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3 min

QP: All that is holy and decent

With neither Harper nor Turmel in the House
today, it was up to Joe Comartin to lead the moral indignation against the CSIS
directives that allow for the use of information obtained by torture, and
acting once again as back-up PM, Peter MacKay got to replay hypothetical 24-like scenarios where such information
may be useful. Peter Julian followed up by demanding clear answers on the
future of the OAS, to which Finley gave her usual assurances that the Conservatives are
guaranteeing future sustainability. Bob Rae stood up to remind the House of Stephen Harper’s promise in 2005 not to touch OAS and to guarantee its
future increases – but noted that in the same speech he promised not to touch income trusts, and, well, we all know what happened there. MacKay insisted that
they are simply starting a “reasonable debate” on the future of programs
like OAS. For his final question, Rae asked about issues of public safety when
Rob Nicholson indicated that firing warning shots might be acceptable under new
legislation, and what about the dangers to those who might inadvertently be hit
by stray bullets? Nicholson stood up and insisted that they know who the real
victims are, and it’s apparently people whose property is being violated.
Seriously.

Round two kicked off with questions from
Irene Mathyssen and Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe about the OAS (Finley: looming
crisis!), from Jinny Sims about the reported closure of Canadian consulates in the
US (Obhrai: No decisions have been made), and from Christine Moore and Matthew
Kellway, who asked about back-up plans for the F-35 (Fantino: “The member opposite is
referring to a failed NDP candidate who wrote this report, critical of
everything that is holy and decent about this government’s efforts.” No,
seriously. Direct quote). Judy Sgro returned to Harper’s previous promises on
OAS (Finley: Look at all the promises the Liberals broke); Ralph Goodale
wondered where those promised foreign investment rules are (Paradis: We’re
still working on it); and Wayne Easter returned to the issue of closing consulates
(Obhrai: This is just pure speculation). Hélène Laverdière wondered if we are
sacrificing human rights on the altar of trade with China (Obhrai: Human rights
are at the core of our policies), and Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet asked why
80 percent of the disability access funds are going to Conservative ridings
(Finley: No government has done more for the disabled than ours).

Round three saw questions on that search-and-rescue failure in Labrador; Toronto light rail; giving more of the gas tax
to Toronto (it’s almost like there’s a by-election coming); the useless data of
the National Household Survey; Hedy Fry asked about those air screening
regulations affecting trans people on behalf of a trans group heading to a
conference in San Diego (Lebel: air safety bafflegab); the closure of CBC’s
operation in La Ronge, Saskatchewan; land appropriations around Mirabel Airport; Air Canada’s headquarters in Montreal; and the impact of the sale of
oil-sands operations to Chinese national companies.

In the scrums in the foyer afterward, I
asked Bob Rae just what was holy and decent about the government, per Fantino’s
response. Rae responded, saying, “I think you’d have to do an access-to-information request about that, and I don’t think you’d get an answer,
actually.”

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to
regular snappy dressers Lisa Raitt, for her red dress with a black sweater and
boots, and Jonathan Genest-Jourdain, for his tailored charcoal suit and white
shirt. Style citations go out once again to Raymond Côté for yet another
fluorescent shirt – today it was fuchsia – with a grey suit (seriously – stop wearing
fluorescent dress shirts. You’re not 17), and to Isabelle Morin, for a
layered faded red-and-grey sleeveless top with grey trousers.

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