4 min

QP: Harper shrugs off his former positions

Before question period got started, gay NDP
MPs Randall Garrison and Philip Toone each made statements in the House.
(Toone’s has not yet been translated – check Hansard tomorrow for it).

Garrison: Mr Speaker, the Juan de Fuca
Salmon Restoration Society is a group of extremely dedicated volunteers working
in the area from the Sooke Basin to the San Juan River in my riding. Twelve
creeks and rivers stand to benefit from their work in rehabilitating and
restoring the all-important salmon habitat.

The Salmon Restoration Society and wild
salmon advocates like Alexandra Morton have been working hard to protect
pacific salmon habit so that local streams will once again produce the salmon
that are so important for First Nations, sport fishing, recreation and tourism.

The Salmon Restoration Society is a very
successful partnership of community volunteers, small businesses, local
government, Royal Roads University and the T'Sou-ke and Pacheedaht First Nations.

On Sept 25 the society opened its
Charters Creek Salmon Habitat Restoration and Interpretive Centre.

I would like to congratulate the
dedicated volunteers and also those who donated equipment and supplies in order
to help restore salmon habitat on the west coast of Vancouver Island in my
riding.

Toone: Monsieur le Président, je tenais à souligner l'implication exceptionnelle
de citoyennes de l'Anse-à-Valleau, en Gaspésie, qui pendant 20 ans, sans
relâche, ont lutté pour que l'importance du rôle qu'à joué Pointe-à-la-Renommée
dans l'histoire maritime canadienne soit reconnue à sa juste valeur.

L'acharnement de Mme Blandine et
Priscilla Poirier ainsi que de Marianne Côté du comité local de développement
de l'Anse-à-Valleau aura finalement permis la reconnaissance de la création du
service canadien de télégraphie maritime du Canada.

Grâce à ces femmes, la construction à
Pointe-à-la-Renommée, en 1904, de la première station radiomaritime en Amérique
du Nord de la télégraphie sans fil, par Marconi lui-même, a été reconnue en
tant qu'événement historique national du Canada par la Commission des lieux et
monuments historiques du Canada.

Merci et bravo à Mme Poirier et à toute l'équipe
du comité local de développement de l'Anse-à-Valleau

Nycole Turmel kicked off question period
with a pair of questions about the economic crisis as per usual, to which
Harper responded with his usual reassurances about those 600,000 net new jobs
created since the end of the recession. When Turmel asked about a report on the
costs of poverty to the government, Harper touted their tax measures and job
creation. Normally it would be Peggy Nash’s turn, but no, they instead gave it
to Charlie Angus to ask another pair of questions on Tony Clement and his G8
legacy fund spending, and once again, John Baird obfuscated. Bob Rae got up and
asked Harper about statements he had made in Peru in 2009 regarding the
economic path that we were on, but present-day Harper shrugged and talked
about the steps being taken to balance the budget. Rae asked about the “payroll
tax” increases that were coming, but Harper made more references to Rae’s term
as premier of Ontario. Rae finished off by asking why Clement said he would be
willing to answer questions on the G8 in committee but not in the House, and
Harper assured him that all information had already been provided to the auditor general, so nothing to see here.

Peggy Nash got her turn at the start of
round two, with the familiar dance she does with Flaherty over job numbers, but
when Andrew Cash got up to ask why Flaherty’s job numbers don’t match those
that Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak gave during last night’s debate, Flaherty said
he stays out of provincial politics to avoid trouble at home (seeing as his wife
is an MPP). Oh, and 600,000 net new jobs. Alexandre Boulerice asked about
Service Canada cuts (Leitch: No impacts on services), Brian Masse and Jean
Rousseau asked about the needs at the border crossing in their ridings given that border infrastructure money was diverted to the G8 legacy fund (Baird
seemed to suggest that his new title is now minister of truth, and that Orwell
says hi), and Linda Duncan asked about education on First Nations reserves
(John Duncan: We’re working with our partners!). Marc Garneau asked about how
Clement is accountable to the House (Baird: We’re following the AG’s
recommendations!), Gerry Byrne asked how it was that MacKay’s now-infamous
fishing trip was made with the head of a Crown corporation that deals with
defence (MacKay: This was personal time), and Scott Andrews reminded the PM about
statements he once made about the ethical dubiousness or stupidity of people
who take such trips with associates. Harper stood up to respond, saying
that MacKay paid for his own vacation. He invited Andrews to repeat the
accusations outside of the House. Ooh, fighting words! Joe Comartin asked about
the costs of the omnibus crime bill (Nicholson: What are the costs to
victims?), and when Françoise Boivin asked about a certain Conservative MP’s
plans to repeal Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, which deals with
hate speech, Nicholson ignored the question – twice – and blustered on about
the costs of crime to victims.

Round three saw questions on MacKay’s
fishing trip, search-and-rescue choppers, Brad Trost’s statement about the government's
funding of Planned Parenthood (Oda: Maternal and child health goals, yo!), First
Nations equity, the RCMP contracts in BC, funeral costs for Canadian Forces
members versus veterans, consular assistance, the closure of the Aviation
Museum, and one last kick at the crime bill.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to James
Bezan
 for his charcoal suit with the lovely pink shirt and blue tie, and to Olivia Chow for her lavender jacket and skirt with the black top. Style
citations go the wearers of beige, singling out three in particular: Brent
Rathgeber
, who managed to find a suit and tie with one shade of beige and a
shirt with another, and to both Françoise Boivin and Gail Shea for wearing particularly smock-like beige jackets.

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