The galleries were packed, including the press gallery, which was something of a rarity. Even more rare was Peter Mansbridge showing up for the festivities. Every leader was present — also a rarity for a Monday, but as Harper is travelling later in the week, he’s making up the day. And so, when things kicked off, Thomas Mulcair read off five questions about RBC and the use of temporary foreign workers, and called on Jason Kenney to apologise. Harper stood up to say that the programme was not intended to take jobs away of Canadians, and they would be investigating, but for his third supplemental, pointed out that eight NDP MPs wrote letters to the department asking for more temporary foreign worker approvals for their regions, which were regions with high unemployment. This set Mulcair off, and he got red-faced as he leaned over his mini-lectern as he yelled back at Harper. And then it was Trudeau’s turn. After a snag with translation, he asked a trio of questions about the increases in tariffs in the budget — not so much reading his questions but checking his notes on his desk occasionally. Harper, after congratulating Trudeau on his win, said that it didn’t make sense to give tax breaks to countries like China, which were no longer developing — to which Scott Andrews heckled “so you’re raising taxes on Canadians!”
For round two, Peter Julian brought up Joe Oliver bringing up doubts about climate science (Oliver: We believe in science, unlike your deputy leader — meaning Megan Leslie who cast doubt on the US State Department study on the Keystone XL; Rempel: Your party is full of job creation deniers), Peggy Nash asked about the “iPod tax” tariff changes (Menzies: I’m not sure where you get this information since iPods have been coming into this country tax free for years), Murray Rankin asked a pair of clumsy questions about tax loopholes (Shea: We are cracking down on tax havens), Guy Caron gave more of the same in French (Shea: We want to crack down on “aggressive tax planning”), Annick Papillon returned to the tariff changes (Menzies: You vote against out measures to lower taxes). Scott Brison brought up Mike Moffatt’s research on the tariff changes (Menzies — incredulously: Moffatt’s doesn’t know what he’s talking about), Dominic LeBlanc gave the same in French (Menzies: Look at everyone praising no new taxes in Economic Action Plan 2012™), and Joyce Murray gave the tariffs one last kick (Menzies gave some nonsensical retort about the BC carbon tax). Charlie Angus and Jack Harris asked about Peter Penashue’s claims that he held up projects to get funding for Labrador (Poilievre: Penashue did ALL THE THINGS for Labrador!), and Alexandrine Latendresse and Craig Scott asked about the charges laid against Michael Sona (Uppal: The new legislation on elections communications will come out soon).
Round three saw questions on the withdrawal from the UN desertification convention, the withdrawal from the working group on public health in the North, Peter Penashue’s claims, cuts to fisheries science resources, cuts to food safety, the allegations that Julian Fantino has an English-only policy in his office, the menace of nickel dust, and the 1982 Supreme Court reference on patriation.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Justin Trudeau for a tailored dark grey suit with a white shirt and Sinclair tartan tie, and to Alexandrine Latendresse for her short sleeved tailored black dress. Style citations go out to Christine Moore for a busy white dress with random black stripes and red panels, and to Bal Gosal for a black suit with a yellow shirt and tie.