2 min

QP: Appropriating the ‘occupy’ narrative

The first question period after a
constituency week can be a bit sleepy, and today was no exception to the rule. Nycole
Turmel kicked off by asking how Lisa Raitt could order Air Canada flight
attendants back to work after she accepted upgrades by management – except, of
course, that story was debunked days ago and Raitt stood up to say so. Turmel
then tried to co-opt the narrative of the “Occupy” movements and asked about
growing inequality and helping out “the 99 percent.” In response, Ted Menzies
praised our progressive tax system, our system of universal healthcare and
all the ways in which we should be praising the government. Peggy Nash then
asserted in question form that not cutting corporate taxes would solve
inequality – despite, of course, the fact that anthropomorphizing corporations is
generally unhelpful – and Menzies replied that 650,000 jobs
had been created. Bob Rae took his turn, hammering at the government for its plans
to give hiring-tax credits to small business with one hand while it raises EI
premiums with the other. Menzies brushed off the old “45-day work year” red
herring in response.

Round two kicked off with Robert Chisholm
and Mathieu Ravignat each asking about the negotiations on the European Union
Free Trade Agreement and how it would negatively affect generic drugs in this
country (Gerald Keddy: Trade creates jobs and growth, your claims are
“hogwash”). Irene Mathyssen and Lysane Blanchette-Lamonthe asked about seniors’
debt levels (Alice Wong: Yay our programs! Ted Menzies: Yay our pooled
registered pensions plan!). Rathika Sitsabaiesan and Matthew Dubé asked about
student debt while imploring for more transfers to provinces (Diane Finley: We
gave billions to universities for infrastructure upgrades!). And Yvon Godin
asked about the potential Air Canada strike and the threat to bargaining rights
(Raitt: We’re disappointed they can’t come to an agreement after all this
time). Rodger Cuzner picked up on that line of questioning with a humorous
preamble about Raitt’s crime of bludgeoning labour rights to death (Raitt and
Cuzner had a bit of Cape Breton back-and-forth here), while Lawrence MacAulay
asked about cuts to Fisheries and Oceans (Ashfield: Science is totally
important to us), and Sean Casey asked about cuts to Veterans Affairs in the light of
$3 million spent on photo ops (Blaney: We’ve invested plenty in veterans!).
Megan Leslie asked about cuts to the Canadian Environmental Network (Rempel:
We’re using a web-based consultation process now), and Fin Donnelly and Ryan
Cleary asked about specific Fisheries and Oceans cuts.

Round three saw questions on the G8 Legacy
Fund, renovations to assistant deputy ministers’ offices at National Defence,
rail prices for grain farmers, killing the Canadian Wheat Board versus
supporting supply management, scientific research investment, a shipwreck off
the coast of Nova Scotia, and the fact that one of the new Supreme Court
appointments isn’t bilingual (Nicholson: We based this on merit).

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Kirsty Duncan for her fitted dress with the black-and-blue mottling over a
neutral base, and Robert Chisholm for his grey pinstriped suit with the lavender
shirt and purple tie. Style citations go out to Diane Finley for the grey sack
dress under a black jacket, and the honourable member from Warhammer for his
beige suit with a shockingly bright teal shirt and striped tie. (Dis)honourable
mention goes to Dany Morin for his repeat offence of a fluorescent yellow shirt
with a black suit, but at least he has the courage to admit his mistakes – even
if he hasn’t yet burned the offensive shirt.

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