QP: Bonuses, modernization, and vacations

While there was nothing else on his calendar to indicate why he should be absent, the PM nevertheless was. Rona Ambrose led off, incredulous that the PM was frustrated with Bombardier for their bonuses when he negotiated the deal with no strings. (Note: He didn’t actually negotiate it). Navdeep Bains rebutted that it was a repayable loan with clear strings around protecting jobs. Ambrose railed that the budget nickel-and-dimes Canadians in the face of this, to which Bains insisted that they had a plan around jobs, and touted the job creation numbers. Ambrose and Bains went another round of the same, before Ambrose switched to French to give it yet another round in the other official language. Bains responded in kind, albeit a little more awkwardly, before Ambrose moved onto the topic of changing the Standing Orders, for which Bardish Chagger trotted out her lines about “modernizing” the House of Commons. Thomas Mulcair took up the topic and wondered how Chagger feels having to cover for the PM. Chagger stood up to give earnest praise about being part of a government that consults and listens to Canadians. Mulcair asked in French, and Chagger praised the “new approach” in French in return. Mulcair turned to the Prime Minister’s “illegal vacation” and revelations about payments related to it, for which Chagger asserted that the PM needs to be in constant contact with his office even when out of the country. Mulcair and Chagger then went around for another round of the same.

Round two, and Denis Lebel worried about the PM’s disregard for his promises (Chagger: Look at all the great changes like appointing a woman House Leader; Petitpas Taylor: Progress on helping Canadians!), Candice Bergen railed about changing the Standing Orders (Chagger: Modernizing!) and Tony Clement worried about the technician on the PM’s vacation (Chagger: He has to be in constant contact). Alexandre Boulerice railed about tax havens (Lebouthillier: We are cracking down), and Sheri Benson railed about CIBC outsourcing jobs to India (Bains: We’re investing in skills in the budget). James Bezan and Pierre Paul-Hus worried that the Iraqis pleaded with us to keep the CF-18s in theatre (Sajjan: I made two trips there to ensure we had a plan for the right troops on the ground and the results are showing). Robert Aubin worried about insufficient funding for foreign aid (Bibeau: Our partners asked us for three things, and we’re providing them), and Randall Garrison decried the extension of the mission in Iraq (Sajjan: We committed to extending three months to evaluate next steps).

Round three saw questions on Bombardier, cutting the transit tax credit, softwood lumber, the military ombudsman, a former Liberal candidate being appointed to the Hamilton Port Authority, other Liberal appointments, judicial appointments, the Canada 150 Fund, and the lack of ice breakers on the Saint Lawrence.

Overall, it was a terribly repetitive day, between the ceaseless questions about Bombardier, and proposed changes to the Standing Orders. While the former are a bit mind-number, the latter are slightly infuriating between the Conservative hypocrisy over their own poor behaviour when they were in government while they decry behaviours that are not as bad, to Bardish Chagger’s endless recitations about the need to “modernize” the House of Commons and turning it into a “twenty-first century workplace,” which is looking to make my head rupture out to frustration. I was also disappointed that the government didn’t take the opportunity to shut down the eye-rollingly bad questions on the transit tax credit, where they had ample evidence that it was poor policy and an insanely costly an ineffective emissions reduction mechanism. They chose to respond with some canned talking points, which is disappointing but indicative of the state of things.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Raj Grewal for a dark grey tailored suit with a light blue shirt and pocket square with a navy tie and turban, and to Sherry Romanado for a black suit with a pink collared shirt. Style citations go out to Alice Wong for a pink and purple jacket with a black foliage pattern, and to Glen Motz for a dark grey suit with a bright blue shirt and medium grey tie.