Dean Del Mastro
2 min

QP: Jim Flaherty: political superweapon

To say that today’s question period was anything
other than bizarre would perhaps be an exercise in understatement. There were
moments where it was so surreal that I felt like I was watching The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie. It
was also a reminder of what happens when Harper is away and leaves the benches
without proper adult supervision, as indeed there was no designated back-up PM
on duty for the day. So questions from Nycole Turmel on the statements that
Dean Del Mastro made that were contrary to established fact, from Pat Martin on
just what government services RackNine had procured, and from Bob Rae
asking the Conservatives whether they agree that the post-election harassment in
Irwin Cotler’s riding was indeed “reprehensible,” were all met by
bizarre rants from Del Mastro that were unhinged and divorced from reality,
and from Pierre Poilievre saying in French that any and all allegations were “exaggerated”
and that this was all a case of the opposition refusing to accept the results
of the last election. In fact, in response to Martin, Del Mastro even made the claim
that the “political superweapon” was not RackNine’s servers, but was in
fact Jim Flaherty. So, what – less of a Death Star and more of a World
Devastator
?

This carried on into round two when Alexandre
Boulerice asked about the Quebec “In & Out” dimension of the robo-calls,
Charlie Angus wondered about Maurice Velacott’s assertion that this was really
all Elections Canada’s fault, and François Lapointe and Alexandrine Latendresse’s
questions on whether RMG was indeed doing Conservative fundraising. All met by
the same Del Mastro’s bizarre stream of consciousness or Poilievre’s quiet
shrugs. Guy Caron asked about the closure of the Rimouski Service Canada centre
(Finley: Officials made the decision), and Peter Julian asked about budget
priorities (Glover: We’re on track for modest growth!). Frank Valeriote, Kirsty
Duncan and Marc Garneau each took on various robo-call dimensions – the Guelph/RackNine
documents, the scripts from the Thunder Bay call centre, and the CRTC taking
part in the investigation – but got more Del Mastro and Poilievre. Christine
Moore and Matthew Kellway asked about the back-up plans for the F-35s (Fantino –
Our allies agree they’re great planes!), and Jasbir Sandhu and Sylvain Chicoine
asked about CSIS making unannounced visits to people’s places of employment
(Toews: They follow Canadian law, and if you have a complaint, file it with
SIRC).

Round three saw questions on maintaining
the Veterans Affairs budgets and a string of specific veterans’ cases, the OAS
cuts – because the Liberals want Finley to know they haven’t forgotten (while
Finley hadn’t forgotten her talking points), the F-35s, a potential conflict of
interest with a senior Environment Canada regulator taking a position with an oil sands group while on unpaid leave, a request for the Whip to remove Rob Anders
from the veterans affairs committee (Blaney: he apologized!), the endangered
Arctic research station, VIA Rail safety, and Chinese companies buying Iranian
oil and undermining sanctions.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Lisa
Raitt
 for her pink-and-white striped collared shirt with grey trousers, and to Greg Rickford for his dark grey suit with a crisp white shirt and a purple tie and
pocket square. Style citations go out to Christine Moore for her bizarre
multicoloured metallic shiny skirt with a black top and sweater, and to both Larry
Miller
 and Gary Schellenberger for matching black suit/custard-yellow shirt
violations.

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