John Baird
3 min

QP: Turmel’s first kick

The first question period of the new
sitting kicked off with a different face – Nycole Turmel, now the interim
leader of the Official Opposition, faced off against Stephen Harper and asked
him about his rosy economic outlook. Harper calmly stood up and reassured her
that he was focusing on the economy. Turmel then asked two questions demanding
a job strategy from Harper – because apparently she’s Barack Obama – while
Harper assured her that there are now more people working than there were before
the recession (obvious qualifiers about part-time work not mentioned). Peggy
Nash took a turn, decrying the structural deficit created by corporate tax cuts
(err, except it was actually created by cutting the GST) and demanded a job
strategy. Jim Flaherty assured her that we’re the envy of other economies. Bob
Rae asked two questions about the economy contracting and whether the
government would be producing a fall economic statement, to which Harper went
on a tear about not raising taxes, and not answering the question. Rae’s final
question was about the Buy American provisions in Obama’s new jobs plan versus
the perimeter security agreement he was negotiating, to which Harper assured
him that he would be opposing such protectionist measures.

Charlie Angus kicked off round two with
theatrical accusations about the G8 legacy fund and the auditor general’s
report therein, and just as before, John Baird again stood up to deflect the
question. But doesn’t Baird have a different job, you might be asking? Like
foreign affairs? No, it is always Baird’s job to deflect fire from other
ministers, as he did with subsequent questions from Alexandre Boulerice and
Claude Gravelle. Mathieu Ravignat asked about the Conservative ministers’ uses
of Challenger jets (MacKay: They’re for public business only!), and Jack Harris
asked about the chief of defence staff’s use of said jets, to which Harper
stood up to say that he’s spoken to the CDS about his expectations. (Does
anyone else worry that once again Harper and the CDS are having a slap fight?)
Scott Brison asked if there would be a jobs plan in the fall economic statement
(Flaherty: Support our budget measures!). Then Frank Valeriote and Kevin
Lamoureux asked about the plebiscite on the Canadian Wheat Board, to which
Gerry Ritz told Valeriote that it was a glorified survey, and Harper again got
up to answer Lamoureux, saying that the CWB picked its own voters for the
plebiscite, and the Liberals may want to consider doing the same if they hope
to get another seat in the West. Err, snap? And then Jamie Nicholls and Hoang
Mai asked about corporate tax cuts versus crumbling Montreal infrastructure
(Champlain Bridge *drink!*) to which Denis Lebel touted how much money the
government had poured into such projects.

Round three saw questions on the CWB, the
Bob Dechert affair (Van Loan: Nothing to see here!), the failure to reach a tax
harmonization compensation agreement with Quebec by Sept 15
(Paradis: Look at this list of things we’ve done for Quebec already!), the
shifting of border infrastructure funds to the G8 Legacy Fund, oil sands
regulations (Kent: Our plan is working!), closing rural Service Canada centres
(Finley: These were just temporary workers), the Toronto waterfront plans, and
Quebec getting more seats to keep up its proportion when the redistribution
happens (Uppal: We’re governing for all Canadians!).

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Lisa
Raitt
 for her black jacket with white piping and a ruffled white top beneath
that actually worked (unlike 99 percent of all ruffled tops). Style citations
go out to Cathy McLeod for her terrible white jacket with the floral pattern
and sparkles. Sorry, but no. Just… no. A style citation also goes to Jasbir
Sandhu
 for the terrible shade of pinkish faded orange that was his shirt and
tie. Also of note was what appeared to be a biker tattoo peeking out from the
grey short-sleeved belted dress worn by Christine Moore.

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