3 min

QP: Earlier but no more substantive

With an early question period at hand, it
remained to be seen if we were going to get a full complement of MPs or party
leaders in place, or if it was going to essentially be a Friday QP on a Thursday.
Happily, it was very nearly a full house, and Nycole Turmel (who took the bus
to work today!) started off by asking Harper about investing in jobs versus
cuts. Harper touted the world’s confidence in our economy. Turmel wondered about
a jobs plan, and Harper told her that we have the world’s best record for job
creation. Peggy Nash once again asked about tax cuts for big corporations
versus jobs, and Ted Menzies stood in for Jim Flaherty, reminding her
about all the great things the government has done, like paying down debt. Bob
Rae got up to ask what Harper’s notion of “flexibility” with the economy
was really all about, but Harper responded that while he’s open to useful
economic ideas, he doesn’t see any in the Liberal platform. After another predictable
exchange on the perimeter security agreement in the face of American
protectionism, Scott Simms got the final question of the round, asking Peter
MacKay why he used a search-and-rescue helicopter to be ferried from a
private fishing retreat. MacKay, straight-faced, told him that he had cut his
vacation – which he’d paid for himself – short so that he could participate in
a search-and-rescue demonstration in Gander. It was obvious that the House
totally believed that response.

And so in round two, Jack Harris and
Christine Moore hammered away at the helicopter question, getting no different
response from MacKay other than a reiteration of how proud he was of the
Canadian Forces. Charlie Angus asked his daily theatrical questions on the G8
legacy fund, and Deepak Obhrai, still the backup John Baird, reminded us that
“the facts in this case have not changed.” Alexandre Boulerice asked about
those consultants, which Tony Clement actually bothered to respond to,
telling the House that they provided “essential advice.” When Andrew Cash
reminded us of the result of a similar exercise in Toronto, Clement said
that it was about making sure that essential services were delivered in a more
efficient and effective manner rather than cutting them. Scott Andrews returned
to the helicopter question, while Frank Valeriote and John McKay each asked a
question about the F-35 fighter jets – that being the sole-sourced nature of the
contracts and the rising costs, to which Julian Fantino woodenly read off
scripted talking points. Closing off the round were Hoang Mai asking once again
about the links between the Canada Revenue Agency and Montreal mobsters (Shea:
We’re sending a message that we won’t tolerate this!), and Paul Dewar on tax
fraud legislation in the States catching dual citizens unaware (Menzies: We’re
concerned and meeting with our counterparts on this).

Round three saw questions on ozone
monitoring, the Keystone XL pipeline, refugee policy, the high child mortality
rate among First Nations, Buy America policies, job cuts in Cape Breton,
homeless veterans, prisons versus social housing (Finley: Our Economic Action
Plan addressed affordable housing!) and another question on consultants through
the lens of all those layoffs from Audit Services Canada (Ambrose: It’s cheaper
to hire short-term consultants than have a permanent group dedicated to this).

Sartorially speaking, there was a lot of
pink on the opposition benches as it is, apparently, International Day of the
Girl, which means reinforcing gender stereotypes. Snaps go out to Philip Toone for his dark grey suit with a lovely pink shirt and sliver tie, and to Michelle
 for her black jacket with the effectively rolled sleeves and black top
beneath. Style citations go out to James Bezan for a tan suit with a honey
yellow shirt, and Sadia Groguhé for her bad pink pleated jacket and skirt.

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