QP: Did you hear about Guelph?

Normally I have a high tolerance for the
hijinks of Question Period. An unusually high one, if truth be told. I enjoy
heckles – provided that they’re clever or witty. I enjoy crosstalk – it can be
more informative than what passes for “debate” these days. Well, what little
crosstalk we get these days, since the NDP rarely engages in it. Today,
however, was not one of QP’s more shining moments. It started off as per usual
with Nycole Turmel wondering who the new Robocon scapegoat was going to be, and
Pierre Poilievre brought up the fact that the Liberals that they were
behind a particular robo-call in Guelph (but not the one directing people to
the wrong polling station, to be sure). And yet, this was the rote response
from the Conservatives the whole day, Dean Del Mastro delivering it in English,
Poilievre in French. Even when the question wasn’t related. Such as when Turmel
went on a rather bizarre, scripted tangent about how the Conservatives were
“changing the culture” in Ottawa by replacing Liberal misdeeds with their own,
and would the Prime Minister (who was not present) take responsibility? Del
Mastro brought up Guelph. Charlie Angus said that a Conservative would be
stepping forward to admit to being Pierre Poutine. Err, except that’s not what
the PostMedia story said at all. Del Mastro brought up Guelph. Bob Rae demanded
a Royal Commission into the last election and the various misdeeds that took
place, but Del Mastro reminded him of Guelph. The member from Guelph, Frank
Valeriote, got up to denounce the moral equivalence between the two incidents.
Not that Del Mastro changed his answer, nor did he again when Rae repeated his
call for a Royal Commission.

Round two was, well, more of the same. Alexandre
Boulerice wanted a firm date on when the Conservatives would legislate the
agreed upon changes to the Elections Act. Pierre Poilievre riffed on
Boulerice’s sponsorship angle and how awful the Liberals were, and hey, there’s
the Guelph example to prove it. Irene Mathyssen decried the fact that the voter
suppression calls targeted vulnerable seniors who wouldn’t know any better.
(Del Mastro: Guelph). David Christopherson asked a variation of Boulerice’s
question, and this time Tim Uppal got up and said yes, they’re supportive – oh,
and did you hear about Guelph? This only let up briefly when Jamie Nicholls and
Olivia Chow got up to decry some new patronage appointments (Lebel: Think about
the economy!), and Yvon Godin carefully read a scripted question on the
possible Air Canada strike (and thus avoiding turning puce with outrage as he
so often does), for which Lisa Raitt responded about the fragile economy and a
million March Break travellers. Carolyn Bennett talked about another set of
misleading calls (Del Mastro: Guelph), Judy Foote asked about the allegations
of financial impropriety in the Vaughan riding association (Van Loan: That’s
false, and oh, it has nothing to do with government administration), and Justin
Trudeau asked about the integrity of our electoral system (Uppal: Voter
registration is Elections Canada’s responsibility). To close off, Christine
Moore and Matthew Kellway asked about looming cuts to military bases (MacKay:
That’s pure speculation), Kellway carried on about the F-35s (Fantino: No
contracts have been signed, we’ll have replacement planes on budget – and did
not specify it would be the F-35s, so take note), and Jack Harris asked about the
delays in procuring new search and rescue planes (MacKay: Search and rescue is

Round three saw questions on Northern
Gateway consultations, drug shortages, helicopter unavailability when called by
a search-and-rescue rescue centre, failed promises to Newfoundland and Labrador
(the preceding two an attempt to get Peter Penashue to answer a question), foreign
takeovers, a jobs plan, Scott Simms called out Penashue and asked him what he’s
doing if he’s not answering questions (Penashue finally got up and said he
represents his province the best way he can – and then invited Liberals from
that province to cross the floor), funding for addictions programming, a Quebec
airport issue, and the budget “leaks” at the Manning Centre Networking

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Blaine Calkins for a sharp black suit and white shirt with a nice purple tie,
and to Judy Foote for a belted grey dress with a fitted black sweater. Style
citations go out to Robert Goguen for another fluorescent blue shirt/grey suit
violation, and to Hélène Leblanc for a greyish dress and matching jacket with
a  cherry blossom/tree pattern,
which unfortunately made her look like a bit like a couch from the eighties.

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