Despite a fall on the ice earlier in the morning, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair was in the House, perhaps a little tender, but ready to take on Harper nevertheless. He began by reading off accusations about the Conservatives’ Saskatchewan push-polling. Apparently it bears reminding that party business is not government operations, and therefore not the domain of Question Period. Harper rejected the accusations, and said that the party explained their actions and the boundary commissions were independent. For his final question, Mulcair wanted assurances that the next budget wouldn’t be another mammoth omnibus bill. Harper skirted around the answer. Peggy Nash carried on with questions about the future budget, to which Shelly Glover assured her that the 2012 budget was focused on jobs and long-term prosperity. For the Liberals, Bob Rae wanted assurances that there would be no partisan legislation to gerrymander the boundaries in Saskatchewan, to which Harper assured him that boundary commissions were independent and that he respected that. For his final question, Rae inquired after press reports that dairy was on the table in the CETA negotiations. Harper assured him that he was committed to protecting supply management, unlike a certain Liberal leadership candidate. *cough*Martha Hall Findlay*cough*
Round two began with Megan Leslie wondering about the commitment to changes based on the Environment Commissioner’s report (Rempel responded with with quotes from the Commissioner praising the government’s action), and when Leslie asked about the concerns around fracking, Rempel assured her it was provincial jurisdiction. Peter Julian asked about offshore liabilities (Rempel: We are reviewing this and focusing on prevention) and nuclear liability limits (Anderson: You filibustered the bill to raise those limits), Alexandre Boulerice and Charlie Angus returned to the question of Saskatchewan robo-calling and Elections Canada powers (Ritz: We look forward to this discussion), before Angus turned to the issue of Mike Duffy’s residence (Van Loan: The Senate is conducting their own investigation), and Craig Scott gave a hectoring return to the Saskatchewan robo-call question (Ritz: same as before; Harper: I’m sure we’ll find a lot of NDP submissions when Parliament examines the report). Wayne Easter and Denis Coderre returned to their concerns over supply management (Keddy: I reject the premise of the question; Harper: We said we’ll protect supply management, unlike one of your leadership candidates), and Carolyn Bennett challenged the ministry’s assertion that First Nations graduations were increasing (Duncan: We’re seeking input on a new First Nations education plan). Chris Carlton brought up that the Conservatives cancelled the national childcare programme — omitting that her party teamed up with them to defeat the Martin government as it implemented it (Findlay dusted off her old talking points about choice in childcare), and Sylvain Chicoine and Peter Stoffer asked about the procedural fairness for veterans seeking disability (Blaney: 70 percent of applications are accepted, and we welcome he ombudsman’s report).
Round three saw as questions on EI changes, Service Canada delays, tax havens, payroll taxes, the CWB mock pin-up ads, caffeinated energy shots, missing information on CIDA’s partnership programmes, and yet another question about supply management.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Peter MacKay for a dark grey pinstriped suit with a white shirt and a light blue tie, and to Rathika Sitsabaiesan for a lavender collared shirt with a tailored grey suit. Style citations go out to Eve Adams of a gold satin high-necked top with a brown jacket, and to Jeff Watson for a pale yellow shirt with a black suit an tie.