2 min

QP: MacKay can’t say ‘gay’

With Jason Kenney away, the question on
everyone’s mind as question period kicked off was who was the backup PM for the
first round of questions for the day. That question from Nycole Turmel –
whether Harper would use his time in Australia to check out what a disaster
dismantling the Australian Wheat Board was. And the backup Harper for the day
was . . . Peter MacKay, who insisted that they are talking solely about the Canadian
Wheat Board. Turmel and then Jack Harris asked very narrow questions about the
plans to destroy the data in the long-gun registry since some of the provinces
– like Quebec – want to use the data. MacKay told Turmel that the data is
useless, and Toews told Harris to pass their omnibus crime bill. Bob Rae’s
first question was about the upcoming Commonwealth meeting. He asked if Harper
would specifically bring up gay rights because gay rights are human rights, and
MacKay simply said that human rights were always top of mind. Rae, in his
supplemental, called out MacKay for being unable to utter the word “gay,” which
drew loud objections from the government benches. Rae’s second question was on
the position that Canada would take regarding Sri Lanka hosting the next
Commonwealth meeting, given their human rights record (MacKay: We’ve taken a strong
stance on this). Finally, Rae asked why the government would hired a
unilingual auditor general even if the posting was for a bilingual candidate
(MacKay: He was the best candidate and wants to learn French).

Round two kicked off with David Christopherson
asking about a satellite system being planned by the Defence Department (Fantino:
This is an important part of our defence plans); Randall Garrison asked once again about base closures (MacKay: There is no discussion on this) and about the
family complaints of a soldier who committed suicide (MacKay: It’s
inappropriate to comment on this); Hélène Laverdière asked about the Sri Lanka
meeting (Obhrai: We’ve spoken out); Peter Julian suggested the government
implement the NDP jobs plan because Europe has already moved on its economy
(Menzies: You keep voting against our budgets); and Ryan Clear asked something
about jobs and the environment (Kent: Your question is completely wrong). John
McCallum asked about refundable tax credits (Menzies: You keep voting against
our programs); Sean Casey asked once more about the secret meetings of the veterans affairs committee (Kerr – the committee chair this time – called Casey’s
behaviour “bizarre” and “disruptive”); and Francis Scarpaleggia asked about the
long-gun registry (Bernier: The registry is the data, so killing the registry
means destroying the data). Yvon Godin turned puce demanding an answer on the unilingual
auditor general (Clement: It was merit based), and Robert Aubin asked the very
same question, slightly more calmly.

Round three saw questions on the reneged
funding for the Royal Alberta Museum (Ambrose: We committed $30 million, which
we’re sticking to), cuts to other museums, the “vision” of Downsview that
kicked out the Air and Space Museum, the G8 legacy fund, the digital broadcast
transition, the snow crab fishery, and Quebec being diminished in the House of
Commons under the new seat distribution.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Joyce
Murray
 for her fuchsia jacket with a black skirt and scarf that actually
worked, and Maxime Bernier, whose grey suit was okay, but I liked his blueberry
and blue-striped tie. Style citations go out to Jamie Nicholls for a grey suit
with a pale green shirt and an orange tie, and to both Rathika Sitsabaiesan and Cheryl Gallant for the similar bright orange with grey jacket combination, a
dress in Sitsabaiesan’s case and a top in Gallant’s.

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