With Harper in the House to play off against, Thomas Mulcair opened QP with a question on Nexen and the criteria for foreign takeovers, to which Harper assured him that the changes that were made to the Act ensured a rigorous process, and any decision would be in the best interest of the Canadian economy. Mulcair then asked a question that started with the leak of the Khadr transcripts, veered over to the shared embassy issue, and settled on asking why Harper wasn’t speaking at the UN General Assembly. Harper assured him that Canadian prime ministers don’t speak every year, but that the minister of Foreign Affairs would do a good job in his stead. For his final question, Mulcair went full-on with the Great British Menace™ that apparently going to swallow our foreign policy (because apparently the NDP are still trying to out-Bloc the Bloc to keep Quebec votes), but Harper’s answer didn’t really deviate. Paul Dewar took the remaining pair of slots, chastising Harper for not being at the General Assembly when he was even going to be in town for it, but Baird responded by singing the praises of Harper receiving the Statesman of the Year award. Bob Rae was up next, first asking about income inequality, per the Liberal opposition day motion (and do believe that I need to shake my head at this opposition day motion like I did the NDP’s – while it is substantive in its policy direction, but it doesn’t state why the government should be denied supply; just the opposite, it attempts to legislate from the opposition benches, which is not the role of the opposition, though as the third party, the Liberals are given a bit more leeway to do these kinds of manoeuvres, not that they should be). Harper responded that they take the issue seriously and listed a bunch of measures they’ve taken. When Rae asked why they voted against a motion to study income inequality (which did pass – just barely), Harper said they prefer action to study. For his final question, Rae wondered that because the government is making LGBT rights one of their foreign affairs priorities if they would also start funding major pride parades in Canada and attending them. Harper dodged and talked about advancing rights for everyone, and touted the creation of the Human Rights Museum in Winnipeg.
Round two kicked off with Anne-Marie Day, Chris Charlton and Philip Toone asking about the EI changes (Finley: It’s better to work more hours, and we’re totally helping seasonal workers), Hélène LeBlanc and Peter Julian asked about the history of the CNOOC chairperson (Lake: We’re scrutinising this takeover), Malcolm Allen and Ruth Ellen Brosseau asked about cuts to CFIA in light of an E. Coli scare (Ritz: The system is working – none of that product made it to store shelves), and Robert Aubin and Dan Harris asked about the low participation rates for the voluntary household survey, and how that lack of census data would affect certain communities. Scott Simms again asked about EI clawbacks (Finley: Your constituent should work more hours; it should also be noted that every time Finely tried to claim the old system was worse for these low-income earners, the Liberals would heckle her down), Marc Garneau asked about reducing interest on federal student loans (Finley: You voted against measures to help), and Judy Sgro asked about seniors in poverty (Finley: We made it easier to get the GIS). Christine Moore and Jack Harris asked about the Military Ombudsman’s report on PTSD (MacKay: We have faith in the process now that we’ve hired new mental health workers), and Niki Ashton and Françoise Boivin tried to make an issue about Jason Kenney declaring he’ll vote in favour of that backdoor abortion motion – not that it’s a question about government business (Nicholson: We’re not reopening the debate).
Round three saw questions on Facebook privacy breaches (which got sidetracked by jokes about 8-tracks), outdated ATIP legislation, youth obesity, social housing, the Coast Guard services on Lake Superior, and the Battlefields Commission.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Judy Foote for a khaki structured wrap dress with a wide belt, and to Blaine Calkins, whose grey suit and white shirt were good, but his blue, pink, and purple diamond-patterned tie was fantastic. Style citations go out to Bal Gosal for a chocolate suit with a butterscotch shirt and a grey and grey striped tie, and to Jinny Sims for a purple smock and trousers with a sparkly green sequined top. Dishonourable mention goes to Rosane Doré Lefebvre for a yellow dress with a black jacket.