Monday after a constituency week, and MPs are still trickling back into the Nation’s Capital. QP got started off with Thomas Mulcair reading off a question about Senators Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin committing “fraud.” As Harper was not in the Chamber, it fell to Peter Van Loan, apparently the designated back-up PM du jour, who insisted that the Senators in question were being investigated, but that they owned property and had “deep ties” to the provinces they represent. In other words, they are now circling the wagons around their Senate appointees. Mulcair carried on, taking all supplementals in the leader’s round, asking about the EI “quota” figures uncovered by Le Devoir. Diane Finley assured her that they weren’t quotas but performance indicators, and that there were hundreds of millions of dollars lost to fraud last year. Bob Rae was up for the Liberals, asking about a statement that funding for First Nations not being an issue but that it was about accountability, and it if meant that unequal funding would continue. Van Loan assured him that Rae was wrong, that education funding was the same on reserves, and that the priority was to create opportunities for young Aboriginal people across the country. For his last question, Rae asked about the human rights situation in Sri Lanka and demanded that the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting will be held elsewhere from Columbo. Bob Dechert responded saying the actions of the Sri Lankan government was unacceptable, and they were continuing to engage.
Round two started off with Randall Garrison asking about police funding for First Nations (Toews: I’ve been meeting with First Nations and I’d be happy to brief you), Jean Crowder and Romeo Saganash asked about First Nations reconciliation (Valcourt, in his inaugural answer as minister: Yay our efforts working together with provinces, territories and First Nations), Anne-Marie Day and Chris Charlton returned to the EI quota question (Finley: There are no quotas, just performance objectives), and Alexandre Boulerice and Charlie Angus returned to the issue of Senators Duffy and Wallin (Van Loan: All Conservative senators are qualified to represent the provinces they are appointed to). Lise St-Denis and Rodger Cuzner returned to the EI quota question (Finley: I’ve already said it’s not a quota), and Carolyn Bennett asked about the unequal funding for First Nations family services (Valcourt: Repeated his same statement). Nycole Turmel, Philip Toone, and Pierre Nantel went back to the EI quotas (Finley: It’s not a quota, and you would rather see fraudsters take from all workers).
Round three saw questions on budget consultations, municipal infrastructure, Conservative ad spending during the Oscars, healthcare for refugee claimants, the search for the capsized Miss Ally, the closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard station, the spending on staff in the Intergovernmental Affairs minister’s office, National Energy Board pipeline consultation records being made public, and one last kick at EI quotas.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to James Bezan for a tailored grey suit with a white shirt and pocket square and a lavender tie, and to Rona Ambrose for her snow leopard print dress with a fitted black jacket. Style citations go out to Joan Crockatt for a red dress with a navy jacket that she unfortunately wore a black leather belt over it, and to Charlie Angus for a garish teal shirt with a grey suit and black skinny tie.