QP: McJobs and the race to the bottom

The final MP to give a member’s statement for the day was Ted Opitz, embattled MP whose election results were overturned, and who decided earlier in the day to appeal to the Supreme Court at the last minute. As soon as he stood up to give a perfunctory attack against the NDP and their “reckless economic policies,” a voice shouted from the Liberal benches “Are you still here?” Apparently so.

And when Thomas Mulcair rose to begin QP, he prompted that perhaps Opitz may want to listen carefully as he may soon be seeking EI – before he went into a tale about how manufacturing jobs were being replaced with “McJobs.” John Baird, today’s back-up PM, lamented Mulcair’s lack of commitment to the “new civility” before he touted how great the new EI measures were going to be. Mulcair followed up with comparisons between the EI reforms and Conservative patronage appointments, not that Baird took the bait, but instead delivered his talking points about individual circumstances being considered. Megan Leslie was up next to also take on EI, with a bit more of a spin on seasonal industries, to which Diane Finley gave some slightly modified talking points, making it clear that this was good news for Canadians who want to work but who just need more information on where those jobs are. Bob Rae turned to the issue of the looming back-to-work legislation, and wondered why the government wouldn’t allow for both sides to appear before a committee to explain their situation before the government drops the hammer. Lisa Raitt lamented that when the Liberals once tried this, the matter got tied up in committee by the opposition – to which the Liberal benches roared that her party was the opposition at the time – not that it seemed to matter. Rae returned to the issue of EI and the lack of consultation with the premiers, to which Baird reminded everyone about what a terribly premier Rae had been, as though it was germane to the topic at hand.

Round two kicked off with Anne-Marie Day, Chris Charlton and Yvon Godin asking further questions about the EI changes, not that Diane Finely changed her talking points at all, and Alexandre Boulerice asked about the back-to-work legislation taking the rights away from workers as it races “to the bottom” (Raitt: We’re focused on the economic impact). Scott Brison asked about David Wilks comments and asked that the omnibus budget bill be split (Menzies: Yay Economic Action Plan™!), Carolyn Bennett lamented that the former Reform party had lost its zeal for democracy with this omnibus bill (Menzies: Did you hear the good news about our Economic Action Plan™?), and Joyce Murray asked about the closure of the Kitsilano search-and-rescue station (Ashfield: We’re not reducing service, and there will be an inshore boat station). Robert Chisholm asked about the closure of the Freshwater Institute (Ashfield: We’re still committed to freshwater research), and Fin Donnelly repeated Murray’s question, and got the same answer.

Round three saw questions on the ignored recommendations for the “culture capitals” funding, possible cuts to tax centres in Jonquière and Shawinigan, more questions on the EI changes and seasonal industries, the move to end the F-35 inquiry in the Public Accounts committee, that ruling on veterans clawbacks (MacKay: You’ll get an answer soon), shale gas concerns, and nuclear disarmament.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to habitual good dresser James Bezan for his tailored dark grey suit with a pale lavender shirt and a rich purple tie and pocket square, and to Judy Foote for a short black dress and short grey jacket. Style citations go out to Joy Smith for her cougarific leopard print dress and linen jacket, and to Pierre Dionne Labelle for a grey jacket, khaki trousers, faded grey shirt and maroonish tie. Dishonourable mentions to Michelle Rempel for a dusky mustard skirt with a black top and jacket, and to Gail Shea for a lemon yellow top with a black printed smock.