2 min

QP: Doing the math on the F-35s

QP was off to an abrupt start after the
Speaker shut down Conservative MP Jim Hillyer’s attempted attack on Justin
Trudeau in a member’s statement, and Turmel was up and decried the fact that
making budget cuts too fast could impact our economic growth. Harper assured
her that they have a plan to slowly reduce the deficit, and when Turmel turned
to the issue of lawful access, Harper made it sound as though the government
would be open to amendments in order to respect individuals’ privacy. Charlie
Angus and Vic Toews were up next to snarl at one another over lawful access,
with Angus accusing Toews of hiding behind child victims, then Bob Rae asked his first
question on the fiscal sustainability of OAS versus that of the F-35 purchase.
Harper assured him that they would operate within their budget for the planes.
(This comes back later – I promise). Marc Garneau and Ralph Goodale returned to
the topic of lawful access, wondering how it was that the long-form census was
deemed too intrusive into Canadians’ lives, but forcing telecoms and ISP
providers to create massive databases on browser histories isn’t. Toews
insisted that they had simply refined an old Liberal bill but said that Harper had
indicated they’d be open to amendments.

Round two saw Françoise Boivin carry on
about lawful access (Toews: There’s an accountability mechanism in the bill!),
Peter Julian ask about Moody’s warnings about cuts affecting our economic
growth (Shelley Glover: You’re anti-Canada!), and Christine Moore, Matthew
Kellway and David Christopherson asking about the F-35s and reports that the
military may be considering using unmanned drones to supplement them (Kellway
somewhat inadvertently admitted that they only read the headlines about F-35s;
Fantino, incidentally, assured them of the importance of the RCAF). And then it
was Bob Rae’s turn – rising once again, he laid out the fact that a) the
government has said it has a budget for F-35s of about $9.5 billion, b)
the RCAF has said that we need at minimum 65 planes to meet
operational requirements, and c) Lockheed Martin has said that the price per
plane is going to be increasing. Given these facts, could Fantino reconcile
them? And indeed he could not, but during the third response, he told Rae to “stay
tuned.” Irene Mathyssen and Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe closed off the round with
questions on the OAS (Finley: We’re being responsible by taking action now!).

Round three saw questions on our lack of a
greenhouse gas reduction plan despite our Kyoto pullout, family reunification
wait times, OAS, ecoEnergy retrofits, a new marina at Esquimalt Harbour,
defence construction contract problems, the problems with a particular Quebec bridge,
certain local projects, and the affront of celebrating the demise of the
long-gun registry.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to James
 for his grey suit with a pink shirt and blue tie, and to Bev Oda for her
purple dress and tasteful scarf with a violet jacket. Style citations go out to Pierre Poilievre for his navy jacket, light blue shirt and bright orange
tie, and to Megan Leslie for a belted, pleated dress whose colour I can best
describe as “snot yellow.”

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