It was Bob Rae’s last QP as interim leader, while news of some kind of Conservative backbench revolt had fizzled out. With Thomas Mulcair still off in Labrador, it was up to Megan Leslie to lead off QP, asking about the tax increases in the budget. In response, Stephen Harper insisted that the NDP would raise taxes even more — apparently implicitly saying that the increases in the budget are okay in comparison. Charlie Angus was up next, bringing up the finding of the Ethics Commissioner with regard to the finding of Jay Hill. Tony Clement explained that they referred the matter to the Ethics Commissioner in the first place, and they strengthened the law in the first place. And then it was Bob Rae’s turn, for which he got an ovation by the entire House to mark the occasion. Rae hit out at the NDP and their disapproval of Keystone XL, and wondered why Harper wouldn’t lead a “Team Canada” delegation of supportive MPs and premiers to Washington in order to advocate for the pipeline. Harper said that they were already working hard, and that he wished he had such good ideas earlier.
Round two began with Peggy Nash returning to the issue of new tax hikes in the budget (Menzies: But we’ve reduced taxes overall and you voted against that), Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe asked about tax increases affecting seniors (Menzies: Look at these budget measures that will help seniors), Guy Caron and Menzies went on for another round on tax increases, before Alexandre Boulerice called the tax changes to labour-sponsored capital an attack on unions (Bernier: These measures are in favour of investors for big or small ministers), Murray Rankin asked about the closure of tax loopholes when CRA is cutting staff (Shea: We’re adding, not cutting audit positions). Bob Rae was back up for another round, asking about budget measures with the “solidarity fund” and an overall decrease infrastructure spending (Lebel: Municipalities like our budget). Jean Crowder asked about education funds for on-reserve Aboriginals (Rickford: We are funding at equitable levels when you look at the larger numbers), Jonathan Geneset-Jourdain asked about the upcoming talks about treaties with First Nations (Rickford: We are creating prosperity, you want higher taxes on northerners), and Anne Quach and François Choquette asked about the NRTEE’s website and web holdings (Kent: These files have been distributed to libraries and to the National Archives).
Round three saw questions on rural post offices, two more questions by Rae, one on Elections Canada and another on same-sex marriage in light of the changes of heart by Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and David Cameron, a trade mission to South Korea, yet another question from Bob Rae on rumours that Radio-Canada is changing its name, a questionable start-up loan, the costs of the Giant Mine clean-up, and former Aveos workers being required to pay back EI after they got compensation from the company after the fact.
So yes, for the record, Bob Rae asked every single question for the Liberals. And he still showed the House how it’s done, with not one single script in sight. His successor should take note.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Michelle Rempel for a brown-on-brown patterned dress, and to James Bezan for a tan suit with a white shirt and pocket square and a peach tie. Style citations go out to Bal Gosal for a black suit with a yellow shirt and black-and-yellow tie, and to Sadia Groguhé for a butter yellow three-quarter sleeve jacket with a black top and trousers.