Valentine’s Day in the Commons is usually a wasteland of bad puns and lame jokes. Today we we mostly spared the indignity, barring a couple of lame Members’ Statements, and the very final question in QP. Thomas Mulcair led off by reading questions about Senator Wallin’s travel expenses — torqued so that they were counted over 27 months to make them sound especially damning — to which Harper reminded him that Western NDP MPs had similar travel expenses. For his final supplemental, Mulcair read a question about the “moral outrage” of unequal funding in First Nations for education. Harper rejected the premise of the question, and assured him of the measures they were taking. Niki Ashton was up next, asking why there was no national inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women, to which Kerry-Lynne Findlay assured her that they were working with provincial and territorial governments and were responding to the needs of victims. Ralph Goodale picked up on the topic of the Human Rights Watch report on RCMP abuses in those Northern BC communities. Vic Toews said that there is the Commission for Public Complaints about the RCMP to deal with such complaints. Dominic LeBlanc was up last to repeat the question in French, not that Vic Toews responded in kind.
Round two started off with Rosane Doré Lefebvre and Randall Garrison asking about Chinese dissidents being deported back to China (Toews: We deport foreign criminals after due process), Megan Leslie wondered how the government would respond to carbon pricing measures that Obama might put into place, citing an interview with Ambassador Jacobson saying that it was also a message for Canada — despite the fact that on both political shows last night, he explicitly said it was a message for Americans (Kent: We have a plan in place that is getting results), Alexandrine Latendresse and Charlie Angus back to Senator Wallin’s expenses (Van Loan: Her expenses are in line with other Western parliamentarians), and Chris Charlton tied the Senate calendar to EI reforms (Finley: Yay our EI reforms getting people working). Carolyn Bennett asked that their motion on a committee to investigate missing and murdered Aboriginal women be free of government interference (Findlay: Look at all of our programmes to tackle this problem), Judy Sgro asked why the government wasn’t doing more about the aforementioned women (Findlay gave the same response), and John McCallum asked how many ships would have to be cut from the shipbuilding programme to deal with inflation (Ambrose: We successfully negotiated the shipyard contracts). Robert Aubin and Olivia Chow asked for federal public funding for transit (Lebel: We respect provincial and municipal jurisdiction), and Alex Atamanenko and Aubin asked about reduced service delivery by Canada Post (Fletcher: We put in the moratorium on rural post office closures, and Canada Post lost money last year).
Round three saw questions on EI reforms (along with the spurious comparison to Senators’ workloads and false quotes about “bad guys,” because this apparently raises the tone of debate), Canadian drivers’ licences being invalidated in Florida, legal fees for veterans’ court challenges, environmental liabilities for north of 60 mines, seniors poverty, the centralisation of student summer jobs programming, and job alerts.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Blake Richards for his dark grey suit with a pink shirt and dark pink tie, and to Megan Leslie for a tailored black v-neck dress with short sleeves. Style citations go out to Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe for a busy yellow-toned and black fitted tunic, and to The Honourable Member for Warhammer for a fluorescent blue shirt violation, with a black paisley tie and grey suit. Dishonourable mention to Rosane Doré Lefebvre for a mustard dress with a black jacket.