With Stephen Harper off in London to celebrate Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee this week, it was up to Jason Kenney to hold the fort in the Commons today as designated back-up PM du jour, a post that will rotate through the front bench all week. Thomas Mulcair, back from his Alberta adventure, was up first in Question Period, and asked why the government was outsourcing its smokestack monitoring to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Kenney replied that they were doing more about air quality “than any other government in the Dominion,” and wondered why the NDP hated Barack Obama. (In the Dominion? Don’t let the Vorta hear that, or they’ll send the Jem’Hadar after you. Oh, I kid). When Mulcair made a dig about Conservative caucus members believing that volcanoes caused climate change, Kenney retorted that the only thing volcanic was Mulcair’s temper. Megan Leslie was up next asking about scrutiny of environmental changes in the omnibus budget bill, but Peter Kent worried that she wasn’t paying attention to all of the great things his government was doing for the environment, like regulations and national parks. Bob Rae was up and gave mention to the “Blackout, speak out” event on the Internet today, and worried about the government’s culture of intimidation. Kenney, in turn, implied that Rae was somehow intimidating his own party. As a final question, Rae extended the culture of intimidation question to the calls being made in Etobicoke Centre over the weekend and the attack on the judicial process therein. Kenney declared that Borys Wrzesnewskyj had no shame, as he was busy fundraising, and then brought up AdScam. Seriously.
Round two kicked off with Peggy Nash wondering about EI changes (Finley: Get off your high horse, we have labour and skills shortages in this country!), she and Guy Caron both wondered about the PBO’s requests for information being denied (Saxton: We’re focused on jobs and growth!), Christine Moore and Matthew Kellway asked about the other two jets that DND considered before the F-35s (Fantino: We have oversight and a Seven-Step Action Plan™ in place), and both Alexandre Boulerice and Charlie Angus took shots at Bev Oda’s spending habits (Van Loan: We’ve dealt with this already). Judy Sgro asked about the reforms needed at the RCMP (Toews: We’ll bring in new legislation which we hope you’ll support), Marc Garneau worried about the government’s commitment to people being jailed over the census when a dyslexic man and his learning-disabled woman were being arrested for failure to complete it (Bernier: We’ve made successful changes to help Canadians fill it out), and Lawrence MacAulay wondered about DFO jobs being moved to the minister’s riding (Kamp: Your facts are wrong, we’re consolidating for efficiencies). Don Davies and Djaouida Sellah asked about the effect of the European Free Trade Agreement on pharmaceutical prices (Keddy: We’re striking a balance), while Dan Harris worried about the job losses from that closed automotive plant in Oshawa (Bernier: Our low-tax plan helps to create wealth and jobs!).
Round three saw questions on the cluster munitions ban, UN concerns over our refugee law changes, the UN report on our “complicity” in torture, the effect of EI changes on needed temporary foreign workers in certain industries, especially if they have specialised knowledge, changes to the Fisheries Act without consulting the provinces, the closures of the Kitsilano Coast Guard station, the closure of the consulate in Buffalo despite our lease in the building, mercury in fish at Grassy Narrows, one veteran’s confusion with his cheques, and cuts to the Community Access Programme.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Jonathan Genest-Jourdain for a tailored light-grey suit, white shirt and indigo tie, and to Michelle Rempel for her light blue fitted long-sleeved dress. Style citations go out to Sadia Groguhé, whose fluorescent yellow/grey/beige/fuchsia jacket looks as though it may have fallen through a time tunnel from 1987, and to Raymond Coté for a black jacket with a fluorescent blue shirt, light blue tie, and grey trousers.