Bob Rae
3 min

QP: Sisters are doing it for themselves

It being International Women’s Day, the NDP
took the opportunity to let the women in their caucus shine and had an
all-woman question period. While the Liberals have done so in the past (or at
least the leader and then only women afterward), they didn’t participate today.
The result, however, was another of those scattershot days with little actual
engagement on an issue as they wanted to spread out questions as much as
possible, which just made it all the more difficult to follow coherently.
Nycole Turmel started off by praising Harper for agreeing to support their
opposition day motion on giving the chief electoral officer more powers and
wondered if Harper would promise to introduce legislation to put it into effect
within six months. Harper didn’t answer, but went on about not seeing any
reason for all the parties to cooperate with the CEO. But did Turmel call
Harper on his non-answer? No. She stuck to her script and turned to the topic
of harassing calls made by RMG to Quebec ridings. Harper said he was aware of a
single case of an employee being fired before the election and left it at
that. Libby Davies followed up and asked the same thing in English; Dean Del Mastro replied by repeating Harper’s answer. Rae, however, called out Harper’s
initial non-answer and wanted to know if Harper would introduce legislation
shortly. Harper encouraged “constructive” and “detailed” proposals from the
opposition and left it at that. For his last supplemental, Rae asked about
drug shortages, to which Harper gave the approved party line about provinces
sole-sourcing drug contracts (neglecting to mention that the one company in
question is the only manufacturer of some of those drugs. Oops).

Round two kicked off with Françoise Boivin
again asking about those harassing calls from RMG (Poilievre: They fired the
employee in question) and the voting irregularities in Eglinton-Lawrence
(Uppal: Elections Canada should take a close look at the riding – but seemed to
intimate it was because of something to do with Joe Volpe); Chris Charlton
returned to the harassing RMG calls (Del Mastro: Smears!); Irene Mathyssen and
Alice Wong had a script-off about poor senior women; Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe
asked about the OAS cuts (Finley delivered her standard talking points); Anne-Marie
Day asked about cuts to researching women’s equality (Truppe: Look at the
millions we’ve spent on Status of Women!); Ruth-Ellen Brosseau wondered how
long women had to wait for the government to address their concerns (Truppe:
Millions of dollars spent!); Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet asked something about Treasury
Board creating shock-troops (sorry guys – I didn’t catch it all, and Tony
Clement’s answer didn’t really help me put it into any kind of context). Judy
Sgro asked about the “voter augmentation” used in Eglinton-Lawrence (Uppal:
Parties don’t register voters), and Joyce Murray and Ted Hsu asked about those
two-stage robo-calls, citing more specific examples (Del Mastro: Smears!).
Christine Moore asked about Canadian troops training at a Blackwater/Xe
facility on a sole-source contract (MacKay: They have technical ranges we don’t
have here), and Marie-Claude Morin and Charmaine Borg asked about double bunking
in prison facilities (Hoeppner: This is another example of the NDP being more
concerned about the morale of prisoners than victims' rights. No, seriously,
she said that!).

Round three saw questions on Senator Larry
Smith’s change of heart regarding the Suzuki Foundation, drug shortages, a
malfeasance case at HRSD, and aboriginal and Inuit women. Bob Rae got back up to
blast Diane Finley about OAS cuts affecting low-income women who couldn’t
afford to “adjust their plans” (Finley responded with more bluster). There were questions about immigrant women and protests to a particular Quebec project that apparently
has been subject to a Supreme Court ruling that ruled it in federal

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Maxime Bernier for his tailored grey pinstripe suit with a white shirt,
patterned blue tie and a white pocket square, and to Lisa Raitt for her black
jacket with the white piping and a white collared shirt. Style citations go to Sylvain
 for a blueberry shirt and tie with a light grey suit, which did not go
well together, and to Olivia Chow for her hateful orangey-yellow jacket with a
black top and trousers.

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