With Stephen Harper just having visited France, Thomas Mulcair took the opportunity to start off Question Period by pointing out that the French president has just lowered the retirement age in that country from 62 to 60 (which I believe is simply restoring the age that had been raised previously), and wondered why Harper wouldn’t take a page from the same notebook and keep from raising the age of eligibility for OAS from 65 to 67. Peter Van Loan, still the designated back-up PM du jour, wasn’t biting. Mulcair then went on to ask about Harper’s further comments about European integration, to which Jim Flaherty informed him that the solution was not to give Canadian money to a bail out those European countries. Peggy Nash was up next asking about what plan there was for the coming European economic storm, to which Flaherty asserted that they’ve been working with Europe for years about their fiscal woes. Bob Rae was up next, and asked the government to divide up the omnibus budget bill, to which Van Loan responded with the canned pitch for the Economic Action Plan™. Rae asked about the changes in the bill that had no consultation with the premiers, but Van Loan cleverly retorted that the Liberals cut provincial transfers during their reign. To finish off the leaders’ round, Rae asked why, per Van Loan, they ran a competition for their limos used in Davos, but couldn’t run a competition for the F-35s? Van Loan pointed out that they have a new secretariat and a Seven-Point Action Plan™.
Round two saw questions from Anne-Marie Day, Megan Leslie and Malcolm Allen about the proposed EI changes (Finley: We’re helping people find work), Jonathan Genest-Jourdain asked about food safety for First Nations (Rickford: We’ve created an advisory board), and Jean Crowder and Dennis Bevington asked why the Indian Affairs minister wasn’t answering questions at committee (Rickford: He was there to talk about Supplementary Estimates A, and you weren’t asking questions about it). Scott Andrews, Carolyn Bennett and Denis Coderre each took aim at Dean Del Mastro given his current Elections Canada investigation when they dumped Helena Guergis for far less (Del Mastro: I serve with integrity and conviction; Poilievre: These statements were audited four years ago, and by the way the Liberals in Guelph made inappropriate robo-calls). Alexandre Boulerice asked why Bev Oda was amending her spending records (Van Loan: We only charge for appropriate expenses), and Charlie Angus asked about the Del Mastro issue (Poilievre: What about those union sponsorships that you have to pay back and won’t disclose?)
Round three saw questions on the cuts to the National Roundtable on Economy and Environment, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ comments on the Fisheries changes, the fleet separation policy, the gaps in the Criminal Code now that Section 13 of the CHRA is about to be repealed, clarity to the Investment Canada Act and foreign takeovers, the CRA’s record when it comes to Access to Information requests, the scourge of counterfeit drugs, and the Diamond Jubilee Trust.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Olivia Chow for her white and grey short-sleeved top with a grey skirt, and to Blake Richards for a dark grey suit with a white shirt and a rich purple tie. Style citations go out to Megan Leslie for a drapey red top with a khaki jacket and a grey skirt, and to the Honourable Member for Warhammer for a linen suit with a navy shirt and a fluorescent blue tie.