Senate QP: One last kick at the F-35s

Admittedly I got to the Senate chamber late (and it was a bit of a miracle that I made it at all this morning), and when I made it, Question Period was already underway. After missing a question on a local Nova Scotia concerns from Senator Mercer, which Senator LeBreton took under advisement, I came in while Senator Dallaire was on his feet, asking about the government’s messaging on the issue of Syria, and Canada’s capacitor for peacekeeping operations considering the ongoing commitments in Afghanistan and the Canadian Forces currently “licking their wounds.” Senator LeBreton, answering for the government as is what happens in the Senate, responded with her usual derision and withering sarcasm, decrying that Dallaire — a decorated retired Lieutenant General — could “insult” the Forces by using the term “licking their wounds,” and then praised the work of John Baird as minister of foreign affairs.

Senator Moore got up to ask about the government’s previous quotes around cost overruns being “insulated,” no matter that issues like Lockheed Martin being hacked and the facts like American law won’t allow them to sell military equipment for less than they pay domestically. LeBreton dismissed media reports as being false, quoted the $9 billion figure, the Seven-Point Plan, and dismissed any and all concerns. Moore pressed on, asking if it would be an open competition, or if the all options being studied were the F-35 and the F-35. LeBreton accused him of bad mouthing the options analysis panel, which Moore disputed. Senator Segal got up to ask a friendly supplemental to take the heat off, in order to get LeBreton to give the “billion dollars a year” figure.

Shortly after the end of Senate QP was the final vote on Omnibus Budget Bill 2: The Revenge, followed by Royal Assent. This was the final Royal Assent ceremony by Kevin MacLeod as Usher of the Black Rod before he takes up new duties, and for the occasion, he was dressed up in a kilt. Assented were the seven bills, including the Canada-Panama Free Trade Agreement, a bill on cosmetic contact lens safety, a framework for suicide prevention, and the aforementioned Omnibus Budget Bill 2: The Revenge, plus the Supplementary Estimates.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Senator Linda Frum for a well tailored brown suit with a black top, and to Senator Pierre Claude Nolin for a tailored grey suit with a white shirt and pocket square, and a light blue tie. Style citations go out to Senator Tobias Enverga for a charcoal suit and tie with a dark pink shirt, and to Senator Pamela Wallin for a black pantsuit with a belted bright orange collared top and black scarf. Special mention to Senator Terry Mercer, who was indulging in a rather loud Xmas tie.