QP: The committee has spoken

The Conservatives had a bit of Halloween-themes fun as QP was about to start by getting Corneliu Chisu, an MP who hails from the Transylvanian region of Romania, to affect his best affected accent before warning of the “scary” NDP fictional carbon tax – a tacit admission that this whole carbon tax nonsense is really one big joke. When QP officially got underway, Thomas Mulcair read off a trio of questions around the Canada-China FIPA, promising to cancel it if he should one day form government. Harper’s response was that the investment community has been looking for this kind of long-term protection. Peggy Nash was up next, asking why the Parliamentary Budget Officer was not getting the information he requested, to which Flaherty assures her that the House already gets this kind if information on a regular basis. For his first pair of questions, Bob Rae wondered why the Canada-China FIPA had a 15-year notice period as opposed to the usual six months, to which Harper reiterates the point about long-term protection. For his final question, Rae asked why there was such secrecy around the FIPA and the Nexen deal, and asked, “What would Preston do?” But Harper would not rise to the bait of invoking Preston Manning, and spoke about the FIPA providing a legal framework for investment.

Round two kicked off with Megan Leslie, Jean Crowder, Philip Toone, Rosane Doré Lefebvre, Robert Aubin and Sadia Groguhé each asking the chair of their respective committees why they didn’t allow for study of the relevant sections of the omnibus budget bill, as Flaherty had promised. For the most part, ministers answered – Lebel and John Duncan mostly, occasionally Van Loan, and the only committee chair who did answer – David Tilson – noted that the committee had spoken, and he was following its will. Charlie Angus asked a pair of questions about the Navigable Waters changes and why cottage country seemed favoured in the changes, with his “devastating” shot at Tony Clement to be “I’m sorry, dude, that’s not good enough.” No, seriously, he said that. And what’s worse was I heard him practicing the line to himself before QP in the Foyer. In response, Van Loan pointed out the size of an omnibus budget bill presented to the Quebec National Assembly when Mulcair was in the cabinet there, and Lebel called the Ottawa Citizen story about the breakdown of the changes to be a “conspiracy theory.” Judy Foote asked about the apparent lag in a deportation order for a Conservative donor (Findlay: The warrant was issued one day after the US request), John McKay wondered about the cost of photo ops with military hardware in the new era of defence austerity (MacKay: Efficiencies! Streamlining!), and Francis Scarpaleggia returned to the Navigable Waters changes (Lebel: We put the list together with scientific data). Chris Charlton and Anne-Marie Day asked about EI changes (Finley: The five extra weeks was a temporary programme), and Ryan Cleary and Yvon Godin asked about the ACOA funding decline (Valcourt: We’ve made an unprecedented level of federal investment in Atlantic Canada!)

Round three saw questions on the class-action lawsuit by disabled veterans, the pending deportation of two Nigerian students, the forthcoming report into the collapse of the Sockeye salmon fishery, jail time for the census, student loans, and a local aluminium industry.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Greg Rickford for a tailored dark grey suit with a light purple shirt and a purple tie with light blue cross-hatching, and to Michelle Rempel for an indigo dress with a matching sheer sleeves top. Style citations go out to Niki Ashton for a greenish-yellow jacket with a black dress, and to Jean Rousseau for a black suit with a bright red shirt and pale orange tie.