QP: Woe be Vegreville

With the PM away and Rona Ambrose already gone, the Conservatives surprisingly led with Shannon Stubbs, who railed about the plans to close the Vegreville immigration processing centre, in light of revelations of costs associated. Ralph Goodall took this one, noting the difficulty in filling current vacancies in the centre, and that the new centre in Edmonton would double its capacity. Stubbs angrily insisted that the government had lied about the costs, but Goodale insisted that the issue was capacity. Stubbs accused the government of punishing a small town with a Conservative MP in favour of moving it to a Liberal riding, but Goodale stood firm. Gérard Deltell got up next and railed about the government cutting tax credits, to which Scott Brison reminded him that their tax measures helped those who needed it the most. Deltell tried again, railing about the transit tax credit loss (seriously, it was bad policy no matter which way you slice it), and Brison listed the good economic news since the Liberals took power. Thomas Mulcair was up next, and in French, concerned trolled that Bardish Chagger wasn’t up to picking a new Ethics Commissioner. Chagger reminded him of the open and transparent process in place. Mulcair switched to English and wondered what the Liberals would think if Stephen Harper called on Paul Calandra to choose a new Commissioner, but Chagger repeated her answer. Mulcair then turned to the issue of the Official Languages Commissioner, and wondered in what role Gerald Butts communicated with Madeleine Meilleur before her appointment. Joly noted that candidates were vetted and interviewed after a rigorous process and that she spoke with other parties who agreed that she had credentials. Mulcair tried again in French, and got the same answer.

Round two, and Blaine Calkins took his own crack at the Meilleur issue, followed by Luc Berthold (Joly: We are convinced that this is the right candidate), and Michael Cooper accused the government of appointing Liberal donors to superior courts (Wilson-Raybould: We found meritorious candidates), and John Brassard worried that appointments were only made to donors (Joly and Chagger: Merit-based process). Tracey Ramsey and Hélène Laverdière worried about NAFTA renegotiation (Freeland: This is a routine part of the US domestic process, and negotiations can’t begin for another 90 days). Pierre Poilievre, Alain Rayes and Marilyn Gladu worried about the plans for the federal government to impose carbon taxes on reluctant provinces (McKenna: Pollution isn’t free). Pierre-Luc Dusseault wondered about the missing CRA correspondence about KPMG (Lebouthillier: Extensive explanation about the investigation), and Linda Duncan worried about the Auditor General not getting required information (Petitpas Taylor: We will provide them going forward).

Round three saw questions on the Kinder Morgan pipeline, the NEB headquarters, a doctor with opioid-producer ties on the prescription guidelines panel, veterans benefits changes in the budget bill, foreign policy vis-à-vis Russia, sanctions enforcement, the BC tanker ban, citizenship revocation per a Federal Court decision, a shipwreck dismantling delay, autism funding, and the links between CRA and KPMG.

Overall, it was a day full of performative outrage on a range of issues, but what struck me was the sheer number of disingenuous questions. I mean, normally you get a few because this is politics, after all, but today seemed excessive, from the insistence that appointments were bought, that the NEB panel report was a done deal and the government had decreed that it would move the Board’s headquarters from Calgary to Ottawa, that the federal carbon tax plan would be applied on top of provincial carbon prices, or the government should negotiate NAFTA through the media, or that prime ministers should be cheerleading certain projects. One might say that these questions were based on a dishonest premise in order to try and play politics. It gets tiresome, and there are plenty of good questions that could be asked that don’t need to be based on such false premises, but there seems to be little appetite to do so. Instead, they’ll torque the headlines from the day’s paper. If this is how QP is being done, why not just have the government read responses to said headlines and be done with it?

Sartorially speaking, many MPs were wearing traditional Ukrainian tunics for Vyshyvanka Day — even those who were not of Ukrainian descent, some wearing them better than others. Snaps go out to Jane Philpott with a black and white patterned dress with a white jacket, and to Scott Brison for a tailored black suit with a white shirt and a navy and red spotted tie. Style citations go out to Stéphane Lauzon for a light blue jacket with a white shirt with an orange and red check pattern with a red tie, and to Emmanuella Lambropoulos for a floral top with a white pleated skirt. Special mention goes out to Ramesh Sangha for a faded gold and blue checkerboard patterned jacket with a grey shirt and dark blue tie.

One thought on “QP: Woe be Vegreville

  1. Vegreville, let me give you a scoop, you may know this. When the Centre was opened years ago the dept could not find anyone in management who wanted to move there. It was impossible to staff bilingual positions to the Centre. Applications in French were put in a room where they disappeared for years until someone one day stumbled upon them. Vegreville has been a problem from the get go. It is high time to put it out of its misery and close it. The Gov, is doing the right thing, finally.

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