After some Members’ Statements to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day and a moment of silence to pay respect, Question Period: F-35 edition got underway. Thomas Mulcair took up all five slots in the leader’s round to demand that Peter MacKay be held responsible for the debacle (not that he demanded his resignation outright), but Harper responded with his usual manner – standing up, shrugging, and saying that they’ve accepted the Auditor General’s report and have put in place a new secretariat to oversee the process. And it was probably Thomas Mulcair’s best performance, with shorter more direct questions, but he was still reading them off. Bob Rae stood up to decry the $10 billion misinformation and wanted Harper personally held responsible, right up to his resignation. Harper was sounding a bit more testy by the end, but kept going back to his talking points about accepting the report and the establishment of a new secretariat, but he did use the rather odd language of it being a more independent process to verify cost estimates, rather than to run an open competition. And in case you were worried, no, he didn’t offer his resignation over this affair.
Round two was largely dominated again by the F-35 debacle. Christine Moore, Matthew Kellway, Matthew Ravignat, Peggy Nash and Malcolm Allen had their own takes on it, whether it was more calls for MacKay to take responsibility, or trying to paint Christian Paradis with the same brush from his time as Public Works minister, or demanding an apology on behalf of the Parliamentary Budget Officer for the way he was treated when his estimates were unpopular but later proved correct. Answering were Julian Fantino, Rona Ambrose, and Peter MacKay, but they only repeated the very same talking points as before (though Ambrose, to her credit, could at least mix it up a bit and give the same talking point six different ways and make it sound like she was giving more information than she really was). Marc Garneau demanded MacKay’s resignation (MacKay: You’re misrepresenting the AG’s report), John McKay followed suit (Ambrose: Look! New secretariat!), and Judy Foote demanded that Fantino resign, calling him the minister without portfolio (the M-4 Unit stood up to respond, and you could hear his duotronic circuits whirring for a few seconds while he tried to formulate a response, before he simply went back to his talking points). From here, the topic shifted, and Hoang Mai asked about the AG report on tax avoidance (Shea: Look at all the things the AG praised us for!), while Nycole Turmel and Paul Dewar asked about the effect of public service job cuts (Saxton: Yay leaner government!).
Round three saw questions on Bruce Carson’s relationship with John Duncan, patronage appointments, CBC cuts, gas prices in Quebec, the demise of the National Round Table on Energy and the Requirement and Rights & Democracy, cuts to staff on military bases, and federal intrusion in BC’s coasts with regards to the Northern Gateway pipeline (Lebel: There are sound regulations in place).
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to John McKay for his charcoal suit with a pink shirt and light blue tie, and to Michelle Rempel for a simple yet tailored black dress with a blue and grey scarf that wasn’t distracting. Style citations go out to Jasbir Sandhu for a pale orange shirt and tie with his grey suit, and to Lynne Yelich for a yellow jacket with black piping with a black turtleneck.