With a news-packed morning passed and the by-election anticipation building, the House was absent of party leaders today. Megan Leslie took the lead for the NDP, asking about Omnibus Budget Bill 2: The Revenge and the government’s refusal to accept amendments, despite having made mistakes in the previous omnibus budget bill that this bill had measures to correct. Jason Kenney, the back-up PM du jour, went on about unnecessary regulations and ponds on farmers’ fields. When Leslie asked him about the “contingency plans” spoken of by Flaherty as he and Harper contradicted one another on the deficit numbers, Kenney touted the Economic Action Plan™ instead. Peter Julian was then up to ask about the yet-unreleased foreign takeover rules, but Christian Paradis accused the NDP of being anti-investment. Paradis went a little off-message by accusing the Liberals of opposing foreign investment as well, when the usual talking point is that they rubberstamped every foreign takeover that came before them. (Looks like someone’s handler is going to have to give him a talking to). Ralph Goodale was up for the Liberals, and pressed about the refugee health cuts, especially with the comments made by Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall. Kenney said that the provinces can make any decisions they like about additional insurance for refugee claimants, and left it in their laps.
Round two started off with Ming the Merciless – err, Evil Matthew Kellway and Christine Moore took turns asking about the military ombudsman not being able to access documents, and whether the Statement of Requirements for the new fighter jets was being rewritten (MacKay: We’re working with the ombudsman within his mandate and the law; Ambrose: We’ve set aside the old SoR as part of the options analysis), Alexandre Boulerice and Charlie Angus went on about the “phantom donations” in Laurier Sainte-Marie (Poilievre: The story was proven false), before Angus moved onto the topic of the plans for CFB Goose Lake (MacKay: Yay men and women in uniform), and Craig Scott asked about the promised changes to the Elections Act (Uppal: What about your illegal union donations?). Sean Casey tried to ask the chair of the National Defence committee about a veteran being excluded last week (Van Loan – who is not the chair: It was an issue with Commons security, we’re working on it), and Lawrence MacAulay asked about CFIA stripping a PEI laboratory of its credentials (Ritz: Not true, the management of the lab expected this audit, which is under review). Jinny Simms first asked about temporary foreign workers (Finley: We want Canadians to have first crack at those jobs) before moving on to refugee health cuts along with Sadia Groguhé (Kenney: False and rejected claimants!), and Groguhé finished off the round asking about the offloading of refugee obligations onto private sponsors (Kenney: We’ve had private sponsorships since the sixties!)
Round three saw questions about that leaked EU trade memo, ad spending during the Olympics over funding athletes, provincial immigration nominee programmes, residential schools truth and reconciliation funding, sexual harassment at the RCMP, seasonal workers in the tourism industry, climate change funding, Joan Crockatt’s bizarre assertions about passports (Baird: Crockatt will make a great MP!), and downloading costs onto provinces.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Greg Rickford for a tailored black suit with a white checked shirt, a brilliant light blue tie, and a white pocket square, and to Cathy McLeod for her black jacket with the gold embroidering and a black v-necked top. Style citations go out to Diane Finley for her busy, multicoloured dress with a black jacket, and to Jonathan Genest-Jourdain, whose brown-and-grey checked suit, while well tailored, looked to be straying into chesterfield territory.