The House was a bit sleepy today, where Thomas Mulcair started off by reading out a pair of questions on the rules around foreign takeovers, the English one of which using the phrase “like a thief in the night.” John Baird, acting as the back-up PM du jour, thanked him for raising the tone of debate before proceeding to remind him how much the government supported foreign investment and that the minister was reviewing it. For his last question, Mulcair asked about the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s lowered growth projections, but Baird offered up some bland talking points about growth! And jobs! And warnings against the fictional NDP carbon tax! Megan Leslie followed up with a pair of English questions on the very same topic, for which Ted Menzies assured her that we are in a period of slow global recovery, and that the projections were on track. Bob Rae was then up and asked a pair of questions about the cancelled EI programme that offered five additional weeks of benefits in hard-hit areas, to which Baird responded that the measures were always meant to be temporary. For his final question, Rae wondered why Peter Penashue was still sitting in cabinet after his campaign overspent in the last election – along with additional allegations of improper donations. Baird assured him that the new Official Agent was working with Elections Canada, before launching into an angry rant about how the Liberals needed to get their own house in order before casting aspersions elsewhere.
Round two started off with Rosane Doré Lefebvre bringing up Hurricane Sandy and emergency preparedness, which Randall Garrison then piled on with the BC earthquake and cuts to local training (Bergen: Preparation is at a local level, but we’re all prepped, the Canadian Forces can be deployed, and hey, check the preparedness website), Matthew Kellway asked about the new review for the F-35 procurement contracts (Ambrose: We have a Seven-Point Action Plan™!), Glenn Thibeault and Annick Papillon asked about price-fixing at the gas pumps (Paradis: We reduced the GST and strengthened the powers of the Competition Bureau), and Charlie Angus asked again about the allegations around Penashue’s spending (Poilievre: Your seatmate donates to separatists, and you accepted illegal union donations). Marc Garneau and Carolyn Bennett asked after the census (Paradis: The data us useful and useable, and if you have questions about methodology, ask Statistics Canada – WHICH IS HIS JOB TO ANSWER TO PARLIAMENT FOR!). The round closed with Fin Donnelly asking about the impending release of the commission on Sockeye salmon stocks (Kamp: We’ll read it once it’s tabled), and Alexandrine Latendresse wanted the government to support her Private Members’ Bill on bilingualism – err, except that it wasn’t a question about government operations, and shouldn’t have been allowed (Gourde: You ran unilingual Anglophone candidates in Quebec).
Round three saw questions on EI protests taking place, the Canada-China FIPA, cuts at CRA amidst revelations of tax havens, students facing deportation for making an honest mistake about getting a job, the Access to Medicines Regime, and cuts at HRSDC in a local riding.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Candice Bergen for her black dress with the grey and white patterns across, and to Marc Garneau for a tan suit with a white shirt and green tie. Style citations go out to Jean Rousseau for a fluorescent green shirt with a grey suit and brown tie, and to Megan Leslie for the shiny floral top with her black suit.