QP: Mulcair follows his script

With the NDP front bench once again being filled by its regular denizens, I’m sure that there were a few disappointed faces among backbenchers normally relegated to the nosebleeds who would no longer get to be on seat-filler duty, but it was all smiles and applause for new party leader Thomas Mulcair, and for the former leadership candidates who each made a Member’s Statement to congratulate Mulcair and to thank their campaigns for all of their hard work.

When Mulcair did rise to start off QP, he read off his questions from the papers on his desk, and asked about job losses, first from Electro-Motive in London and now Aveos, and just what did the government intend to do about it. In what is likely to be the pattern to come, he asked the first two in French, and the final in English. James Moore was the designated back-up PM for the day – as Harper is still in Asia – and he assured the House that their government had created over 600,000 net new jobs since they began the Economic Action Plan™. Libby Davies followed up – the choice of her order in the rotation fully symbolic of unity in the party – and she asked about the provinces being “short-changed” some $31 billion in health transfers. Leona Aglukkaq assured her that funding was at record levels, unlike how the Liberals gutted transfers. Bob Rae then got up for the Liberals and returned to the Aveos question, and unscripted and showing Mulcair’s wooden performance up, wondered why the laws around Air Canada’s maintenance obligations weren’t being followed if that’s what was important. Moore referred him to the transport minister’s previous statement, and tried for a few digs, not that Rae was biting.

Round two kicked off with Peter Julian decrying the attempt to download costs onto the provinces, and which both Flaherty and Leitch played down, Jean Crowder asked about EI services in amidst the Aveos layoffs (Leitch: We’ve added resources and delivered for Canadians!), Yvon Godin carefully read out a scripted question about Lisa Raitt and Air Canada employees (Raitt – whose body language was one of no tolerance – reminded Godin that the incident and statements ascribed to her were untrue and to kindly stop repeating them), Alexandre Boulerice and Charlie Angus asked about the “leaks” in the “Pierre Poutine” affaire (Poilievre: usual spin, Del Mastro referred to Angus as the “Member for 8 Mile,” and worried about the “bad rap” he as giving things), before Angus and then Guy Caron went after Christian Paradis for the Ethics breach he was found in (Paradis: No contract was awarded, I’ll take future precautions). Denis Coderre and Kevin Lamoureux asked again about the Aveos issue (Lebel: We’re waiting for Transport Committee to report), while Christine Moore and Matthew Kellway asked about the F-35s (Fantino: You don’t know what you’re talking about), and Malcolm Allen asked about the dismantling of the Wheat Board and the potential sale of Vitera (Anderson: Look at all the marketing freedom!).

Round three saw questions on fish habitats, muzzled scientists, the ethics ruling against Paradis and the tone of his response (Paradis in turn read his very same talking points word-for-word), the search-and-rescue failure in Labrador, payment regulations, the ongoing drug shortage (Aglukkaq: We opened up our stockpile and no province has made any requests), and the language of immigration officers.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to James Bezan, who continues to show how simple tailoring can make a black suit look great, and he wore that with a shirt of the palest purple with a black tie, and a white pocket square, and to Michelle Rempel, for a simple long-sleeved black dress with a tasteful chunky black chain necklace. Style citations go out to James Lunney for a fluorescent blue shirt and grey suit, and to Denise Savoie, for a rather swampy green and brown wave-patterned jacket with a collared white shirt.