QP: Scripting the tainted meat debate

It being a Monday, Harper and half of the government front bench were absent from the House, leaving Thomas Mulcair to read his questions on tainted meat to the back-up PM du jour Peter MacKay, who in turn read back some fairly bland statements about how the minister was holding CFIA officials accountable. When Malcolm Allen asked about the self-regulation of food inspection, Pierre Lemieux pointed out that Allen made a bunch of since disproven claims last week. Bob Rae then got up and wanted to know when the Minister was informed and why it took two weeks to inform Canadians, but MacKay just repeated his assigned talking points.

Round two was again built around theme today – this time about the cuts to front-line services. So Peggy Nash asked about the broad cuts (Saxton: We’re achieving moderate and balanced savings!), Ruth Ellen Brosseau asked about food safety cuts (Lemieux: 700 net new inspectors!), Fin Donnelly asked about the Kitsilano Coast Guard station closure (Kamp: The new hovercraft and rescue station launch will mean no reductions), the closure of the Quebec search and rescue centre (Kamp: We’re ensuring necessary bilingual services in the other centres), Olivia Chow and Robert Aubin asked about cuts to airline safety (Lebel: There are no cuts to inspectors), and Brian Masse and Anne Minh-Thu Quach asked about cuts to Border Services (Toews: We’ve hired more front-line officers). Roger Cuzner offered Diane Finley multiple choice responses as to her understanding of EI clawbacks (Finley didn’t answer, but rather delivered talking points about connecting the unemployed with jobs), Judy Foote asked about Fishers’ EI (Finley: We’re not making changes but we want the unemployed to find reasonable work), and Sean Casey wondered about the lack of front-line services in PEI (Dechert: There are five Service Canada locations in PEI). Hélène Laverdière and Paul Dewar railed about Baird’s comments at the UN and with the foot-dragging around Omar Khadr – the link being that we’re not presenting a good face on the world stage (Dechert: We’re no longer pleasing dictators at the UN; Toews: We didn’t have any transcripts and didn’t make any, so the leak to Maclean’s didn’t come from us), and Romeo Saganash asked about cuts to an Afghan girls’ school we were funding (Fantino: CIDA is hard at work on a sustainability plan).

Round three saw more questions on EI clawbacks, cuts to seniors, the competition for replacement fighter jets, funding housing co-ops, aboriginal women inmates, and why the RCMP didn’t share information about Quebec mafia payouts.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Blake Richards for a grey suit with a white shirt and purple tie, and to Charmaine Borg for her mottled fuchsia and magenta dress with a black jacket. Style citations go out to Rathika Sitsabaiesan for an orange mock turtleneck with a black jacket with the sleeves rolled, and to Alex Atamanenko for a grey microfiber jacket with a maroon shirt and grey-and-yellow striped tie.