QP: Ridicule and non-sequiturs

Things were a bit more subdued in the House today as QP got underway, as Thomas Mulcair asked about a Conservative MP’s accusation that the Canadian Association of Retired Persons was a partisan organisation. Harper responded that his government was preserving pensions while still eliminating the deficit. Mulcair wondered if the Calgary Chamber of Commerce was next on the enemies list after their criticism of the foreign takeover review process, but Harper joked about how their ideological differences with the NDP were vast. For his final question, Mulcair asked when they would get clarification on the takeover rules, to which Harper said the decision was still with the minister. Jack Harris was up next, curious about that letter Harper sent Peter MacKay about the cuts to his department, but MacKay would only respond that under their watch, spending for defence had gone up every year. Ralph Goodale was up for the Liberals, asking about reciprocity agreements with foreign takeovers, but Harper responded with ridicule and the canard that there was no growth in trade with China under the Liberals, unlike his government. (Goodale later tweeted that under the Liberals two-way trade increased 669 percent, whereas it was only 77 percent under Harper). For his final question, Goodale asked about how they could enforce conditions with those takeovers, but Harper didn’t even bother trying to answer the question, and instead read a selective quote from this morning’s Supreme Court decision on Etobicoke Centre – a complete non-sequitur if there ever was one.

Round two opened with Anne-Marie Day and Robert Chisholm asking about EI for seasonal workers (Finley: We’re helping Canadians get back to work!), Megan Leslie asked about another site where Navigable Waters has an environmental connection (Lebel: This Act is about navigation), Christine Moore and Matthew Kellway asked about the options for replacing the CF-18s and if DND was changing the Statement of Requirements (Gourde: We’re doing our due diligence), and Robert Chicoine and Peter Stoffer asked about funeral directors picking up the extra costs for veterans’ burials because of insufficient government benefits (Blaney: You should support our measures). Stéphane Dion asked about the decline in French services outside of Quebec (Gourde: We support linguistic duality!), Judy Foote asked about mental health and prisons (Toews: It’s the provinces’ responsibility to ensure these people get treatment and not wind up in the prison system), and Hedy Fry asked about OxyContin soon being available in generic form. Hélène LeBlanc and Peter Julian asked about the Calgary Chamber of Commerce’s comments regarding the Petronas decision (Paradis: You want a carbon tax), and Don Davies asked about the Canada-China FIPA (Fast: You had three opportunities to debate this and didn’t use them).

Round three saw questions on gangs in prisons, drug shortages (which Aglukkaq responded to with an even more non-sequitur), why Jeffrey Delisle was not caught sooner, rail customer satisfaction, Peter Penashue’s overspending, Radio-Canada cuts, student debt, and the omnibus budget bill.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Blake Richards for a tailored dark grey suit with a pale grey shirt and medium grey tie, and to Diane Finley for a teal blue jacket and skirt with an off-white top. Style citations go out to Lynne Yelich for a bright yellow jacket with black trim and a black top, and to Charlie Angus for a fluorescent blue shirt with a grey suit and black tie.