The benches nearly full after morning caucus meetings, QP started off with Thomas Mulcair asking about the PM’s indication from the UK that he has access to the $90,000 but was simply refusing to turn it over. James Moore, the designated back-up PM du jour, said that it wasn’t the case and that the PM simply indicated that there was an independent process underway. Mulcair asked the same again in English, returning to his old habit of grand soliloquies being read from his desk, while Conservative MPs made grizzly bear noises. For his final question, he asked about Van Loan’s chief of staff being part of the committee looking into replacing the Parliamentary Budget Officer. Van Loan insisted that this process was the same as the one that selected Kevin Page. Peggy Nash carried on the very same line of questioning, and Van Loan and Tony Clement gave the same answers in reply. Justin Trudeau was up next for the Liberals and asked a series of unanswered questions that still surrounded the Wright-Duffy affair. James Moore stood up and talked about passing S-2 on Aboriginal property rights and the great job numbers. When Trudeau pressed, Moore said that the questions had already been answered and took a number of gratuitous swipes instead.
Round two started off with Charlie Angus bringing up Bruce Carson’s disbelief in the PM’s story on the Wright Deal, before turning to the fact that the “secret” party fund can’t be audited by Elections Canada — as though their own books were any different (Poilievre: It’s a party fund and the statements to to Elections Canada), Chris Charlton and Alexandre Boulerice asked about the Senate Internal Economy knowing about problems with Wallin’s expenses for 18 months — as though Senate business were government operations (Moore: The Senate is being audited by the Auditor General thanks to us), Craig Scott and Alexandrine Latendresse wondered why the Elections Act hasn’t yet been tabled (Uppal: We want to get it right), and Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe asked a random question on transparency (Moore: We’ll pass Senate reform immediately if you want to do so unanimously). Scott Andrews wondered how many Conservative MPs were under investigation by Elections Canada (Poilievre: Your leader is double-dipping doing his speaking engagements), and Stéphane Dion asked about the provinces being consulted on the European free trade agreement (Keddy: Provinces and municipalities have been involved since the beginning). Olivia Chow and Robert Aubin asked about the TSB report on the VIA rail derailment (Fletcher: The Minister is taking the advice of the advisory council and will look at bringing in recording devices), and Djaouida Sallah and Libby Davies asked about healthcare wait times (Aglukkaq: Nothing is my jurisdiction — even though Aboriginals and the military actually are).
Round three saw questions on desperate concessions being made of the EU trade negotiations in order to get a good news story out, the digitisation of content at Library and Archives Canada, the retention and sharing of CSE data, funding for an animal monitoring project, World Bank partnerships in developing countries, the new safe injection site legislation, the status of the two CBC reporters detained in Turkey, flooding in a riding, and the new history programmes interfering in Quebec’s jurisdiction.
Overall, things degraded further today as Mulcair and others were back to grand soliloquies in the place of pointed questions. In fact, the only thing that hasn’t yet returned is Mulcair’s mini-lectern but at this rate, it should be back by the end of the week. Apparently good QPs were too much to ask for on an ongoing basis.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Judy Foote for a black and white patterned dress with a black sweater, and to James Bezan for a dark grey suit with a light blue shirt and a dark blue tie and pocket square. Style citations go out to Mark Warawa for a black suit with a bright green shirt and a shiny green patterned tie, and to Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe for a white jacket with a frilly tie-died floral skirt. Honourable mention goes out to one of the Filipino guests in the Senate gallery, who not only pulled off a rather floral wrap dress and a large white full-blown ladies’ hat, and with her silver-headed cane, she looked a bit like a Filipino Dowager Countess of Grantham.