With odes paid to Stompin’ Tom Connors, and with Ron Paul visiting in the gallery, QP got underway with Tom Mulcair reading off a question about the new reported problems with the F-35 fighters. Harper assured him that after the Auditor General’s report, they had put a new process in place for finding a new next-generation option. Mulcair then asked a somewhat bizarre question about the number of responses by women on behalf of the government — given that tomorrow is International Women’s Day — to which Harper assured him that they had more women in cabinet, their were more women MPs, and in the senior ranks of the public service. For his final question, Mulcair asked about the Correctional Investigator’s report on Aboriginals in prison. Harper responded that they wouldn’t presume to question the judiciary, but they were trying to take a balanced approach to deal with the issue. Jean Crowder carried on the same line of questions, but this time Rob Nicholson delivered a very similar response. Justin Trudeau led off for the Liberals today, and started off with a question about the suspected changes to EI training funds, and how centralising them in Ottawa would be of detriment. Harper assured him that they had consulted and were working with the provinces in order to address skills shortages in the country.
Round two started off with Rosane Doré Lefebvre continuing questions about the Correctional Investigator’s report (Nicholson: We’ve taken action inside and outside of the correctional system), Niki Ashton asked about missing and murdered Aboriginal women (Bergen: We stand for victims! Ambrose: We have increased targeted funding to Status of Women), Peggy Nash asked about cuts to programmes that benefit women in the public service (Ambrose: That’s not true, we’ve doubled funding to projects), before asking about the process for selecting the new PBO (Clement: This is a process under the Chief Librarian), Alexandrine Latendresse asked about a committee to look at bilingualism in areas of federal jurisdiction (Paradis gave some kind of non-sequitur “Orange Bloc” response), and Françoise Boivin asked about the security checks for Dr. Arthur Porter (Toews: We haven’t relaxed our security checks, and both opposition leaders were consulted on his appointment). Carolyn Bennett returned to the issue of Aboriginals in prisons (Nicholson gave the very same response as before), Scott Brison asked about the increased difficulty for seniors to file their taxes under cutbacks (Shea: Canadians are changing the way they file their taxes!), and Judy Sgro asked about pensions (Glover: Look at the new reforms we’ve made). Christine Moore and Matthew Kellway returned to the questions of the problems with the F-35s (Ambrose: We have embarked on a full options analysis), and Linda Duncan asked about the “coding error” made by DND about their contract spending (MacKay: I explained this error at committee yesterday), and a question on a “drafting error” in an immigration bill (Kenney: Even after dozens of witnesses and hours of examination, you didn’t catch it either).
Round three saw questions on the promised increase in settlement of refugees while settlement figures are actually going down, affordable housing for women, changes to EI, the Coast Guard and the closed Kitsilano station, tax assistance for low-income seniors, diplomatic property transactions in London, difficulties in getting SIN cards in the North, and changes to EI training funds.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Annick Papillon for a dark grey suit with a white top, and to Maxime Bernier for a grey pinstripe suit with a light blue shirt and a navy striped tie. Style citations go out to François Lapointe for a black suit with a moss green shirt and orange tie, and to Jean Crowder for a smock-like moss green jacket with a black top and trousers. Special mention to Diane Ablonczy for a nicely cut black suit, but the sparkly jacket was distracting.