With an expected eight-hour vote-athon looming, and with Harper off meeting the Prime Minister of South Korea, QP got underway with Thomas Mulcair reading off a question about implausible economic forecasting. John Baird, again the designated back-up PM du jour, recited his Economic Action Plan™ talking points. For his final question, Mulcair asked about the government fighting the release of Residential School documents, bringing up how Jack Layton worked with Harper on the apology. Baird assured him that all relevant documents would be released to the question – but one wonders if “relevant” was the key word. Jean Crowder followed up asking the very same thing, to which John Duncan reminded her that he answered those very same questions in committee yesterday. Bob Rae was then up for the Liberals, making the case for refundable tax credits so that they actually benefit low-income Canadians, but Baird wouldn’t actually acknowledge the issue. For his final question, Rae asked the issue the issue of OxyContin in northern Reserves and mechanisms available to the federal government, but Leona Aglukkaq decided to hit back and blame the Liberals for approving OxyContin in the first place. This caused some outburst from Carolyn Bennett, but I missed what she said.
Round two kicked off with Mathieu Ravignat and Matthew Kellway asking about cabinet being briefed about the F-35 cost overruns (Ambrose: We have a secretariat moving forward with increased oversight), Denis Blanchette and Linda Duncan asked about SNC-Lavalin sub-contracting practices with Public Works contracting (Ambrose: These contracts are covered under out new integrity framework and ordered an audit), Jack Harris and Philip Toone asked about medical search and rescue calls from the Coast Guard (Shea: It is a Canadian company taking these calls), and Libby Davies and Djaouida Sellah decried inaction on healthcare (Aglukkaq: This is a provincial matter, don’t look at me). Ralph Goodale wondered why the most vulnerable were being punished by the government’s economic incompetence (Clement: We have made sure to protect core services), and Judy Sgro asked more of the same with a New Year’s theme (Flaherty: Look at all the great things in our budget). Anne-Marie Day and Chris Charlton closed the round by asking about EI tribunal changes (Finley: The current system isn’t working, which is why we’re changing it).
Round three saw questions about the Navigable Waters Protection Act’s demise, search and rescue medical calls, military procurement, healthcare wait times, rail noise guidelines (Lebel: That’s a municipal issue), anti-bullying programme funding, and the Muskrat Falls project being an attack on Quebec’s interests.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Lisa Raitt for a magenta top with a fitted black leather jacket with brass buttons leading all the way up to a mandarin collar, and to Marc Garneau for a black suit with a white shirt and a pink tie. Style citations go out to Bal Gosal for a grey-ish tan suit with a butterscotch shirt and tie, and to Judy Foote for a gold and zebra bolero jacket with a black top and trousers. Honourable mention goes out to Michelle Rempel for a fitted black dress with mesh sleeves, which goes to show how unseasonably warm it is in Ottawa today.