Question period is valuable for Canadians, just like a reproductive organ is valuable for a horny high school virgin. Don’t we wish we could use it properly? Sadly, we don’t. Is there any point in trying? Earlier this week, Leona Aglukkaq cast her vote for “no.”
Aglukkaq decided she would rather read a newspaper than pay attention to the debate in the green chamber. Can we blame her? The moments of coherent, appropriate debate during question period are so few that MPs could probably sleep through most of it without missing anything that mattered to them or to their constituents. Perhaps that’s why Aglukkaq figured she could sit back, relax, and open up a paper. What was the debate about anyway? Probably Israel or Mike Duffy. Missable stuff.
It turns out Aglukkaq was pretty close. The debate was actually about Nutrition North, a program designed to improve access to fresh foods in northern communities. Opposition MPs were blabbering on about how the program isn’t working, and how old people have to scavenge through dumps to find food to sell and eat—typical lefty crap. As Minister of the Environment, Aglukkaq doesn’t have to care about any of that. As the MP for somewhere in Ontario, she still doesn’t have to care. That’s where Nunavut is, right?
Nunavut, as it happens, is a territory in Canada’s north. Nutrition North is active there. The people scavenging in landfills are Aglukkaq’s constituents. So why wasn’t she paying attention to questions about the program? According to CBC, she was “catch[ing] up on Nunavut news.” It seems it didn’t occur to her that the debate about Nutrition North might be Nunavut news.
To right her wrong, Aglukkaq made an honourable move. She apologized. She said she was sorry if her reading a newspaper “was portrayed” as her not caring. She said that, given an opportunity to start over, she would “probably” wait until question period finished to start reading. It was as genuine as Paul Calandra’s apologetic promise that he would continue to offer non-answers during question period. It was as decent as her behaviour was in the first place. It was as pointless as question period has become.