Lacklustre and listless – two words that could easily describe today’s Question Period. Harper was absent, which is not unusual for a Monday, and he’d just finished entertaining the Prime Minister of Jamaica before getting ready to head to Toronto to pay his respects to Lincoln Alexander, currently lying in State at the Ontario Legislature. Thomas Mulcair read off his first two questions, in French and English, about the rejection of the Petronas deal, to which Christian Paradis responded that he was not convinced that it would be of net benefit to Canada. And hey, at least it was Paradis responding and not a back-up PM du jour. Mulcair’s third question was about the rumours that the government wanted to privatise the CMHC, which Ted Menzies stood up to say that no, they had no plans to do so at this time. Peggy Nash then stood up and said “At. This. Time.” And then proceeded to read her two scripted questions on privatising the CMHC, where Menzies gave her the very same answer twice more. Bob Rae was up for the Liberals next, and first asked just what constituted “net benefit” with regards to the Petronas rejection, not that Paradis deviated from his message. Rae then asked about the Indian Act – the subject of his private member’s motion that was up for debate – and when the government would consult and head towards true equality with First Nations. John Duncan stood up and accused him of wanting more talk when the government was taking action. For his final question, Rae asked for a judicial inquiry in to the Jeffrey Delisle spy case, to which Peter MacKay told him that the issue was still before the courts.
Round two kicked off with Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet returning to the CMHC question (Menzies: I already said we’re not), Hélène LeBlanc and Peter Julian asking about the “net benefit” criteria (Paradis: It’s in the Act), before Julian turned to the Northern Gateway (Oliver: It’s before an independent joint review panel). Anne Minh-Thu Quach and Olivia Chow asked about the changes to the Navigable Waters Act (Poilievre and Fletcher both: It’s an Act about navigation, not an environmental law), Guy Caron asked about the PBO taking the government to court (Clement: We report to parliament in the usual means). John McCallum asked the same issue and got the same answer before asking about the government rejecting the Government Operations Committee report on increasing transparency (Clement: We agreed with 15 of the 16 recommendations), and Scott Brison returned to the CMHC question (Menzies: You changed it to a 40-year mortgage rules – err, which I believe was Flaherty’s move). Closing off the round, Alexandre Boulerice and Robert Chisholm took turns asking about those cabinet ministers’ spouses holding public securities investments (Clement: The Ethics Commissioner is responsible for this), and the Peter Penashue overspending issue (Poilievre: The new official agent will respond to Elections Canada).
Round three saw questions on Jeffrey Delisle, allegations of trafficking at our porous border, the lack of a transparency clause in the Canada-China FIPA, getting the Auditor General to look at CFIA, renaming the Trans-Canada trail as the Queen’s Jubilee Trail (Calandra: Yay our historic ties to the Crown – err, except they’re not historic, they’re the every day constitutional reality), why the government fired a veteran from the Veterans Appeal Review Board, the trade deficit, and First Nations inequity.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Rona Ambrose for her grey snow leopard dress with a black jacket, and Maxime Bernier for a brown suit with a white shirt and a peach and grey tie. Style citations go out to Rick Norlock for a black suit with a yellow shirt and striped tie, and Isabelle Morin for a sleeveless leopard print top with tan trousers. Dishonourable mentions to both Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe and Niki Ashton for yellow-and-black violations – Blanchette Lamothe for a yellow jacket with a black turtleneck, and Ashton for a bright yellow blouse with a high-waisted black skirt.