In the hours leading up to QP, a virtual slap-and-hair-pull fight erupted on the subject of Bill S-10, the drug bill that the Liberals have decided they can no longer stomach. Rob Nicholson gave a press conference, flanked by Julian Fantino and the head of a police association, where the gist was basically to let us lock everyone up forever because it’ll save on the costs to crime victims. Or something like that. Mark Holland followed that up with a statement about prisons as crime factories, while Joe Comartin said that this is pretty much what the rhetoric was in America before they went down the megaprison route.
A few minutes later, Bill Siksay gave a statement to the House about the anniversary of the Toronto bathhouse raids. Scott Brison spoke about financial literacy, which the government is promoting.
Ralph Goodale kicked off QP with a predictable exchange about corporate tax cuts, while Dominic LeBlanc followed it up with an equally predictable exchange over F-35 fighter jets. Gilles Duceppe and Daniel Paillé were back to their favoured old issue of the proposed national securities regulator (by way of the impact of the TSX merger on the Montreal Exchange). Jack Layton followed up the TSX merger questions by wondering if it would indeed pass the “net benefit test” required for major foreign takeovers.
Round two was where things got interesting. Picking up where the morning press conferences left off, Marlene Jennings tore into Nicholson over S-10 and how it replayed Ronald Reagan's failed war on drugs. Nicholson tried to insinuate that passing S-10 would combat date rape because people who traffic in GHB would be in jail rather than on the streets. Seriously. From there, Bob Rae tore into the government over the numerous failures at Rights and Democracy, Paule Brunelle asked about the transport of those contaminated nuclear turbines, and Michel Guimond asked if the federal government would be contributing money to the Quebec City arena. Siobhan Coady inquired about the comments Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant had made about the Coast Guard (suggesting people should be able to rescue themselves, just like people do canoeing on the Ottawa River in her riding). This is an issue personal to Coady as apparently her own father was lost at sea. Geoff Regan finished off the round by demanding to know why a former Conservative candidate was made a judge two months after he abandoned his candidacy. Seriously.
Round three began with questions about why the Senate, rather than the Commons, was being given the mandate to review the health accords. Questioning continued on wastewater regulations, the perimeter security agreement, CCSVI treatment for MS and the access that evangelical Christians have to the government.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Megan Leslie for her charcoal wrap dress with the wide black belt and boots. Good job! Snaps also for Marc Garneau for his grey suit, pale pink shirt and the darker pink tie that he wears so well. The style citation goes out to Judy Sgro’s unfortunate pink turtleneck with the black suit, as well as to Peter MacKay, whose pale green shirt and tie were not only underwhelming, but a bit sickening.
Michael Ignatieff takes to the pages of The Globe and Mail to urge caution on the perimeter security agreement.
Glen Pearson laments how partisanship is devolving into tribalism.
The Canadian Press finds that the official numbers of Afghan school enrolments don’t match the reality on the ground.
And the CBC takes a closer look at the issue of raising the fee charged for pardons to $631 from $150 (which was $50, just a short while ago).