QP: Avoiding celebrating the Charter

After the morning’s caucus meetings, a series of tributes to Rita MacNeil, and the implication that Justin Trudeau somehow supports terrorism, Wednesday QP got underway. As per usual, Thomas Mulcair started off by reading off a series of condemnations against the ministers of immigration and Human Resources for the Temporary Foreign Workers programme, and James Moore, who remained the designated back-up PM du jour, assured Mulcair that they were creating jobs, and reminded him that NDP MPs were also asking for approvals for their riding. Libby Davies was up next, and condemned the decision to end the funding to the Health Council of Canada. Moore assured her that they had increased health transfers to record levels. Justin Trudeau was up, and brought up the adoption of the Charter 31 years ago, asked asked what the government’s plan was to celebrate its anniversary. Moore said that they were big supporters of history — witness the Canadian Museum of History — and then segued to another riposte about asking for temporary foreign workers, this time by Trudeau himself. (As it later turned out, this was a request for a permit for a Chinese cook to work in a *gasp!* Chinese restaurant). Trudeau then mentioned the downgrading of growth forecasts, and brought that around to his consistent point about the new tariff rates impacting middle class Canadians. Moore insisted that the Liberals preferred higher taxes.

Round two started off with Peggy Nash carrying on about the tariff changes (Menzies — nonsensically: You like cheap imports rather than Canadian competition), Murray Rankin wondered how the cuts at CRA could possibly not affect its compliance division (Shea: We have increased staff to this division), Jamie Nicholls and Claude Gravelle asked a jargon-laden question about the forms to (Oliver: People who are in the industry understand the forms), and Peter Julian and Megan Leslie asked about Joe Oliver’s statements about people being not as worried about climate change as they used to be (Kent: This is the only government to have achieved GHG reductions). Maurice Bélanger, Joyce Murray and Scott Brison returned to the tariff changes issue (Menzies: You oppose our tax cuts and China doesn’t need these tax breaks). Hélène Laverdière and Don Davies asked about intellectual property changes in the EU free trade agreements in a rather roundabout way (Fast: Your question isn’t making any sense), and Malcolm Allen and Ruth Ellen Brosseau asked about the cuts to CFIA in the face of the requirements outlined in Bill S-11 (Ritz: You have faulty research, and we’ve increased their capacity).

Round three saw questions on EI changes for seasonal industries, the dismantling of the Health Council of Canada, the diluted chemo drugs, the forms for environmental review panels, Joe Oliver’s statements about climate change concerns, and another question designed to undermine the Supreme Court with regards to the patriation reference.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Blake Richards for his tailored dark grey suit with a white shirt and a black-and-white plaid tie, and to Lisa Raitt for her black jacket with white piping and a tastefully ruffled white top. Style citations go out to Laurin Liu for a cream satin dress with bright orange florals and a black jacket with three-quarter sleeves, and to Mike Sullivan for a dark grey suit with a pumpkin shirt and black tie.