As the NDP’s budget filibuster – for lack of a better term – continues, it was little surprise that Thomas Mulcair decided to start off today’s Question Period by reading off a trio of questions about the budget and jobs, careful to mention the Aveos job losses and forthcoming public sector cuts. As Harper was off in Washington for a “Three Amigos” meeting, we were instead treated to Peter Van Loan as designated replacement PM for the day, who touted the focus on job creation and economic growth in the budget, and that the NDP’s plan for higher taxes would kill those jobs. Peter Julian got up to ask about the public service cuts, to which Jim Flaherty replied that Julian should read all about the job creation hiring credit within the budget. Bob Rae stood up to ask a pair of questions about why Flaherty thought it was acceptable to attack the province of Ontario’s finances, but Van Loan did not answer, but simply kept trying to assert that Rae was a terrible premier back in his day. For his final question, Rae asked about the “special allowance” given to retired Prime Ministers, but Van Loan insisted that the budget was clear that MP pensions would be brought into line with those of the private sector.
Round two kicked off with Robert Chisholm calling the budget “mean-spirited” (Flaherty: Look at the long-term growth projections!), Wayne Marston and Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe asking about OAS pensions and downloading costs to the provinces (Leitch: We’re acting responsibly!), Libby Davies asked about the so-called cuts to health transfers (Aglukkaq: We’re not cutting transfers), and Hélène LeBlanc asked about the changes coming to the National Research Council (Paradis: We’ve doubled some research funds!). Marc Garneau and Justin Trudeau asked about the suggestions by Conservative MPs of incompetence at Elections Canada at the Procedure and House Affairs committee last week, and about their budget cuts (Uppal: We supported the motion in the House; Van Loan: They assured us they have all the resources they need), and John McKay asking about the forthcoming Auditor General’s report on the F-35s (Fantino: Wait for the report). Matthew Kellway and Christine Moore asked about the F-35 process (Fantino: We need replacement planes), and Jack Harris and Ryan Cleary asked about that search and rescue failure in Labrador (McKay: The Canadian Forces tries to respond to these requests).
Round three saw questions on the Northern Gateway Pipeline approval process, killing the Public Appointments Commission Secretariat, the environmental cuts in the budget (Kent: The budget proves how committed we are to the environment! Yes, indeed it does), Bell planning to double payphone rates to a dollar per call, the letter to Peter MacKay written by a former search and rescue technician about the impact of the changes, unilingual Anglophone IRB judges (Dykstra: Do you want us to fire the unilingual francophone ones in Quebec too?), cuts to the Council of Welfare, and environmental assessments with future airport construction.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Jonathan Genest-Jourdain for his grey suit with a white shirt a somewhat whimsical purple tie, and to Lisa Raitt for her tailored black leather jacket with a striped white collared shirt. Style citations go out to Maxime Bernier for a black suit with a yellow shirt and pocket square, with a red tie, and to Linda Duncan for a creation that appeared to be patchwork, but I can’t much describe it beyond that. Glance askance over to Christine Moore, whose love of shiny metallic ensembles was demonstrated today by a top that was comprised entirely of silver sequins.
And in case you missed it, this little rhyme from Liberal MP Roger Cuzner had everyone in the House laughing before QP got started.