After Tuesday’s rather dismal performance by the opposition in trying to hold a government to account in the face of scandal, it remained to be seen if anything would be any better today. QP got underway as Thomas Mulcair stood to read a question about how asking the Senate Board of Internal Economy looking into the Duffy affair was tantamount to Paul Martin asking Jean Chrétien to investigate the sponsorship scandal. John Baird, once more the designated back-up PM du jour, said that he had indicated the audit was being referred to two independent bodies, but didn’t clarify or dispute Mulcair’s assertion that it was Internal Economy. Mulcair pressed for documents related to the affair, but Baird insisted that no documents existed to the best of his knowledge. Nathan Cullen tried once more to get answers, but got the very same carefully parsed answers. Justin Trudeau was up next and asked who gave the order for the Conservative majority on the Board of Internal Economy to whitewash the Duffy audit report — and offered to provide the original, damning audit. Baird consisted to insist that the audit found improper expenses, which were paid back, but it should be noted that the talking point that Wright did the honourable thing in writing the cheque had vanished, and there was no disputing that his resignation was accepted once the PM found out about the transaction.
Round two stated off with Charlie Angus, Alexandre Boulerice and Françoise Boivin hammering on the need to see the agreement between Wright and Duffy (Baird: I’ve already said the PM was not aware), Craig Scott brought up the illegality of such a payment (Baird: We don’t direct the operations of the RCMP), and Pat Martin asked an aimless and convoluted question that had something to do with accountability (Baird: Remember when we worked on the Accountability Act together and the Liberal Senators made changes to it?). Justin Trudeau was back up, and asked for the cheque, as well as an email currently in possession of the PMO, which he provided the date for (Baird: We will cooperate with the Ethics Commissioner). Anne-Marie Day asked about seasonal EI changes (Leitch: Yay our programmes), Chris Charlton asked about then failed Conservative candidates being appointed to the new Social Security Tribunal (Van Loan: They need to pass a rigorous process to ensure they are appointed by merit), Ryan Cleary asked about the hiring problems at ACOA in PEI (Shea: The investigation showed no political interference), and Mathieu Ravignat asked about the spending on advertising (Leitch: We’re informing Canadians of our programmes!).
Round three saw questions on our declining levels of science and technology spending, allegations of sexual harassment in the RCMP, more about the Wright/Duffy issue, changes to the parent and grandparent reunification programme for immigrants, pyrotite concerns, social housing, and methods of communicating with the unemployed.
Overall, there was some minor improvement in the line of questioning to short, simple questions, but it still had a long way to go before it became prosecutorial. Oh, and it was Trudeau that had Baird stumbling over his talking points, whereas he just shrugged off Mulcair/Cullen/Angus, et al, for what it’s worth.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Eve Adams for a tailored black suit and top, and to Randy Kamp for a black suit with a pink shirt and pink striped tie. Style citations go out to Mark Warawa for a black suit with a bright teal shirt and a multicoloured tie, and to Christine Moore for a zebra wrap dress and matching scarf with black trousers.