QP: The price for being at the table

The G20 over, Harper was back in the House today for what will probably be the penultimate QP of the spring sitting. (All those in favour of getting the blazes out of Ottawa with its oppressive muggy heat, please say ‘yay.’ And so on). Thomas Mulcair, scripted questions waiting on his miniature lectern, led off by asking Harper a trio of questions regarding Canada’s entry into the TPP negotiations, and what exactly we were willing to give up to get to the table. Harper simply reiterated how great the “jobs and growth” agenda was, which trade is a part of. Peggy Nash wondered about how it was the PBO “overstepped” his mandate when not that long ago he was praised for having improved the financial reporting process in Parliament. Tony Clement insisted that a parliamentary committee voted that he wasn’t doing his job – ignoring the context of said report and how it was actually about a turf war the PBO was having with the Parliamentary Librarian. Oops. But then Nash decided to call out Clement to repeat allegations that the PBO wasn’t doing his job – outside of the House! And thus officially ended Nathan Cullen’s promise that he was going to keep the NDP from engaging in the “silly season” that happens around this time of year. Bob Rae was up next and he too wanted to know about the issue of the PBO getting the information he requested, and Harper insisted that they provide all information by the usual means. But for his final question, Rae took everyone by surprise and wondered if Harper was going to be sticking to the planned October 2015 election date given that some seven provinces are also holding elections at that same time. Harper, after joking about the Liberals’ motives for wondering about election timing this far out, said that they were aware of the pile-up and were having discussions with the provinces about it.

Round two kicked off with Megan Leslie asking about the Rio+20 negotiations (Rempel: We are actually world leaders on reductions – and Harper was beaming at the exchange), Peter Julian brought up another leaking pipeline in Alberta and wanted the government to stop “gutting environmental protection” (Oliver: That pipeline is provincial jurisdiction but our new law will strengthen monitoring), Fin Donnelly asked about Coast Guard station closures (Ashfield: There will be no reduction in service), Christine Moore asked about the documents on a soldier’s suicide (MacKay: Let the Military Police Complaints Commission do their work), and Jack Harris followed up on the same question, but his BlackBerry rang while he was mid-question. Twice. Seriously, guys, you know better. Scott Andrews asked bringing Dean Del Mastro before the ethics committee (Poilievre: Repeat your allegations outside the House), Judy Sgro asked about OAS changes (Leitch: There will be no reduction in benefits), and Hedy Fry asked about the closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard station (Ashfield: No reduction in services!). Don Davies and Ruth Ellen Brosseau asked about the TPP negotiations (Fast: Trade is a driver of growth, and we’ll get a balanced outcome), and Libby Davies wondered about healthcare wait times while transfers are being cut (Aglukkaq: We’ve made progress and we have increased transfers to record levels).

Round three saw questions on refugee health benefits being cut, the lack of a strategy on development aid, the Tecumseh cairn in a state of disrepair while other War of 1812 memorials are going on, EI reforms, the ministerial review of the Vitera takeover, OAS changes, the Sherbrooke Airport, and delays in a science vessel for the Quebec coast.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Megan Leslie for a black-and-white patterned slim dress with a short black sweater, and to Scott Brison for a pale white-grey suit with a white shirt and navy tie – perfect for a hot day like today. Style citations go out to LaVar Payne for a black shirt with a white collar and tie and a grey suit, and to Rona Ambrose for her collared grey jacket/top with a tied ribbon cinching up the waistline. The Christine Moore shiny watch reports a black sweater with sequins across the front.