Now that the NDP have declared procedural war on the omnibus budget bill, it quite predictably led off QP. Thomas Mulcair started off with a general question about omnibus legislation, reminding us about Young Stephen Harper’s dislike of them, but Harper was not moved, and instead called the bill a “comprehensive” approach to the Economic Action Plan™. Mulcair then moved on cuts to pensions, food inspection and border services, not that Harper was moved by them. For his last question, Mulcair asked about an incident where an ailing fisherman off the coast of Newfoundland’s radio medical services call was routed to Rome, Italy, and how the government would be putting the lives of Canadians in jeopardy. Harper simply told Mulcair to read the budget, as there were no changes on that file. Bob Rae picked up on that non-answer, and was this time answered by the responsible minister, Keith Ashfield, who insisted that an internationally recognised service provider was used as a backup, as always. Rae moved back to the omnibus budget, and the new powers of that cabinet will be gaining as part of the legislated changes, and called the move “dictatorial.” Harper shrugged it off, and spoke about how much clarity investors will get from these environmental changes – which probably speaks volumes.
Round two kicked off with Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe asking about cuts to departmental auditors (Clement: We have appropriate measures in place), Mathieu Ravignat asked about the lack of responses that departments were giving to the Parliamentary Budget Officer (Clement: We still report to Parliament in the normal process like the Estimates and Public Accounts), Ève Péclet asked about the demise of the Public Appoints Commission (Van Loan: We have a rigorous approach to appointments), Charlie Angus asking about a number of patronage appointments – and mischaracterising what “rum bottle politics” was about in the process (Van Loan: Did you read their qualifications?), and Alexandre Boulerice asked about the political donations of certain SNC-Lavalin executives (Poilievre: We’re transparent, and by the way look at some of your own donations). Marc Garneau asked about the government not signing a contract with MDI over the future of the RADARSAT constellation while the company loses staff due to uncertainty (Paradis: We support the programme but we’re delivering it in a cost-effective way – which was an answer that made no sense at all), and Scott Simms asked after Ashfield’s previous answer on the radio medical services call (Ashfield: They’re a back-up service). Pierre Nantel and Andrew Cash asked about the demise of CBC radio dramas (Moore: We’ve given the CBC record funding!), and Jack Harris asked about those radio medical service calls going to Italy – but rather than building on the minister’s pervious answers, he stuck to the scripted outrage as though the issue had hit a reset button.
Round three saw questions on homelessness funding in Quebec, the EI changes and the undefined “suitable” work provisions, the danger to public safety around prison overcrowding, the federal contaminated sites programme, the slow response to the RCMP sexual harassment investigation, the decline in farms registered by the last agricultural census, a cross-border dispute with a local project, the concerns of the First Nations in northern Manitoba, and cuts affecting Quebec military bases.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Olivia Chow for her dark plum jacket and skirt with a light plum top, and to Blake Richards for his grey suit, white shirt and black and grey patterned tie. Style citations go out to Bal Gosal for a brown suit and tie with a swamp green shirt, and to Ruth Ellen Brosseau for a mustard yellow top with a black skirt and grey sweater. The Christine Moore shiny watch reports a metallic red jacket with a red skirt that had a black lace overlay, and a sparkly red hair band.