It may have taken until Thursday, but the face-off between Thomas Mulcair and Stephen Harper finally took place today, and wow, was it pretty lacklustre. Mulcair’s first two questions were about cuts in the budget, and while Harper first congratulated him on his victory, he then brought up his strong mandate to gradually eliminate the deficit, but that they weren’t cutting healthcare or pensions. Mulcair then turned to the issue of Christian Paradis’ ethical lapses, but Harper reminded him that nothing untoward actually happened. Libby Davies and Leona Aglukkaq had another go-around about health transfers, before Bob Rae brought up the logical inconsistencies with the F-35 tendering process. Harper assured him that the numbers coming out of the States were within the contingencies, but there was no signed contract. Rae finished off his round with a question on Paradis, and Harper continued to shrug it off.
Round two opened up with David Christopherson brought up the Chief Electoral Officer’s testimony on the Robocon issue at Procedure and House Affairs (Del Mastro: Baseless smears!), Guy Caron and Charlie Angus asked about Paradis’ numerous ethical lapses (Van Loan: The minister in question does a superb job!), and Olivia Chow, Isabelle Morin, and Jamie Nicholls asked about Aveos job losses (Lebel: We’re disappointed but the legal advice we got says Air Canada is in compliance with the Act). Judy Foote asked about a certain MP advising youths to carry arms – especially young woman to avoid sexual assaults (Toews: We don’t support treating duck hunters as criminals), Dion asked about the appointment of unilingual Anglophone immigration officers (Kenney: The IRB respects the Official Languages Act), and Sean Casey asked about veterans medical records being improperly accessed (Blaney: We’re helping veterans!). Alain Guiguère, Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe, Wayne Marston and Irene Mathyssen asked about OAS cuts (Leitch: It’s unsustainable!).
Round three saw questions on the F-35s, fleet separation policy for East Coast fisheries, Aveos jobs, calls for a Royal Commission on the last election, cut to the CBC (the first question from new NDP MP Craig Scott), which aid groups are on the chopping block next, veterans’ privacy, drug shortages, and “national security” in the Investment Canada Act.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Marc Garneau for his navy pinstriped suit, with a white shirt and purple tie, and to Rona Ambrose for her fitted black leather jacket. Style citations go out to Hélène LeBlanc for her cherry-blossom patterned grey dress and jacket with an awful peach scarf, and Randy Kamp for his fluorescent aqua shirt with grey suit.