2 min

QP: Just ‘occupying’ the House

Nycole Turmel has decided that the “occupy”
narrative is working for her and kept it up during question period today, asking
about the growing inequality and won’t the prime minister do something about
it. Harper, to my surprise, didn’t shut her down with her comments on the CEO
salary caps but spent his first two answers praising job creation figures. He saved his smackdown for his final response, saying that the NDP is not
supposed to just “occupy the House, but do something.” Pat Martin and Gerry
Ritz had an exchange on the Canadian Wheat Board issue, and then Bob Rae asked
why the government wouldn’t actually do something more substantial to help
low-income Canadians and make their raft of tax credits refundable. Harper fell
back on the dependable talking point about how the opposition voted against
measures to help Canadians. In his final question, Rae asked why, in the face
of yet more American protectionism, we would destroy the CWB, which helps
our industry, but Harper chastised the Liberals for not listening to farmers.

Round two kicked off with questions by Hélène
LeBlanc and Peter Julian about R&D tax credits versus direct investment
(Gary Goodyear: We’re reviewing the panel’s report); Robert Chisholm
about the European Union Free Trade Agreement (Gerald Keddy: You guys hate free
trade!); Olivia Chow on disclosing the Porter Airlines safety violation (Lebel:
They’re in compliance, it was a minor issue); Dennis Bevington on northern air
safety (Lebel: Fear monger!); and Jamie Nicholls again on the Porter
question. Stéphane Dion asked about the government’s forthcoming seat
redistribution bill (Uppal: We’re operating on the principles of more seats for
Alberta, BC and Ontario, protecting smaller provinces, and the proportion of
Quebec seats); Denis Coderre asked about Canada Post service cuts in Quebec
(Fletcher responded with a meaningless string of talking points as he always does);
and John McCallum asked whether Tony Clement would answer his own questions at
committee (Baird: We both look forward to being there!). Alexandre Boulerice and
Charlie Angus finished off the round with the usual Clement/G8 Legacy Fund
questions, and while Clement did answer Angus’s first question with respect to
the part about cuts to the auditor general’s office – ignoring that the cuts
were voluntary, which Clement pointed out – Baird answered the last question
and was booed by the NDP, which he claimed hurt his feelings and would affect his self-esteem. And the booing means the heckle ban is over, right?

Round three saw questions on the report of
the official languages commissioner; the CBC report on the Texas corrections
policy the government should be taking a look at (Nicholson and Toews both
claimed the report was “misleading”); a salmon virus found in the wild; that
Canadian family in a Saudi jail; poverty in suburbia; cuts to Veterans Affairs;
and the potential of government gerrymandering in riding redistributions.

Sartorial snaps go to Alice Wong, for her
violet jacket with the black top, and Peter MacKay, for his nicely appointed
grey suit with the baby-blue shirt and dark-blue tie. Style citations go out to Jean Rousseau for his blindingly bright orange shirt with a black suit (just because
you’re a New Democrat it doesn’t mean you can wear orange), and Megan Leslie for a shapeless dress with a red pattern that can best be described as “early
19th-century schoolmarm,” which was, unfortunately, paired with bright
red tights as well. Also, a dishonourable mention goes to Candice Hoeppner for a
mustard top with a black skirt.

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