Harper’s first day in the House post-budget, and Thomas Mulcair was not present. Instead, he on his way to Labrador to meet his party’s candidate in the upcoming by-election there. David Christopherson led off for the NDP, and railed against measures contained in the budget. Stephen Harper assured him that the budget has been well received. For his final supplemental, Christopherson angrily denounced the case of the cancer survivor fighting against the government to reclaim her EI benefits. Harper said that the Act had already been changed so that this situation wouldn’t happen again — though he couldn’t comment on this particular case because it is before the courts. Nycole Turmel returned to the same question in French, and got the same response, before she finished off with a boilerplate anti-budget denunciation. Ted Menzies responded by telling the House what the NDP voting against the budget would mean. For the Liberals, Bob Rae asked about the unilateral nature of the Canada Jobs Grant changes in the budget, to which Harper told him that they were trying to address the problem of jobs without people in this country. For his final question, Rae noted that his Harper’s backbenchers were concerned that he wasn’t letting them speak their minds, just as Harper wasn’t listening to the provinces about their concerns about the budget. Harper dodged by sticking to the budget lines.
Round two started off with Peggy Nash asking about the preferential tariff changes (Menzies: This was an old foreign aid measure that is no longer needed), Olivia Chow decried the lack of more infrastructure funds in the budget (Lebel: These are great measures), Robert Chisholm and Guy Caron asked about skills training changes (Moore: We are working with the provinces on these changes), Alexandre Boulerice asked about changes to labour-sponsored funds (Bernier: These investments will remain and the tax breaks to help the capitalise is no longer necessary), and Mathieu Ravignat asked about advertising spending (Oliver: We want Canadians to know about our responsible approach to resources). Gerry Byrne brought up the “tax cheat line” and tied it to Peter Penashue (Shea: We are closing tax loopholes to make taxes fairer!), Scott Andrews asked about the lack of funds for regional airports in the face of advertising budgets (Clement: The advertising budget has decreased since 2009-10!), and Scott Simms asked Penashue being held to account before the by-election (MacKay: Penashue is an honourable man and did ALL THE THINGS for Labrador). Jean Crowder asked about the funding gap for First Nations reserves in the north (Toews: We announced stable funding for First Nations policing), Romeo Saganash asked about the funding gap for First Nations education (Valcourt: We are meeting with First Nations and taking action), and Megan Leslie came back to Ashfield’s “You’re going to make someone a good wife” comments (Ashfield: We’ve already dealt with this, but yay Economic Action Plan™! Ambrose: I went to an event about creating jobs for women on Friday!)
Round three saw questions on search and rescue being available in both official languages, cases of silica dust exposure in iron mines, skills training changes without consulting the provinces, the lack of healthcare measures in the budget with TB rates being high in the North, asbestos, Lake Winnipeg stewardship, flood mitigation measures in Manitoba, regional development and Quebec’s dislike of the skills training changes.
Sartorially speaking, it was Purple Day for epilepsy, and as with so many of these days, it was met with mixed results. Snaps go out to Diane Ablonczy for her deep purple jacket with a subtle pattern throughout overtop an unpatterned purple dress, and to Blake Richards for a dark grey suit with a light purple checked shirt and a dark purple tie. Style citations go out to Ryan Cleary for a brown jacket, cream shirt, ugly brown patterned tie and blue jeans, and to Nina Grewal for one of those hateful loud floral tops under a black jacket.