QP: An unreserved apology

With all of the leaders back in the House, it was a question of what would be top of mind for the day. Thomas Mulcair started off with a brief question – was it okay for a minister to knowingly mislead Parliament? Harper insisted that ministers tell the truth all the time. So why, Mulcair wondered, did the minister say that “no money has been spent” on the F-35s when in fact millions have already been spent. Well the minister was referring to acquisition costs, Harper insisted. And thus the accounting excuse remained trotted out. Peggy Nash was up next and asked just how much the government expected to save by changing the eligibility date for OAS, and Diane Finley insisted it wasn’t an issue of savings, but the long-term viability of the system. Bob Rae returned to the question of misleading figures around the F-35s, but Harper insisted that the Auditor General asked to review the figures, and they’ve a commitment to do just that. For his final question, Rae asked about CIDA staff being laid off while Bev Oda is swanning about in expensive hotels and limousines. Oda herself stood up and said that it was unacceptable, that the expenses shouldn’t have been charged to taxpayers, that she’s paid them back (well, except for the limousines) and that she apologised unreservedly. And that was the last we heard from her.

Round two kicked off with Charlie Angus and Alexandre Boulerice asking again after Oda’s spending (Van Loan: She’s apologised) and the ongoing Robocon investigation (Del Mastro: These are sweeping allegations with no facts; Poilievre: A Liberal poll is not a replacement for an election), Guy Caron and Peter Julian asked about Christian Paradis’ latest ethical investigation (Van Loan: The Ethics Commissioner will provide a response to this Liberal letter), Niki Ashton asked about the government taking steps to address the sexual harassment in the RCMP (Toews: We’re taking it seriously, but there is litigation so we can’t comment). Mark Eyking asked about Oda’s chauffeurs (Van Loan: She repaid her costs – err, except for the costs of the limousines), Joyce Murray asked about that EKOS poll on robocalls in those seven ridings (Del Mastro: Baseless allegations), and Stéphane Dion asked about availability of search and rescue services in French (Ashfield: There will be no impact on safety). Closing off the round, Olivia Chow asked about railway maintenance (Lebel: We’ve set aside all this money for rail safety and service!), and Brian Massey asked about CBSA cuts allowing more for more smuggling (Toes: You voted against increasing their budget, so why are you complaining if it gets cut?).

Round three saw questions on scientists being muzzled, gutting fisheries habitat protection, food inspection cuts, cutting washing stations that prevent contaminated soil from infecting food-producing regions, Aveos workers, the true net savings of closing the Kingston penitentiary, punishing refugees under the current system and the proposed new one, and why it’s okay for Cuba to be excluded from the Summit of the Americas while China gets a free pass in Canada (Harper: It was agreed upon years ago to only include democratically elected governments).

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Marc Garneau for a smart grey pinstripe suit with a pink shirt and tie, and to Lisa Raitt for a smartly cut black top and jacket. Style citations go out to Isabelle Morin for her boxy white jacket with a terrible black and gold floral pattern across it, and to Alex Atamanenko for a grey jacket, maroon shirt, forest green tie and brown trousers.