QP: Clawbacks and disincentives

Thomas Mulcair led off QP by wondering if the Prime Minister was in agreement with Peter Van Loan’s characterisation the day before that EI was a disincentive for people to find work. Harper stuck to defending his record of job creation. Mulcair’s last question was the topic of his party’s opposition day motion on whether Harper would meet with the premiers. Harper said that he’d met or called premiers over 250 times. Peggy Nash was up next, and in light of Nexen’s shareholders agreeing to be bought out by CNOOC, wondered if the government was aware of CNOOC’s environmental and human rights record. Mike Lake responded by saying that the investment review process was sound and that the minister was taking a close look at this case. Denis Coderre was up for the Liberals, asking about those EI clawbacks. Diane Finley rose instead of Harper, despite it being the leaders’ round, and responded with the wise words “workers are better off when they work.” That’s, like, deep.

Round two kicked off with Jack Harris raising the response to an Order Paper question about how CF-18 pilots had to rely on a single engine a certain percentage of time because of engine problems – like birds – and wondered how it made sense to want to use a single-engine F-35 instead (Ambrose: We have a secretariat!), while Christine Moore and Matthew Kellway asked variations on the same (and got the same reply). Craig Scott asked about the status of giving more powers to the Chief Electoral Officer (Uppal: Proposal will come in due course), Alexandre Boulerice asked about changes to lobbyist rules (Poilievre: You donated to Quebec Solidaire – are you a federalist or a sovereigntist), and when Boulerice began his response with “I have three words – In and Out,” Poilievre went off on a tangent about whether or not that was how Boulerice felt about Quebec’s place in Canada (a skilful and spontaneous deflection that I have to grudgingly give him props for). Charlie Angus then made a klassy dig at this former caucus colleague Bruce Hyer when rolling a question on sponsored travel in with lobbying and Nigel Wright concerns (Clement: Nigel Wright’s a stand-up guy). Marc Garneau asked again if they would introduce MP pension reform as a separate bill (Clement: No), Wayne Easter gave an example of EI clawbacks affecting a nurse on maternity leave picking up the odd shift to keep her skills up (Finley: If she’d worked more hours that wouldn’t be a problem), and Roger Cuzner hammered after her on the same topic, not that he got a different response. Glenn Thibeault and Annick Papillon asked about the declining numbers of product safety tests conducted by Health Canada (Carrie: We’ve doubled our investment), and Don Davies again asked whether the European Free Trade Agreement would raise the cost of prescription drugs (Fast: Don’t prejudge the outcome, but we’re trying to strike a balance between innovation and price).

Round three saw questions on the fleet separation policy, consultations on fisheries changes, the Environment Commissioner’s report with respect to the record low levels of Arctic Ice, whether F-35 pilots would be taught “glide and ejection” techniques in light of that single engine/double engine revelation, attacks on public sector pensions, the need for a new funding agreement with a Yukon First Nation, oil and gas exploration rights, the use of food banks, and the failed economic policy of the government.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Christine Moore for her black and red dress with a black jacket, and to James Bezan for a charcoal suit with a white shirt, a green pocket square and a masterfully coordinated black-and-green tie. Style citations go out to Romeo Saganash for a blueberry shirt with a navy jacket, grey jeans, and a navy and grey striped tie, and Murphy Brown Candace Bergen for her blue dress with leopard spots with a black jacket. Dishonourable mention goes out to Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe for a black turtleneck with a mustard yellow jacket with the sleeve cuffs rolled back so as to make the arms look disproportionately shorter.