QP: Not taking a clear no for an answer

It was a blustery day in Ottawa, and despite the gale-force winds, MPs made their way up to the Hill to conduct the business of the nation. With Thomas Mulcair absent today, Megan Leslie led off by reading a pair of questions on the Crown-First Nations relationship, given that it was the topic of their Opposition Day motion. Harper responded that a strong economy benefits all Canadians, be they Anglophone, Francophone, Aboriginal, or new Canadians. For her last question, Leslie asked about that rogue Conservative backbencher who wants the RCMP to investigate late-term abortions, to which Harper yet again reminded her that the issue is settled and they’re not reopening the debate. Peggy Nash was up next, and after first wishing Jim Flaherty a speedy recovery from his rare skin condition, she asked about the high level of youth unemployment. Keller Lietch got to answer her today, and she recited a bunch of good news talking points about job numbers. Bob Rae once again led off with a question about graduation rates for Aboriginal youth, and Harper once again assured him that the government was making concrete steps to improve education for First Nations youth. Rae then turned to the increase in EI premiums at a time of sluggish economic growth, to which Harper gave a rambling answer about paying for the EI programme and how the opposition wants to create a “45-day work year.”

Round two started off with Jean Crowder and Jonathan Genest-Jourdain asking about the residential schools documents (John Duncan: We’re still reviewing the decision with regards to relevant documents), Romeo Saganash wondered what concrete actions the government was making with regards to First Nations (John Duncan: We want jobs and economic opportunities for First Nations), Alexandre Boulerice and Charlie Angus asked about the Southwest Ontario “secret” development fund (Goodyear: There are strict agreements with these arm’s length groups), one last question from Angus about conflict of interest rules (Van Loan: You wrote letters on behalf of a fundraiser), and Hélène Laverdière asked about the $25,000 CIDA town hall meeting and an agreement to for employees not to criticise the department (Clement: There has been no wrongdoing and we welcome whistleblowers). Lowe St-Denis asked about EI for seasonal industries (Leitch: These are great initiatives), and Judy Sgro and Rodger Cuzner asked about the missing HRSDC student loan data (Leitch: We take this loss seriously). Françoise Boivin went back to the abortion question (Nicholson: The PM gave a pretty clear no), Libby Davies asked about drug shortages (Aglukkaq: We are taking this seriously), Fin Donnelly accused the government of ignoring the search and rescue needs of the west coast (Ashford: There will be no negative impact to these changes), and Peter Julian accused the government of ignoring criticism of the Northern Gateway pipeline plans (Anderson: This is undergoing an arm’s length review).

Round three saw questions on the impacts of EI changes, more questions on the missing student loan data, simplifying the tax code, the backlog of files affected by the closure of the Buffalo visa office (Kenney: The files transferred to Ottawa are being processed faster than before), funeral allowances for veterans, the security implications of online tax filing changes, another question on youth unemployment, and the Lower Churchill project.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Greg Rickford for a tailored black suit with a white shirt and pocket square with a navy and red tie, and to Megan Leslie for a collared black short-sleeved button-up dress. Style citations go out to Jean Rousseau for a fluorescent yellow shirt with a grey suit and a burgundy and gold tie, and to Francine Raynault for a sparkly black jacket with purple florals, and a pink top. Dishonourable to Mark Adler for a black suit with a yellow tie.