Not only was Harper away from Question Period today – as he is still in London celebrating Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee – but Thomas Mulcair was mysteriously absent as well. (What was that about people who wanted promotions needing to show up?) Nathan Cullen instead took his place and asked about the government’s need to redraft their entire Canada First Defence Strategy because they can’t afford all of it. Jason Kenney, still as the designated back-up PM du jour, insisted that his government acted to rebuild the Forces, and were better for the military than any other government in living memory. Jack Harris then asked about the very same thing, and then both he and Christine Moore brought in the costly price tag for Peter MacKay’s photo op about choosing the F-35s, to which Julian Fantino read off a talking point about the need to inform the public. Moore’s final question was about MacKay’s office chastising DND for not defending MacKay well enough with his various scandals, but Fantino read off a talking point about the professional relationship between the minister’s office and DND. Bob Rae was up next, and asked about the issue of youth unemployment and apprentices being laid off, and did the government have a plan to deal with that? Diane Finely at first insisted that they were proud of their investments in youth employment, before Kenney responded to the supplementals about how they were continuing to target economic growth.
Round two kicked off with Alexandre Boulerice, Charlie Angus, and Mathieu Ravignat asking questions about limousine expenses from three other ministers at Davos earlier in the year (Van Loan: We need to go abroad to tell Canada’s story, and they were chosen by fair competition and hey, they were even green!), and Jinny Sims and Sadia Groguhé asked about the latest revelations with the faking of the citizenship oath on SunTV – but both went on about blaming the bureaucrats rather than the actual story about the minister’s office protecting SunTV’s involvement (Kenney: We weren’t involved!). Geoff Regan asked about drug costs rising from the European Free Trade Agreement (Keddy: You’re misleading the public), Judy Foote asked about the Faking the Oath – again missing the point about the minister protecting SunTV (Kenney: We’re innocent), and John McKay asked about Peter MacKay’s office chastising DND (Fantino: The minister’s office has a strong professional relationship with DND). Olivia Chow and Robert Aubin asked about the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ criticism of the budget bill (Lebel: They’re proud of our infrastructure spending), and Irene Mathyssen read out some outrage about the volatility of pension plans (Menzies: We’re currently debating legislation that will give more Canadians access to a pension fund).
Round three saw questions on closures to NFB and telefilm cinemas, veterans’ privacy and other veterans being denied services, privatising aquatic research, bee farmers dealing with colony collapse (Ritz: “We take these allegations seriously”), insecticides, the lack of First Nations representation on the Hunting and Angling panel, the cuts to the Experimental Lakes Programme, private airports, and non-budgetary measures in the omnibus budget bill.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Greg Rickford for a trim black suit with a white shirt and pocket square, with a navy tie, and to Lisa Raitt for her fuchsia dress with a black sweater. Style citations go out to Linda Duncan for a radioactively orange jacket with an orange dress with brown trim (and a special shoutout to Niki Ashton who was also wearing an overly bright orange dress with matching pumps and a cream jacket), and to Mark Adler for his black suit with white shirt and yellow tie. Dishonourable mention to Megan Leslie for a black jacket, black-and-white top, and a bright yellow skirt. The Christine Moore shiny watch reports a black-and-red dress with a black sweater that featured studded silver ornamentation down the front edges.