright bill!); some generic Toronto
questions for the benefit of the upcoming by-election (Flaherty: “What’s not to
love about Rob Ford? He’s 300 pounds of fun – self-described!”); the health
minister ignoring advice, whether it’s on trans fats, sodium or energy drinks
(Aglukkaq – look at all our initiatives!); federal assistance for a
particular Quebec housing crisis; the deportation of a woman with a mental
health disorder; and the victims-of-crime ombudsman’s report.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Judy
 for her fitted black dress and tailored jacket, and to Blake Richards for
a charcoal suit with a crisp white shirt, paired with a violet tie and pocket square.
Style citations go out to Sadia Groguhé for an awful white jacket with a black
and gold floral pattern, and to Jasbir Sandhu for joining the fluorescent blue
shirt/grey suit brigade. Dishonourable mention to Bal Gosal for his black suit
and lemon-yellow shirt.

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