It was a gorgeous — and hot — Monday in Ottawa, but there were few leaders present in the House. Thomas Mulcair was present, however, and started off by reading off questions about the AG’s report on the improperly tracked $3.1 billion, gesticulating a little more wildly than usual today. Jason Kenney, the designated back-up PM du jour, reminded him that the Auditor General said there was no evidence that any money was misspent, and that Treasury Board had accepted his recommendations. Mulcair carried on, taking the entire leader’s round, and asked about the changes to the collective bargaining for the CBC, wondering if they were going to ensure that Peter Mansbridge wasn’t paid any more than Ezra Levant. Kenney hit back by reminding him that when he was in the Quebec government, they had control over collective bargaining for their Crown Corporations there too. For the Liberals, Ralph Goodale asked about the tax changes in the budget, and how it was affecting the hard done-by middle class. Jason Kenney insisted that the total share of the federal tax burden was at its lowest level since 1965, thanks to the Conservatives. Marc Garneau closed out the round, asking about the tariff changes, but Jason Kenney gave the very same talking point as before.
Round two started off with Malcolm Allen and Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe returning to the $3.1 billion figure (Clement: Here are the facts about what the AG said, and that it wasn’t misspent), Mathieu Ravignat and Linda Duncan asked about the spending on Economic Action Plan™ “partisan propaganda” (Clement: Advertising spending is down since 2009), Christine Moore and Jack Harris asked about the replacement of the fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft (Alexander: We have an open and transparent process for modernising these fleets), before Harris asked Alexander to apologise for calling CBC’s Terry Milewski an “old Trotskyite” (Alexander didn’t, but gave talking points on the story about Arctic patrol ships), and Charlie Angus wanted Tony Clement to apologise for every single private data breach of the government’s (Clement: When I was in our riding to announce spending, you were full of nothing but praise for me). Judy Sgro asked about tax hikes hitting seniors (Wong: Look at all the things we did for seniors), Mauril Bélanger asked about the tax changes for credit unions (Flaherty: This was an old tax subsidy from the 1970s that other jurisdictions had phased out), and Scott Brison asked about putting GST on certain medical services, including mental health services (Flaherty: All medical services have been and will continue to be tax exempt, but examinations not for health purposes will be taxed). Alexandre Boulerice and Pierre Nantel asked about the collective bargaining changes for Crown Corporations, and in particular the CBC (Clement: We need to ensure that they are sustainable going forward), and Nantel and Andrew Cash asked about the proposed heritage committee study on Canadian history (Calandra: We want to look at how Canadians celebrate their history as we approach the 150th anniversary of Confederation).
Round three saw questions on EI changes for seasonal workers, closing a wharf in one region, muzzling DFO scientists, the Citadel Hill tax decision in Halifax, the use of chemical weapons in Syria and the lack of support for the opposition there, more about the $3.1 billion spent on anti-terrorism funding, the issue of pension plans, a dubious report on how wireless prices were dropping, the ferry for Manatoulin Island.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Maxime Bernier for a tailored navy suit with a white shirt and brilliant blue patterned tie, and to Olivia Chow for a bright blue dress with an off-white lace jacket. Style citations go out to Ève Péclet for a light grey tunic dress with faded pink sleeves, and to Jean Rousseau for a black suit with a bright dark blue shirt and a tan striped tie.