Dean Del Mastro
2 min

QP: Robo-calls rule the day

There was a sense of definite frisson in
the House for a Monday, which often tend to be sleepy. Harper was present
(unusual for a Monday), and the press gallery was full for a change, and we
waited for the robo-call questions to be answered. And then Nycole Turmel
stood . . . and meandered around the issues of voter suppression and wondering what
Harper wants to do to increase voter turnout instead. And Harper stood up and
denied any knowledge of what had gone on and asked the NDP to turn over to
Elections Canada what information they had. Pat Martin got up to deliver
bluster and hyperbole (and suggestions that it wasn’t the gunman in the book
depository that killed JFK) over said robo-calls, with the added demand that
the Conservatives turn over information on their connections to Campaign
Research, but Dean Del Mastro got up to repeat Harper’s lines. Bob Rae got his
turn and made a much more forceful demand that Harper take personal
responsibility for the robo-call issue, but Harper continued to proclaim
innocence and repeated yet again the call for the Liberals to turn over what
information they had, and oh yeah, their reliance on baseless attacks were what
lost them the election, apparently.

Alexandre Boulerice and Charlie Angus each
kept up the robo-call questions, adding in RackNine’s involvement (Poilievre
delivered Harper’s lines in French, and Del Mastro in English), and when Angus
changed topics to the lawful access bill, Toews continued to allege that Angus
hasn’t actually read the bill. You know, like he did. Guy Caron wondered about
a conflict of interest with a Service Canada centre being set up in Rimouski
(Finley: The site was chosen by officials based on the lowest bid), and Olivia
Chow asked about the VIA Rail derailment yesterday (Lebel: Transport Canada
will provide TSB with assistance). Frank Valeriote, Carolyn Bennett and Marc
Garneau returned to the robo-call issue, Bennett going so far as to call for an
end to the “I am not a crook” rhetoric, to which Del Mastro informed her that
voter turnout was actually up this election. Dan Harris asked about the hospitality
for those European bureaucrats but styled them as Harper’s “insider friends,”
which was a bit much (Del Mastro: The event was in keeping with international
protocol), and Matthew Kellway asked about more F-35 delays (Fantino gave his
best impression of a robo-call while reciting his usual talking points about
how great the F-35s are).

Round three saw questions on Canadian arms
exports, the immigration backlog, muzzling scientists, the loophole of Chinese
investment in Canada undermining the sanctions on Iran, the residential schools
report, the cancellation of a “cellphone plan calculator,” drug shortages,
francophone disaster-claims assistance, and one last shot at calling for a
public inquiry into the robo-calls.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Maxime Bernier for his tailored grey suit with the light-blue shirt and tie,
and to Lisa Raitt for her black top with a trim black leather jacket (with what
I believe was a faux snakeskin pattern). Style citations go out to LaVar Payne for a grey suit with a white-collared black shirt and a white tie, and to Ève
Péclet
 for a fuchsia jacket with a sheer black top that one could see through
on the television. Possibly not
appropriate for the House.

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