Monday afternoon, and the Chamber was still a bit sleepy after the weekend. Only one leader was in the House today, being Thomas Mulcair, and he began things by reading off a litany of condemnations against Senators Brazeau and Duffy, and demanded the whole institution be abolished — because a) that’s helpful, and b) two or three bad apples out of 105 detracts from the good work of the rest of the Senate, including when they pick up the ball when MPs drop it, as with the sports betting and royal succession bills. James Moore, the designated back-up PM du jour, assured him that the Senate’s Internal Economy Board was investigating these senators. For his final question, Mulcair read a question about EI reforms, to which Moore assured him that the reforms were helping get people working. Peggy Nash was up next and said that it was false that there was no mechanism to extend Kevin Page’s term as PBO, pointing to his term being renewable. Tony Clement said that there was a process in place to find his replacement. (On a related note, the PBO is not the only accountability mechanism available — it just happens that accountability is the actual role of MPs). Ralph Goodale was up for the Liberals, warning of a weakening economy while everyone was worrying about other distraction issues, and wanted the budget tabled by the end of February. In response, Moore read off a number of good news talking points. Stéphane Dion was up last, and demanded that the government undo its “job-killing” EI reforms.
Round two kicked off with Hélène Laverierre asking about that dubious CIDA grant to a homophobic religious organisation (Fantino: We fund results-based programmes that are delivered without religious content), Christine Moore and Matthew Kellway asked about the Sikorski helicopter contract (Ambrose: We are disappointed in Sikorski and are aggressively seeking resolution), Mathieu Ravignat and Charlie Angus launched screeds against the Senate (Van Loan: These matters are being investigated), before he and Craig Scott moved onto the Saskatchewan push-polls (Poilievre: Save the trash talk for your rap career; Ritz: Yay fast-growing Regina and Saskatoon, and no, that made no sense). Judy Sgro and Rodger Cuzner asked about the lost student loan data (Finley: We have changed our protocols and training in the department), and Wayne Easter asked about CPP payments for those seasonal workers affected by EI changes (Finley: The changes are there to take away things that discouraged workers from working). Anne-Marie Day, Chris Charlton, Francine Raynault and Yvon Godin asked about the Quebec labour minister’s visit to Ottawa to discuss the changes to EI (Finley: We’re enhancing assistance to those seeking jobs).
Round three saw questions on fisheries scientists, credit monitoring for those affected by student loan data loss, aid to Mali, the new fee regime for Parks Canada, Alzheimer’s disease, Service Canada wickets for veterans, the Kitsilano Coast Guard station, hospital beds for veterans, and EI reform.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Maxime Bernier for a tailored dark grey suit with a pink shirt and pocket square and a pink striped tie, and to Diane Ablonczy for a tan jacket with a white collared shirt and a tasteful grey and terracotta scarf. Style citations go out to Diane Finley for a green/maroon/black mulch print dress with a black jacket, and to Jean Rousseau for a fluorescent orange shirt with a dark grey suit. Special mention goes out to Judy Foote for her cougarific leopard-print dress with a black jacket.