It was another bitterly cold day out in Ottawa, and the Hill was buzzing with news of Senator Brazeau’s arrest and removal from caucus. Thomas Mulcair was off at an event elsewhere, which left it up to Megan Leslie to lead off by asking about the Saskatchewan push-poll, but once again fell into that basic trap of asking about party business and not government operations. Harper reminded her that while the party position was well known, the commission had its work to do. Leslie then turned to the question of Senate ethics, and Brazeau’s arrest. Harper assured her that Brazeau was removed from caucus, and that it was of a personal nature and not with regards to Senate business. Peggy Nash was up next, asking why the government wouldn’t extend Kevin Page’s term until his his successor is chosen — unless they had something to hide in the budget. Clement simply repeated that there was a process in place to find his replacement, and they were respecting that process. For the Liberals, Ralph Goodale was up asking about possible gerrymandering of the Saskatchewan boundaries, to which Harper assured him that the process was underway and included Parliamentary input, before insinuating that Goodale didn’t care about rural communities. Dominic LeBlanc was up for the final question of the round, asking about household debt, for which Shelly Glover read off some good news talking points.
Round two started off with Peter Julian returning to questions about the Environment Commissioner’s report (Rempel: The commissioner said that he had more confidence in the system when he left than when he began his mandate), Anne Quach asking about fracking (Rempel: This is provincial jurisdiction), Robert Chisholm asked about marine protection (Rempel: This is an ongoing commitment), Alexandre Boulerice asked about Arthur Porter’s appointment (Toews: He resigned and the accusations against him have nothing to do with his previous role), before he and Charlie Angus went after Senators Duffy and Brazeau, Angus going so far as to call for Brazeau to be removed from the Senate despite there not being a mechanism to do so with good reason (Van Loan: The Senate has its own investigation underway and we have kicked Brazeau out of caucus), and Craig Scott returned to the push-poll question, but with an affected tone of false gravitas. Judy Foote wondered what was in the forthcoming budget (Glover: You’ll have to wait and see), Judy Sgro asked about EI changes (Finley: We want to help Canadians find a job), and Francis Scarpaleggia asked about fracking (Rempel: That’s provincial jurisdiction). Don Davies asked about CETA negotiations (Keddy: You hate trade; Harper: We are prosperous because of trade, which you oppose), and Malcolm Allen, after asserting there was no auto pact, asked about protections for farmers in CETA, while Ruth Ellen Brosseau demanded protection for supply management (Harper: Yet another defence of trade and supply management).
Round three saw questions on EI reforms (further spinning out the distorted Finley comments to suggest that she calls legitimate job-seekers “criminals”), Service Canada office closures, CIDA spending, Ministerial Accountability with regards to the HRSDC student loan data loss, credit card merchant fees, veterans’ care with regards to depleted uranium, and potential oil spills.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Blake Richards for his dark grey suit with a lavender shirt and pocket square and a purple tie, and to Michelle Rempel for a fitted blue dress with black panels along the sides. Style citations go out to Christine Moore for a tan brown jacket and skirt that each had a white and grey band along the jacket’s three-quarter sleeve cuffs and the skirt hem (and consider this a retroactive citation to the similar ensemble she wore in a chocolate brown the other day), and to Jonathan Genest-Joudain for his Herb Tarlek suit.