Vic Toews
3 min

QP: Invoking the ghost of Sir John A

Day two, and things didn’t much pick up
from yesterday. In a bit of shameless self-promotion, Nycole Turmel stood up to
announce that she’d just met with National Chief Shawn Atleo and wondered what
steps Harper was going to take to implement the goals agreed upon by the
Crown-First Nations gathering. Harper assured her that the gathering was
historic and told her to check the press release they issued at the end of it.
Turmel then turned to the issue of pensions and seniors, where Harper assured
her that they weren’t making cuts but were making it viable for the future. Peter
Julian picked up on the OAS issue, and Diane Finley delivered her finely honed talking
points about not cutting current benefits while ensuring they were there for
future generations. Bob Rae got up, repeated Harper’s election promises and asked
if Harper was aware of the “demographic crisis” back during the election. Harper
responded with his talking points about protecting current income, making it
viable for the future, and on his supplemental got in a dig about the deficits
during Rae’s years as premier of Ontario.

Megan Leslie kicked off round two by trying to get Joe Oliver to say whether or not he believes in climate
change. Over the course of four questions and three supplementals, Leslie
provided a science lesson on hydrocarbons, and still Oliver refused to answer,
first insisting that pipelines were akin to Sir John A Macdonald and his
nation-building projects; he then proceeded to rail about jobs and the economy
instead, in the process, insisting that oil sands emissions have gone
down by 30 percent, which is wrong. Emissions intensity has gone down by 30
percent, but overall emissions have increased as the number of barrels of oil
produced has increased. Claude Gravelle asked about the cancellation of the
ecoEnergy home-retrofit program (Oliver: The program was fully subscribed);
Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet and Andrew Cash asked about the FCM study on housing (Finley:
We made all these investments in the Economic Action Plan™!); and Olivia Chow
asked about supporting an NDP proposal to increase the gas tax transfer to
assist with municipal infrastructure (Lebel: We’ve invested more in infrastructure
than anyone else in the history of ever, and I used to be a mayor!). Wayne
Easter, Judy Sgro and Denis Coderre each asked about the OAS issue (Finley had
her rote talking points), and Christiane Moore and Matthew Kellway closed off
the round asking about problems with the F-35s and a back-up plan for our
aging CF-18s when the refurbishments are too dated to continue operating them
(Fantino: You’re just fear-mongering and spreading misinformation!).

Round three saw questions on Vic Toews'
allegedly holding back an RCMP report on the effectiveness of the long-gun
registry, the muzzling of the RCMP commissioner (to which Toews repeated
misinformation about the protocol put in place by Anne McLellan), the
government terming First Nations people as “adversaries” when it comes to oil sands
and pipelines, the 2004 health accords, a Federal Court decision on treaty
rights, India’s fighter jet procurement process, the Champlain Bridge, cuts to
Veterans Affairs and back to the OAS.

Overall, Megan Leslie is emerging as the
NDP’s strongest performer during this period where there is nary a leadership
candidate to be found in the House, but she did seem to be taking the Justin
Trudeau approach when it comes to the “yes or no” questions on basic science a
bit too much to heart, and it did feel a bit like she was aping that moment
just a bit, not that Joe Oliver acquitted himself any better than Peter Kent
did.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Lysane
Blanchette-Lamonthe
 for her top with the grey centre panels and the aqua side
panels and sleeves, paired with a black skirt, and to Maxime Bernier for a
tailored navy suit with a pink shirt and pocket square and violet tie. Style
citations go out to both Charlie Angus and Jean Rousseau for their fluorescent blue
shirts with grey suits, and to Cheryl Gallant for a yellow dress with a black
sweater.

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