QP: Scary trade deficits!

Yesterday, everyone was up in arms about a fictional carbon tax. Today, it was that trade deficits sound scary. Thomas Mulcair started off QP by reading off a questions premised on the fact that when Harper took office there was a trade surplus (for which the Liberals applauded themselves), and now there was a trade deficit caused by an “artificially high dollar.” Harper shrugged and said that such a deficit existed for “complex reasons,” but hey, they didn’t want an NDP carbon tax! And after Mulcair hammered after the trade deficit, he then read off questions about unemployment, for which Harper touted his government’s job creation record and listed a number of programmes they implemented.  Nowhere in this did anybody mention that we have a trade deficit largely because of weak global demand due to Eurozone uncertainty and slowing growth in the Chinese economy, coupled by a high dollar – but hey, the word “deficit” sounds bad, so we must capitalise on that rather than realising that a trade deficit isn’t actually what you think it is. Onward, Marc Garneau was up for the Liberals, asking about youth unemployment rather than the government trying to change the channel. Harper repeated his line about job creation. And when Garneau asked specific questions on making tax credits refundable and rolling back new payroll taxes? Harper answered with the accusation that the Liberals didn’t support their plans to lower taxes (which they loudly denied), and that the father of the carbon tax, Stéphane Dion, was sitting right behind him.

Round two started off with Peter Julian and Hélène LeBlanc tag-teaming about the Nexen-CNOOC deal (Paradis: We’ve made targeted amendments to the Investment Act), Don Davies asked about the secrecy around the European Union free trade negotiations, particularly around pharmaceuticals (Fast: These negotiations are actually open and we’re acting in the best interests of Canada), Jack Harris asked about the investigation into a soldier’s suicide (MacKay: Let the ongoing process finish), Djaouida Sellah asked about mental health professionals in the Canadian Forces (MacKay: We’ve increased funding but there’s a shortage across the country), and Matthew Kellway asked for an open competition for replacement fighter jets (Ambrose: Did you hear about our secretariat?). Roger Cuzner asked once again about EI clawbacks, but Diane Finley responded to a different question entirely by talking about how employers need workers. Carolyn Bennett asked about First Nations education funding (Van Loan: We’re working for the First Nations), and Kirsty Duncan lamented the disarray at our ozone monitoring facilities (Kent: We’re world leaders!). Alexandre Boulerice and Charlie Angus closed off the round by asking about changes to the Lobbying Act (Clement: We’ve accepted most of the recommendations of the all-party report and are getting legal opinions on the rest), and Nigel Wright’s dealings with Barrick Gold (Poilievre: You guys took illegal union donations!).

Round three saw questions on the long-gun registry data, the orders for CBSA to stop searching for drugs at border exits (Toews: How dare you ask this question when you’re soft on crime!), fleet separation policy, Old Age Security, Fantino’s claims that CIDA’s budget wasn’t cut when clearly it was (Fantino: How dare you exploit the tragedy in Sahel!), First Nations reserves under boiled water advisories, temporary foreign workers, and transferring EI to the provinces – specifically Quebec.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Michelle Rempel for her fitted dark teal dress, and to Blaine Calkins for his dark grey suit with a white shirt and a lilac tie. Style citations go out to Mike Wallace for a chocolate brown suit with a bright yellow shirt (making him look a bit like a walking Nanaimo bar), and to Djaouida Sellah for her black jacket with the orange and brown circles splashed randomly across it. Dishonourable mention goes out to Rosane Doré Lefebvre for a mustard dress with a black jacket.