While Thomas Mulcair was busy touring the Alberta oil sands, Nathan Cullen was once again holding the fort in Ottawa, and his lead series of questions were on the objections of those former Conservative fisheries ministers to the changes of the Act in the omnibus budget bill. Stephen Harper assured him that these changes were getting more committee study than ever, and that they would ensure a thorough and efficient review process. Cullen then brought up the upcoming website blackout protest and the attack on charities, but Harper shrugged it off, saying that most charities follow the rules and this was just ensuring that remains the case. Peggy Nash lamented that the government was offering no environmental leadership, to which Peter Kent reminded her that all three ministers showed up at the subcommittee for two hours! Except no, it was only for one hour, and it was a surprise appearance with almost no prior notice, and three ministers at once means that you can’t really get any substantive answers, but hey, details. Bob Rae asked about Rona Ambrose’s comments on the need to come with a new procurement process, and indicated that the government needed to take another step back in order to actually have some defence and foreign affairs policies in order before we decide what kind of planes we need. Harper simply retorted that at least his government was doing procurement, unlike the Liberals did. When John McKay asked for an open, fair and transparent competition for the fighter procurement, Jacques Gourde delivered Rona Ambrose’s talking points for her.
Round two started off with Robert Chisholm and Anne Minh-Thu Quach asking again about those fisheries comments (Kamp quoted parts of the 1986 Fisheries policies of the former minister being cited), Anne-Marie Day, Chris Charlton, and Mike Sullivan asked after the EI changes (Finely: EI will be there for those who need it), and Pat Martin asked about the repeal of the Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act being repealed in the omnibus budget (Leitch – who was desperately signalling that she wanted to answer it – explained that they were streamlining and eliminating red tape). Marc Garneau asked about the F-35 competition (Fantino: Decade of Darkness! Lethargic Liberals!), Kirsty Duncan asked about the government attack on scientists, relating it to the upcoming website blackout (Baird: Your website is blacked out because you’re irrelevant! And the NDP benches clapped gleefully), and Stéphane Dion asked about the fisheries changes (Kamp: This is all about modernisation). Alexander Boulderice and Charlie Angus closed the round asking why Bev Oda’s expenses were changed (Oda: All inappropriate incremental costs were repaid; Van Loan: Didn’t you listen to her answer?)
Round three saw questions on Canadian mining companies’ corporate social responsibility abroad, engaging Russia on Syria, EI changes, DFO positions being moved to the minister’s riding, VIA Rail cuts, rural secretariat cuts, First Nations cuts, and Quebec artefacts being “expropriated” to Ottawa.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Greg Rickford for a tailored charcoal suit with a light lavender shirt and striped tie, and to Judy Foote for a fitted black dress with a black jacket. Style citations go out to Jinny Sims for her green sequin top with a purple smock with green trim and purple trousers, and to Jean Rousseau for a fluorescent blue shirt and grey suit. Dishonourable mentions to Rathika Sitsabaiesan for her mustard jacket with brown top and black trousers, Olivia Chow for a black dress with a lemon yellow sweater, and Joyce Bateman for a black top and lemon yellow jacket. The Christine Moore shiny watch reports a sparkly black dress with a high collar and long sleeves, that looked like someone took a Microsoft “warp speed” screensaver and turned it into fabric.