Stephen Harper remained away from the House of Commons today, off in Montreal to address a conference, leaving Peter Van Loan to face off yet again with Thomas Mulcair. Mulcair tried to ask about the omnibus budget bill, and list off all of the items being cut or changed in it, but Van Loan responded with accusations that the NDP want Canada to bail out Europe, and – oh, wow, that set Mulcair off. On each of his first supplemental, it was a bit of a retort, but on the second, after Van Loan kept up the distraction message, Mulcair went off an angry, red-faced tangent about Canada’s place in the world, which he then tried to awkwardly segue to a question about EI changes in his last few seconds, but it just gave Van Loan more opportunity to praise Canada’s fiscal situation. That was almost too easy to goad him, really. When Peggy Nash tried to talk about why the government was worried about cuts instead of job creation, Jim Flaherty accused her of trying to delay a bill that would create jobs. Bob Rae then got up, and first schooled Jim Flaherty on how IMF transfers work before wondering why the government was so sure that Canada was such an island of fiscal stability in an interconnected global marketplace. Van Loan then recited some of John McCallum’s quotes on the European situation by means of a reply.
Round two kicked off with Chris Charlton, Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe and Megan Leslie asking about aspects of the omnibus budget bill related to EI, OAS and environmental assessments respectively (Finley: We’re helping connect people with jobs/making OAS sustainable; Anderson: We’re reducing overlap), and Jean Crowder and Charlie Angus asked about the Nutrition North programme (Rickford: We have an advisory board). John McKay asked delays in shipbuilding contracts (Ambrose: We have a long-term strategy for shipyards), and Scott Andrews and Wayne Easter wondered about the Elections Canada investigation into Dean Del Mastro’s activities, and if the RCMP has been called in (Poilievre: His documents were examined four years ago, and hey, look at your own ethical lapses). Chrstine Moore, Jack Harris each asked about the rise in DND spending and the ship contracts issues (MacKay: Wait for the Public Accounts), and Matthew Kellway asked for a new defence strategy to make sense of all of the procurement (MacKay: We’re investing in the future of our Forces!).
Round three saw questions on the fleet separation policy, fish habitat, Nutrition North, Cuts to social groups, health benefits for refugees, if the government would apply the veterans clawback ruling to RCMP pensions, the G20 security planning, and flooding in Quebec.
Immediately after QP, Jack Harris stood up to move a point of privilege based on Peter MacKay’s “personal attacks” against him when he called him a hypocrite. Bev Oda suddenly yelled across “Talk to Charlie Angus!” Pot and kettle, and all of that.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Dany Morin for his grey suit with a black shirt and a cool black-and-white crosshatch tie, and to Lisa Raitt for a fitted mottled blue dress with a black sweater. Style citations go out to Charmaine Borg, who appeared to be wearing a bright pink sack that was cinched in at the waist, and to both Jasbir Sandhu and Raymond Côté, who were each wearing grey suits with fluorescent blue shirts. Dishonourable mentions to Megan Leslie for a grey and yellow dress with a black jacket, and Jinny Sims for a black t-shirt with a gauzy lemon yellow scarf.