Irene Mathyssen
2 min

QP: Time-saving advice

Nycole Turmel kicked off question period
by giving the Conservatives a good laugh, suggesting that if they had simply
followed the NDP on the fiscal situation, they would have saved time, given
that Jim Flaherty was moderating his language when it came to the fiscal
projections. With Harper having just landed in Australia for the Commonwealth
leaders' meeting, Jason Kenney was the designated replacement, responsible for giving
positive talking points about the Economic Action Plan™. When Turmel used her
last question to ask why the government was destroying long-gun registry data,
Kenney read out previous NDP MP quotes in support of killing the registry. Jack
Harris picked up on that line of questioning, to which Vic Toews said they were
destroying the data to prevent the NDP from using the data to rebuild the
registry when they’re in a position to – to which the NDP benches burst into a
round of “In four years!” (Did that break the heckle ban?) Bob Rae asked
why the government was appointing a unilingual auditor general, and the heated
back-and-forth with Kenney was basically to the effect of “We appointed him on
the basis of merit!” with the retort “Was there no one qualified who was
bilingual in the whole of Canada? Unacceptable!”

Round two kicked off with Jean Crowder
asking why one in four calls to Service Canada were not being answered,
followed by the same question from Claude Patry, Irene Mathyssen and Lysane
Blanchette-Lamothe. (What were we saying about unnecessary repetition?) To
each of them, Diane Finley responded that no, the cuts to Service Canada
related to moving to automated processing of EI claims and nothing more. From
there, Jasbir Sandhu and Sylvain Chicoine asked about the RCMP contract
negotiations in BC (Toews: We’re encouraged by the progress). Ralph Goodale
asked a raft of finance-related questions (EI premiums, RRSP reform for
seniors, refundable tax credits), to which Flaherty responded with the good
economic news about our AAA rating, and Francis Scarpaleggia asked about that
long-gun registry data that Quebec wants (Toews: Coalition menace!). Peggy Nash
asked about jobs (Flaherty: Yay, our programs) and David Christopherson asked
once again about the possibility of military base closures (MacKay: The only
person who raised this possibility was a Liberal senator).

Round three saw questions on the G8 legacy
fund (for which Pierre Poilievre remained the backup Baird); a question from
Liberal Sean Casey directed to the chair of the veterans affairs committee about planned secret meetings (which the minister answered with bland
talking points, and yes, this is now a matter the Speaker is looking into); priority
vaccinations for firefighters in a pandemic; the Wheat Board; accessibility
for disabled people; the Toronto ban on shark fins; homelessness in smaller
centres; and the gun registry data.

Sartorially speaking, I’m not giving any
snaps today because it was a pretty bland day in the House. Style citations are
going out to Blaine Calkins for his bright orange shirt and striped tie with
his black suit (few people can wear orange, and not only are you not one of
them, you don’t even have the NDP credentials excuse in your defence), and Cheryl
Gallant
 for her silver lamé jacket with a black top – because apparently,
Gallant rocks it Buck Rogers style.

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