With the March For Life having left the lawn outside the Hill, and Mark Warawa having won his little victory by making a statement on female “gendercide” in the House, Question Period got started with Thomas Mulcair reading a question on whether the government would back the NDP’s opposition day motion on the improperly reported $3.1 billion in anti-terrorism funds. Harper got up and calmly reminded him that the Auditor General himself said the money was not misspent, and they will follow through on improving their reporting on the future. Mulcair then turned to the issue of the Senate audits and made a number of scurrilous accusations about the character of the Other Place. Harper said that the external auditors found ambiguities in the rules but that the Senate expected better of its members and they would be repaying the money owed. For his final question, Mulcair asked about a woman who was denied benefits while she received treatment for breast cancer while on maternity leave. Harper said that they recently changed the rules in order to ensure that these instances wouldn’t happen again. For the Liberals, Dominic LeBlanc asked about the government’s wasteful spending on ads and media monitoring instead of youth summer jobs. Diane Finley rose to take that question, and rejected the premise, and touted the launch of the Canada Summer Jobs programme. Ralph Goodale was up next, asking the same in English — and got the very same response. For his final question, Goodale asked about the demise of the long-form census, noting that some small towns were wiped out because of insufficient data. Christian Paradis responded with the red herring about a larger sample size ignoring the actual statistical invalidity of much of the data.
Round two started with Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe and Malcolm Allen returning to the question of the $3.1 billion (Clement: All of that information is in the Public Accounts), Linda Duncan asked about the Ontario Superior Court’s judgement on a relocation service contract (Ambrose: This is still before the courts so I won’t comment), Mathieu Ravignat asked about the secretive management contracts (Clement: I agree and we will require disclosure in the future), before he turned to the question of media monitoring (Ambrose: We want to be aware of what our members are saying because we’re proud of them), and Charlie Angus made another inflammatory statement about the Senate audit (Van Loan: The audit found problems with the rules and the Senate has made changes to those rules). Marc Garneau, Joyce Murray and Rodger Cuzner returned to the comparison of the media monitoring contract versus student summer jobs (Finley: You’re not helping students get jobs by voting against the budget). Annick Papillon asked about the closure of the Quebec maritime rescue subcentre (Ashfield: The safety of mariners remains our top priority and the consolidation won’t happen until bilingual capacity is assured), before Ryan Cleary asked the same about the same subcentre in St. John’s, and Fin Donelly asked about the closure in Kitsilano (Ashfield: There has been no reduction in service from these closures).
Round three saw questions on the demise of the long-form census, the mother denied EI benefits during cancer treatment, the long-awaited changes to the Electoral Act to deal with the problems identified during the last election, the commitment to Aboriginal children’s rights, leaks on a grounded ship off the east coast, better train service in the Montreal area, and another question about the “forced” patriation onto Quebec.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Devinder Shory for a light grey suit with a pink shirt and a white and pink striped tie, and to Anne Quach for a red and black Mandarin dress. Style citations go out to Peggy Nash for a fluorescent orange jacket over a dark red dress, and to Dany Morin for a dark grey suit with a fluorescent yellow shirt and black and grey paisley tie.