With both Mulcair and Rae out of the House, the question hovered as to whether Stephen Harper would even bother answering a question today, as he often won’t bother unless asked by another party leader. But when Megan Leslie, in her capacity as part of the deputy leader trilogy, stood up to ask about that troubling instance of DND retroactively changing a parliamentary report once it had been tabled, Harper did stand up to answer. Well, to say “answer” is a bit charitable, considering he avoided the question all together and shrugged about contracts not having been signed and no money spent on any acquisitions, but didn’t really talk about the issue at hand. And Leslie, incidentally, performed much better than Mulcair on any given day, with minimal checking of notes and clear delivery rather than reading from a lectern. Snaps for that. Jack Harris was up next, asking about cuts to mental health services for the Canadian Forces, but Peter MacKay told him that he was mistaken and that they were moving a clinic to Petawawa for that very issue. Marc Garneau was up for the Liberals, retuning to the question of the contradiction of the Deputy Minister of Defence not accepting the Auditor General’s report when the government does, to which Harper assured him that it wasn’t what the Deputy Minister said, but that he was disputing a specific item. John McKay finished off the round by wondering why the government authorised the release of low-balled F-35 costs in 2010, but Harper answered (actually quite surprisingly) and assured him that they were taking a careful look at those costs going forward.
Round two kicked off with Christine Moore and Matthew Kellway asking more questions about the costs of the F-35s going forward (MacKay: You’re just trying to cause confusion!), Alexandre Boulerice and Charlie Angus talking about Cabinet Minister travel costs (Clement indicated they were looking at changes, before he and Angus started trading Rush quotes and song titles, given the presence of the band in the Speaker’s Gallery, as they were receiving Governor General’s Awards), and Jean Crowder asked about a UN Special Rapporteur coming to Canada to look at First Nations communities (John Duncan: Government officials will meet with the Rapporteur). Ralph Goodale wondered what other data the Conservative CIMS database was collecting, and if the government consulted it when looking into ATI requests or other such business (Poilievre: The question is out of order, but while I’m up, let’s talk about the member from Guelph… At which point Goodale shouted out “in other words, Pierre, you’re guilty!”), Hedy Fry wondered about cuts to mental health services in the Forces when suicides are up (MacKay: You’re wrong), and Stéphane Dion asked about one minister saying he’ll support an NDP bill on official languages versus what the minister said (Moore: We’re keeping up our responsibilities around official languages!). Hoang Mai asked Peter Kent about his claims that certain charities were “laundering” funds (Kent: You’ve lost your sense of humour), and Nathan Cullen asked about an oil spill along a BC coastline (Kent: this is minor and the source is being patched).
Round three saw questions about a new code of conduct at Radio-Canada (at which point James Moore pointed to the Gallery and was like “Look everybody! Rush!” much in the same way that one says “Look! Squirrel!”), the NDP private member’s bill on official languages for officers of Parliament, sending the environmental changes in the budget bill to a separate committee, food labelling, charges being brought on SNC-Lavalin executives, cuts to research equipment, shale gas, and a banking ombudsman.
Sartorially speaking, it was a pretty blah day overall, but snaps go out to Kirsty Duncan for an A-line fuchsia dress with a draped neckline, and to Ted Menzies for a dark grey suit with a pink shirt and patterned blue tie. Style citations go out to Kelly Block for a mustard yellow jacket with a too-large white scarf and black trousers, and to Bev Shipley for his black suit with a white shirt and striped yellow-and-black tie.