QP: Temporary foreign workers vs unemployment

Despite it being Wednesday and a caucus day, when MPs are normally riled up, QP was a bit more staid today. It may have been because Harper was absent from the House, out entertaining Olympic and Paralympic athletes that he had just awarded Diamond Jubilee medals to. Thomas Mulcair led off by wondering how hiring more temporary foreign workers would help the unemployed in this country, leaving Peter Van Loan to act as designated back-up PM du jour, during which he recited talking points about how the government was creating jobs. All while folding his notes constantly. Mulcair went on to read further variations on that question, eventually wondering about rules changes that demanded that people take pay cuts or lose their EI, to which Van Loan recited that it was always better to have a job than to be on EI. For the Liberals, Dominic LeBlanc asked about EI clawbacks, income inequality and youth unemployment, but Van Loan simply listed off the tax cuts his government had offered to showcase all of the work they’ve done for Canadians.

Round two kicked off with another tag-team series of questions between Peter Julian and Hélène LeBlanc about CNOOC’s environmental and human rights record (Paradis: We’re carefully examining this takeover bid), Jean Crowder, Jonathan Genest-Jourdain, Carol Hughes and Niki Ashton all asked questions about the residential school compensation cut-off date and cuts to First Nations’ groups core funding (Rickford: We’re taking concrete action on shared priorities), and Jack Harris asked about the legal fees faced by the family of a soldier who committed suicide in order to get the incorrect death certificate changed (MacKay: Let the process finish). Roger Cuzner was back up again to ask about EI clawbacks, for which Diane Finley finally had a quasi-answer in which she said that the changes benefit the majority of claimants – for which she was resoundingly heckled. Sean Casey asked about veterans and RCMP retirees being penalised with pensions (Blaney: We’re ensuring veterans get all of their benefits), and John McCallum asked about a Winnipeg housing cooperative being charged punitive mortgage rates by CMHC (Finley: Look at all of our affordable housing initiatives, and this group gets a stable rate). Olivia Chow and Robert Aubin demanded a national transit strategy (Fletcher and Poilivre: We respect the other jurisdictions and work with them), and Glen Thibeault and Annick Papillon asked about gas prices (Paradis: We lowered the GST by two points, and you guys want to institute a carbon tax).

Round three saw questions on CIDA cuts, mistakes around child benefits at CRA (Shea: We’re working to resolve this ASAP and I apologise for any mistakes), whether the MP pensions bill would be a stand-alone bill so that the Liberals can support it (Clement: We’ll roll this out in due course), the Kitsilano Coast Guard station, banning asbestos, changes at CRA regarding accessible help, help for farmers, war resisters, and the Nexen-CNOOC deal.

Immediately after QP, the House went into Committee of the Whole and the doors were thrown open so that Olympic and Paralympic athletes could enter to a standing ovation, and an impromptu singing of O Canada.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Greg Rickford for his tailored black suit with a crisp white shirt and pocket square and a navy striped tie, and to Kirsty Duncan for her black jacket with the white abstract patterns across it. Style citations go out to Charmaine Borg for her black skirt, rose taupe top, and white pseudo-jacket with a ribbon tie at the top and a sparkly peter pan collar, and to Jean Rousseau for a fluorescent blue shirt with a grey suit and light blue tie. The Christine Moore Shiny Watch reports her multicoloured metallic skirt paired with a bright pink bolero jacket. Words cannot describe the horror.