QP: The missing minister

It could have been a rerun of yesterday, given the entirety of the leader’s found in QP. Thomas Mulcair once again began by reading out questions on the tainted meat “disaster,” and why store owners were acting responsibly but the Minister was not there to answer questions in the House. (He was over at the meat plant in question, and had a spectacular melt down of a press conference earlier in the day). Stephen Harper again responded that CFIA was the responsible authority and that they were containing the situation. Malcolm Allen bellowed outrage at the minister’s absence, and Pierre Lemieux (who is a much better communicator than his minister any day of the week, it should be noted), reassured him that CFIA was one of the top-rated food safety agencies in the world. Bob Rae asked why the head of CFIA said that he didn’t know the numbers yet for the new inspection standards, but Harper told him that it was not something to be determined by politicians, but rather by CFIA itself.

Round two kicked off with Peggy Nash wondering why the PBO wasn’t getting the data he’d asked for (Clement: We’re still reporting that information to Parliament in the usual ways), Ruth Ellen Brosseau, François Pilon and Linda Duncan returned to the question of tainted meat (Lemieux: support our bill on food safety), and Christine Moore and Jack Harris asked about the Canadian Forces’ Surgeon General’s concerns about cuts (MacKay: We’ve increased the Forces’ health budget by $100 million). Ralph Goodale asked about amendments needed to that food safety bill, Bill S-11, and the need for an audit by the Auditor General, to which Harper himself stood up to say that under the bill that inspectors will get increased powers, and by the way, he doesn’t direct the Auditor General. Judy Foote and Frank Valeriote returned to the issue of tainted meat (Lemieux gave his usual response, accusing the opposition of working against strengthening the system). Hélène LeBlanc and Peter Julian closed the round demanding public consultations on the Nexen takeover deal (Paradis: We strengthened the Act in 2007 and 2009).

Round three saw questions on the attempted appointment to the Montreal Port Authority, EI clawbacks, First Nations education, train cutbacks in Northern Ontario and New Brunswick, the nebulous “net benefit” rules, public transit, the Cluster Munitions treaty, and secrecy around the European Free Trade Agreement negotiations.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Candice Bergan for her blue dress with the rough striped pattern, and to Bal Gosal for a dark grey suit with a light violet shirt and a purple tie with a bit of a plaid pattern. Style citations go out to Robert Goguen for a black suit with a fluorescent blue shirt, and to Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe for a black sweater with green trim, black tights, and green leg warmers. No. Just no. There is no excuse for leg warmers. Ever. Dishonourable mention to Mathieu Ravignat for a black suit and tie with a pale yellow shirt.