The House came back with a comparative whimper as opposed to a vengeance; everyone was rather well behaved. Even Elizabeth May thought so: when I chatted with her after question period, she mentioned that she appreciated seeing Conservative MPs shush some of their bellowing fellows.
A couple of notable member's statements kicked things off – Mario Silva talked about the passing of George Vari, while Navdeep Bains spoke about the kirpan and the fact that he wears one in the House of Commons (referencing the controversy about it a couple of weeks ago).
Ignatieff kicked off question period with a pair of questions about the situation in Egypt. This was followed by a trio of questions on corporate tax cuts versus the government’s increasing of payroll taxes (their term for EI premiums), which the Conservatives vehemently denied they were doing (though it was likely the framing of the increase in such a manner they really objected to). Gilles Duceppe and Daniel Paillé badgered the government about tax harmonization in Quebec, and Jack Layton asked about corporate tax cuts, meandering through reminiscences of his January tour along the way. (Incidentally, the chief economist of Statistics Canada punches a whole bunch of holes in all the rhetoric on all sides about said corporate tax cuts.)
Scott Brison kicked off round two with questions on tax cuts versus investments in healthcare, and Marc Garneau brought up the issue of F-35s being unable to refuel in midair, given our current equipment. Jean Dorion asked about previous encouragement this government made with regard to investments in Tunisia. Maria Minna hectored the government about how their “delaying” a Bloc bill on white-collar criminals allowed a notorious one to get parole after serving only a sixth of his sentence, to which Vic Toews whined that they had inherited a justice system “riddled with loopholes.” It’s always the Liberals’ fault. When Maria Minna then asked about cuts to immigrant settlement services, Jason Kenney went on a tirade about how the Liberals short-changed those settlement services in their tenure (again, always the Liberals’ fault. Seriously, guys, it’s been five years. That line is more than stale). And Todd Russell raised the heartbreaking case of a boy in his riding with leukemia, saying it shows the need for more compassionate care.
Round three saw questions about the government’s tepid response to Egypt, Peter Kent’s tepid commitment to the environment, questions of our handling of the UAE situation, head shots in hockey, anti-gang funding being cut, the Quebec City arena and the ongoing situation with US Steel.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Martha Hall Findlay for a nicely tailored black dress with daring red-tartan tights and killer black boots. The style citation goes out to Albina Guarnieri for a boxy yellow jacket with black buttons and a black skirt. What have we said about yellow and black? Stop it. Another citation goes out to Yvon Lévesque for his charcoal suit, orange shirt and blue striped tie. Not so good. I also wanted to express my concern for Alexandra Mendes, who showed up wearing a blue surgical mask; I hope that she’s feeling okay.
CBC looks at the current evacuation of Canadians from Egypt, comparing the operation to the evacuation of Canadian citizens from Lebanon.
With hostile 10 percenters now verboten to MPs, it looks like parties are trying to get around that rule by having them sent out by way of the Senate. This looks to be an exclusively Conservative practice to date, but I’m sure we’ll start hearing more about it soon.
And finally, in the ongoing war between the press gallery and the PMO, Lawrence Cannon walked out of a press conference on Sunday regarding the situation in Egypt. It was a very big faux pas and is setting back relations yet again.