2 min

QP: The repetition of the viability talking point

In place of Nycole Turmel, it was NDP House
Leader Joe Comartin who was up first in question period today, asking about
raising the age of eligibility for the GIS to 67. Harper answered – which isn’t
always the norm when the leader opposite doesn’t ask the question – or rather
didn’t so much answer as repeat the talking points on no cuts at present but
ensuring the system is viable in the future. Peter Julian brought up the F-35s
versus pensions equivalency (Finley: Same talking points), and Lysane
Blanchette-Lamothe mentioned that she is part of that future generation that is concerned about seniors today, not that Finley’s answer changed any. Bob
Rae brought up the issue of pension reform and the budget; Harper once
again responded with his talking points. For his final question, Rae brought up
comments that Vic Toews made at the Senate committee on legal and constitutional affairs yesterday about how it is the provinces’ faults, for closing down
mental institutions, that we have so many people in prison with mental-health
problems. Toews got up and insisted that no, what he said was that it was a
complex issue and he would prefer that people with mental health issues end up in
proper institutions for care and not prisons.

Round two kicked off with Don Davies
bringing up the whole SunTV fake citizenship ceremony issue; Jason
Kenney accused him of misleading the public and described it as a “small
logistical issue.” That got a huge laugh from the opposition benches. Guy Caron
asked about the resignation of Statistics Canada’s chief economist (Paradis: We
want to thank him for his years of service); Jean Crowder asked about wait
times at Service Canada (Finley: We’re committed to timely delivery!); and
Megan Leslie actually got Joe Oliver to admit that he believes that humans
cause global warming – before he returned to his “jobs, jobs, jobs!” mantra, as
though he were Jean Chrétien circa 1992. Judy Sgro asked about the OAS issue
(Finley: Rote talking point); Brison brought in the dimension of rural
Canadians, and those who had to retire early for health reasons but found their
savings destroyed in the 2008 collapse (Finley: Don’t attack the intelligence
of rural Canadians!); and Justin Trudeau asked about EI delays (Finley: Timely
service!). Françoise Boivin then asked about the death penalty and abortion debates, and got into a shouting match with Rob Nicholson around the report on the ombudsman for victims of crime's report.

Round three started off with Dany Morin and
Randall Garrison again asking about airline regulations affecting trans
people, and while the Conservative backbenches weren’t snickering and laughing
at it today, Lebel’s answer about 9/11 and safety did not change. Other
questions included asbestos, the aforementioned fake citizenship ceremony, the
closure of Maritime rescue centres, response times for a lost teenager along
the Labrador coast, halibut quotas, fisheries management, Quebec ice wine
regulations, and pipeline hearings.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to James
 for his chocolate-brown suit with a pink shirt and purple tie, and to Rosane Doré Lefebvre for her tailored grey jacket and skirt with a white
shirt and the blue-patterned scarf that was just on this side of acceptable as
far as scarves go. Style citations go out to both Matthew Dubé and Raymond Côté for the fluorescent shirt/black suit combination (green for Dubé, blue for
Côté), and to Patricia Davidson for a fairly awful two-toned blue smock over
her black top.

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