The situation in QP was reversed today – Harper and Rae were present, but no Mulcair. In his stead, Nycole Turmel read out a trio of questions on the tainted beef issue, to which Harper replied that because the minister doesn’t do the inspections, he’s not required to resign. Jack Harris asked about our troops engaging in combat in Afghanistan as part of joint operations, and whether we had other combat operations under the guise of professional development, to which Peter MacKay offered a succinct “No, Mr. Speaker.” Bob Rae then got up to ask that Ritz respect ministerial accountability and resign – but Harper wasn’t going to take that bait either. Rae then turned to the subject of his party’s opposition day motion, which was about respecting Harper’s 1994 position regarding omnibus legislation, but Harper returned to his previous omnibus talking points about them being “comprehensive measures” for the economy.
Round two kicked off with Malcolm Allen and Ruth Ellen Brosseau asking more questions about CFIA and the tainted meat (Ritz: These aren’t political decisions but ones based on science), Anne-Marie Day and Chris Charlton asked about the changes to EI clawbacks (Finley: We’re making changes to the programme), Robert Chisholm first asked about EI claims being denied for those in family businesses (Finley: These particular cases are ones being investigated for fraud), and attacks on the fishing industry through certain new fees (Kamp: We’re asking users to pay their share), and Ryan Cleary asked about that inappropriate ACOA appointment (Keddy: This wasn’t a political appointment, and it’s before the courts). Carolyn Bennett asked why the health minister was being silent on the E. Coli issue, and when Ritz got up to answer, the Liberals provided a sarcastic standing ovation, forcing Ritz to sit back down and Aglukkaq to stand up to say that PHAC is working with the provinces and territories. Frank Valeriote asked a further question about the tainted beef (Ritz: We’re reversing a decade of Liberal cuts), and Gerry Byrne asked if that ACOA appointee was still receiving salary and benefits now that he was ordered out (Keddy: The Public Service Commissioner’s report stated there was no political interference – which was not the question asked). Yvon Godin asked about the Official Languages Commissioner’s report (Moore: Real gains were made in the report), and François Lapointe asked about small businesses being hit with more costs (Goodyear: You would hit them with a carbon tax).
Round three saw a trio of exchanges between Megan Leslie and Harper on his 2008 statements on cap-and-trade versus a carbon tax, where Harper insisted that their plan wouldn’t have drawn revenue from the carbon prices, before Leslie declared this to be an ethics issue and asked the chair of the Ethics committee about that (Dusseault: If they want to study this, we’ll study it). As well, there were questions on drug costs under CETA, funding for cooperatives outside of Quebec, the mail out of a backbencher (which is not a question about government operations, sorry), official languages, and rural mail delivery in Quebec.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Michelle Rempel for a black and grey dress with a black jacket, and to Greg Rickford for an impeccably tailored black suit with a white shirt and pocket square, with a navy tie. Style citations go out to Francine Raynault for a purple top and magenta jacket, and to Alain Giguère for a brown microfiber jacket, white shirt, and peach tie.