QP: Yet more questions of Zajdel and other former staffers

As the sitting winds down, and the benches are restless, nobody was much expecting it to be a calm and civil QP. On top of that, Thomas Mulcair was off in Quebec City to showcase his regional caucus there, Stephen Harper was wrapping up the G8 summit, and Justin Trudeau was, well, elsewhere, it meant that Elizabeth May was the only leader in the House. Megan Leslie led off, asking if any member of the Prime Minister’s Office had been approached by the RCMP regarding the Wright investigation. James Moore, once again the designated back-up PM du jour, said no, and witness how they cooperate and not sit on evidence of corruption for 17 years. Leslie demanded proof that Wright’s cheque to Duffy was a personal one, to which Moore reminded her that he couldn’t access the personal cheques of Canadians. Leslie changed topics and asked if Moore had even met Saulie Zajdel before he hired him. Moore reminded her that Zajdel was a city councillor for 22 years and was a candidate, but it he had broken the law, the book should be thrown at him. Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe wondered who recommended Zajdel’s hiring — was it Senator Housakos or Dimitri Soudas? Moore sidestepped the question and returned to the admonition that if any lawbreaking was found, books would be thrown. When Blanchette-Lamothe brought up the former staffer who is now under investigation by the RCMP for the West Block contract, Moore said that an investigation already said there was no political interference in that cooperation. Dominic LeBlanc was up for the Liberals, and after another Zajdel question, asked what it was that the PM was asking of his chiefs of staff that landed them under RCMP investigation. Moore kept up his usual swipes about Trudeau’s speaking fees and Senators Pana Merchant and Mac Harb.

Round two started off with Ève Péclet returning to the Zajdel arrest (Moore: If he’s broken the law, the book will be thrown at him), Rosane Doré Lefebvre and Jean Crowder brought up the former staffer under investigation for the West Block contract (Gourde: It was already determined that there was no political interference), Charlie Angus asked the same again with his usual rhetorical flourish (Gourde: No we didn’t discuss it with him), and Nathan Cullen gave some umbrage about time allocation (Van Loan: Yay our Economic Action Plan™). Marc Garneau returned that former staffer (Moore: Same answer as before), and Gerry Byrne returned to the Public Service Integrity Commissioner’s investigation into ECBC (Shea: I can’t comment on an ongoing investigation). Christine Moore and Matthew Kellway asked about the contract signed by Lockheed Martin around F-35 training simulators (Findlay: Because of our participation in the MOU, Canadian aerospace companies can bid on contracts and we won’t make a decision on the replacement fighters until the process is complete), and Paul Dewar and Hélène Laverdière asked about the holes raised in the Cluster Munitions Treaty (Obhrai: Our legislation fully aligns us with the convention and the position of our allies).

Round three saw questions on the problems with the Canada Jobs Grant program, the hiring practices at ECBC, ad spending during hockey games, pension reform with the provinces, cuts at ethno-cultural television stations, a questionable reappointment, language training for francophones outside of Quebec, and the government’s overreaction to the Royal Bank’s abuse of the Temporary Foreign Workers programme when it is needed by many companies, especially in Alberta — and yes, that was a serious question from Brent Rathgeber.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Michelle Rempel for a white dress with black and red patterns and a black jacket, and to Scott Brison for a navy suit with a pink shirt and navy and red tie. Style citations go out to Mark Warawa for a black suit with a blindingly blue shirt and multicoloured tie, and to Gail Shea for a black top with a formless red and black overshirt. Dishonourable mention goes out to Jean Rousseau for a black suit with a fluorescent yellow shirt and a yellow and brown striped tie.