QP: First day of school

After an all-too predictable joking statement on the government legislating and end to the NHL lockout, and numerous Conservative statements on the fictional NDP “carbon tax,” Thomas Mulcair started off Question Period by citing things like the trade deficit while wondering if Harper would change his economic strategy. Harper spoke about the uncertain global economy, but gave no indication that he was willing to make any changes. Mulcair asked about the government cutting services during times of such high unemployment. Harper countered with the figure of three-quarters of a million net new jobs. Mulcair cited all of the instability in the European and American economies. Harper reminded him that Canada wasn’t the cause of that uncertainty, and hey, we’re the stable ones. Oh, Mulcair said, don’t get too caught up in “Fortress Canuck” when you should be protecting Canadian jobs. Better us than your tax hikes, Harper retorted, which was pretty much the same reply when Mulcair asked about whether or not he would meet with the premiers. Ralph Goodale was up for the Liberals, first asking about programmes to help young Canadians, to which Harper chided that while the NDP have bad ideas, at least they have some, unlike the Liberals. Goodale then asked a technical questions about financing cooperatives, but Harper ignored it and gave a rote talking point about the economy and lower taxes. Goodale closed off by asking about income inequality, to which Harper reminded him that they lowered the GST by two points for all Canadians.

Round two kicked off with Hélène LeBlanc and Peter Julian asking about the “net benefit” test around the CNOOC-Nexen deal, Julian giving this rather jaundiced view of what the role of a lobbyist is (Paradis: We’ll take no lessons from the NDP), Christine Moore asked about the disagreement between DND and the Auditor General on the F-35s (Ambrose: We’ve accepted that report and hey, look at our secretariat!), Matthew Kellway hinted about the fact that KPMG may be a conflict of interest around the F-35 audits, but didn’t actually say it outright (Ambrose: Seven-point plan™! Secretariat!), Alexandre Boulerice and Charlie Angus asked about Nigel Wright’s possible ethical violations, Angus inviting the Conservatives to “work with them” on new accountability legislation (Poilievre: We already have those laws – it’s called the Federal Accountability Act, which you broke with your illegal union donations), and Linda Duncan wondered about the absent reporting on Economic Action Plan™ advertising (Clement: The report will come in due course). Roger Cuzner and Judy Foote asked about new EI clawbacks affecting those who get part-time work (Finley ignored the specifics of the question and gave a generic message of supporting people on EI), and Lise St-Denis asked about changes to EI appeals (Finley: We have public servants assigned as specialists to this role). Megan Leslie and Guy Caron asked about the future of the Experimental Lakes Area (Kent: We’re trying to get another consortium to run them), and Kennedy Stewart asked the government to name one decision is made based on science (Goodyear: Look at how much we fund science and research!).

Round three saw questions about drought relief for farmers, job cuts in the public service, robo-calls, fleet separation, gun registry data being deleted, the closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard station, the status of heritage lighthouses “across this country” (err, except that big swath in the middle, one would think), and whether the government would appeal that gun registry decision in Quebec (Bernier: Yes).

After QP, it was announced that Joe Comartin would be the new Deputy Speaker – despite his virtually non-existent French – which the House adopted pretty much unanimously, which was a bit curious.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Rona Ambrose for her textured grey dress with a black belt and jacket, and to Maxime Bernier for his chocolate suit with a pale blue shirt and peach tie and pocket square. Style citations go out to Raymond Côté for a fluorescent blue shirt/grey suit violation, and to Isabelle Morin for her shapeless red, black and white patterned top under a black jacket. Dishonourable mention to Bal Gosal for a black suit with a yellow shirt.