QP: No warpath, just general questions

One would have thought that with the Conservatives having rejected the NDP formal request to split the omnibus budget implementation bill that Thomas Mulcair would be on the warpath. But no – he instead started off QP by asking a fairly broad question about the bill and its large environmental component, and Harper answered with a general response about the need to “streamline” review processes. Mulcair then went to the issue of the demise of the Public Appointments Commission in said bill, and he got into a back-and-forth with Harper about the NDP voting to kill it (never mind that it was a non-binding motion rejecting the proposed commissioner). Matthew Kellway then got up to ask about the updated cost figures from the F-35s, and Julian Fantino got up for the first time in ages to assure the House that there is not only a Seven-Point Plan™, but rather a Seven-Point Action Plan™ for the procurement process. Bob Rae rose for the Liberals, and went after the government for their using the CRA to investigate charities they don’t like, never mind that ones they do like get hundreds of thousands of dollars in foreign donations. Harper insisted that the CRA is an arm’s length agency and that charities have to operate within clear limits.

Round two kicked off with Megan Leslie asking about the Environment Commissioner’s report (Kent: He’s under-informed), Peter Julian asked why the government was trying to muzzle Tides Canada through its CRA audit (Shea: Can’t comment on specific cases), Mathieu Ravignat and Charlie Angus asked about allegations that SNC-Lavalin was making donations to the Conservatives in exchange for favourable contracts – even though the scenario they outlined about making contributions to “dead-dog ridings” that were then funnelled to Christian Paradis’ riding and being paid back with said contracts did seem to be a bit of a reach (Poilievre: You know who else SNC-Lavalin donated to? Your leader when he was a provincial Liberal cabinet minister in Quebec), before Angus and Alexandrine Latendresse asked about why the government was hiring an expensive private sector lawyer for the suit brought against them by Helena Guergis (Clement: All MPs are indemnified, and this is within Treasury Board guidelines). Marc Garneau asked about cuts to the Canadian Space Agency and the impact on the company MDA, which the government blocked from being sold years ago, not to mention our country’s innovation (Paradis: This is a cost-cutting exercise and we need a vision in this sector), and John McKay asked about the further problems revealed with military procurement (Fantino: Never mind the issue with the Arctic patrol ships, we’re following our commitment to build them in Canada). Libby Davies asked about the minister’s response about downloading responsibility for the Mental Health Strategy onto the provinces – despite the fact that one should have asked these questions yesterday when the minister made the response rather than wait a full 24 hours (Aglukkaq: We’re ensuring stable funding transfers to the provinces), and Randall Garrison and Francoise Boivin asked about Vic Toews’ ordering the RCMP not to cooperate with provincial gun registries (Toews: We had a strong mandate to end the registry; Nicholson: Soft on crime!).

Round three saw questions on cuts to veterans affairs and food inspection, changes to OAS, the “Pierre Poutine” IP address, credit card regulation, the “net benefit” test for foreign takeovers, cuts to refugee health benefits, cleaning up a contaminated site in a First Nation, and Quebec artefacts being sent to Ottawa as part of Parks Canada cuts.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Peter MacKay for his grey suit with a white shirt and purple tie, and to Lisa Raitt for her black jacket with the white piping and a white collared. Style citations go out to Jinny Sims for a black dress with green and white patterns with a red sweater, and to Alex Atamanenko, for a greyish corduroy jacket, green shirt, moss trousers, and a blueberry striped tie. Dishonourable mention to Robert Goguen for a fluorescent blue shirt/grey suit violation.