After National Aboriginal Day was acknowledged with a number of statements by members, Jack Layton kicked off question period. He began with a couple of cursory questions on the postal strike (Harper assured him that the back-to-work legislation is in the interest of the public) and followed by asking if Harper feels that things are moving too slowly when it comes to fixing the living conditions on first nations reserves. Harper disagreed, telling Layton to look at all the progress that has been made in these areas. Jonathan Genest-Jourdain and Linda Duncan then asked further questions on the topic, to which John Duncan assured them that everything the government is doing for first nations is great, citing the new national panel on K–12 education. Bob Rae returned to the postal strike, asking questions on specific provisions of the back-to-work legislation (Harper: we’re offering the same wage as other public servants get) and closed off by asking about the government’s plans to cut the audit service of Public Works (Harper: we’re eliminating duplicate areas).
Round two was kicked off with Nycole Turmel asking about the very same job cuts (Jacques Gourde: we’re dealing with the least efficient programs); Charlie Angus and Alexandre Boulerice asked about the revelations of a potential criminal investigation into the government’s misappropriation of the money for the G8 legacy fund (John Baird, unsurprisingly, denied any wrongdoing, as there was “no overspending”); and Sylvain Chicoine, Jasbir Sandhu and Françoise Boivin each asked about a public inquiry into the G20 arrests (Vic Toews: there are appropriate complaint bodies, this is a provincial issue). Denis Coderre returned to the issue of the RCMP looking into the G8 fund misappropriation (Baird: this was just a PR stunt from a defeated Liberal); Joyce Murray asked about the Audit Services Canada cuts (Gourde: see above); and Scott Andrews asked about the cuts to fisheries (Ashfield gave a stock response). Peter Julian then asked about the TSX takeover deal and, once again, used the hated “hashtag fail,” WHICH THEY NEED TO STOP USING (Mike Lake: we’re conducting a review); and Raymond Côté asked what the government is doing for small business (Maxime Bernier: we’re doing plenty, such as cutting taxes).
Round three saw questions on household debt and credit card regulations, unfair taxation to certain fishermen who are taking licence retirements, more questions on Hank Tepper languishing in a Lebanese prison, asbestos, a Canadian kidnapped in Afghanistan, visitor visa requirements and another crumbling bridge in Quebec.
Sartorially speaking, once again, there was just so much bad style that I can’t bring myself to really deliver any snaps. I will give a number of citations for things such as bad khaki suits with bright shirts or ties (John Williamson, Jonathan Tremblay and Denis Blanchette being egregious offenders), misuse of fluorescent green (Matthew Dubé and Chris Charlton) and the perpetual offence of yellow and black (Dany Morin, Olivia Chow and Alexandre Boulerice).
Overall, my bit of constructive criticism of the day would be for MPs who are inquiring about the same topic: stop repeating the same preamble with each question. All three questions dealing with the G20 arrests started out with the statement, “The G20 was a year ago…” We get it. Once was good, but it was not needed every single time. If you’re going to use the tactic of spreading themed questions out to different MPs in such a manner that you’re not actually addressing (in a follow-up capacity) what the minister said, you don’t need to start from scratch each time. It drags things down and makes it look all the more amateurish (especially since most tend to be robotically reading off their sheets).