QP: Back to helicopter questions

With the PM back from France, and business in the chamber was already hijacked by procedural shenanigans. Rona Ambrose led off, worrying that the PM had misled the House by saying that he had no choice by to take the private helicopter during his vacation to the Aga Khan’s island, to which Justin Trudeau deflected with his standard response that it was a personal vacation and he was happy to answer questions from the Ethics Commissioner. When Ambrose pressed, Trudeau added that he followed the RCMP’s advice regarding travel, but added nothing more, even on a third question, demanding clarification on the RCMP addition to the answer. Ambrose moved onto the question of Syria, demanding that sanctions be restored to Russia in a first step to remove Bashar Assad. Trudeau insisted that they were working broadly with the international community. When Ambrose pressed, Trudeau reminded her that the foreign minister was meeting with G7 counterparts on this very issue. Nathan Cullen and Karine Trudel returned to the helicopter issue, and Trudeau reiterated his same answer, in both official languages. Trudel then turned to the issue of court delays, and Trudeau responded with the same talking points that the justice minister gave yesterday, about working with a new process. Alistair MacGregor then demanded immediate marijuana decriminalization, and Trudeau reminded him that decriminalization does nothing to prevent it from getting into the hands of kids, or keeping profits out of the hands of the black market.

Round two, and Denis Lebel demanded action on court delays (Wilson-Raybould: We are meeting with our provincial counterparts to work on these issues), Shannon Stubbs, Joël Godin and Candice Bergen returned to the helicopter question (Chagger: He is provided with resources to stay in touch with his offices, RCMP determines transport). Randall Garrison and Hélène Laverdière asked about the mass arrests of gay men in Chechnya (DeCoursey: We have a special advisor, and they can count on our support). Blaine Calkins spun a conspiracy theory about SSHRC funding for Canada 2020 (Duncan: SSHRC is arm’s length). Kennedy Steward asked about the gender quota recommendations in the Naylor report (Duncan: We’re examining the report), and Sheri Benson demanded immediate pay equity legislation (Hajdu: We are still consulting with stakeholders to get the best bill possible).

Round three saw questions on the Standing Order changes, post-TPP trade talks in the Asia Pacific, Supply Management, UNRWA funding, political prisoners in Venezuela, First Nations transparency, waterway protections, CBC productions, and justice delays.

Overall, it was not a terribly edifying day, with the return of the interminable Aga Khan questions, which the constant wailing and gnashing of teeth about getting really tiresome, but maybe that’s just me after months of these. Meanwhile, some fairly pertinent questions on topics like Syria are barely being touched, because we need to hear once again that very same talking point about being happy to answer the questions of the Ethics Commissioner. (And hey, remember that this is what happens when you create a commissioner rather than have the House do this accountability work). I will give Rona Ambrose faint praise for actually changing her third question in response to Trudeau’s second response, but it’s too little too late, and doesn’t come across well when she’s still – still – using the mini-lectern every day.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Michelle Rempel for a blue dress with a black tartan pattern, and to Raj Grewal for a black three-piece auto with a light blue shirt and pocket square with a red turban and tie. Style citations go out to Blaine Calkins for a medium blue suit with a white she and red striped tie, and to Kirsty Duncan for a dusky rose jacket with a black top and slacks. Dishonourable mention goes out to Jody Wilson-Raybould for a lemon yellow jacket with a black dress.