Mulcair vows to keep asking 'tough questions' in Parliament
Andrea Janus, CTVNews.ca
Published Monday, January 27, 2014 1:23PM EST
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says he will continue asking “the tough questions” of the Conservative government, particularly on the Senate expenses scandal, as Parliament resumes from its six-week break Monday.
Mulcair earned widespread praise for the relentless, pointed questions about the scandal that he put to the government during daily question period last fall.
In a speech to caucus Monday morning, Mulcair said he will keep up the pressure.
“Our work holding (Prime Minister) Stephen Harper to account continues today,” Mulcair said.
“We're going to keep demanding answers because Canadians deserve answers. And mark my words, we're gonna get 'em."
Questions over the Senate expenses scandal and the ongoing RCMP investigation are unlikely to die down after months of allegations and revelations about four senators and the Prime Minister's Office.
Liberal strategist Susan Smith described the scandal to CTV’s Canada AM Monday as "the gift that keeps on giving in the House of Commons.” The RCMP investigations into the matter are ongoing, although charges have not been laid, and the federal auditor is continuing his probe of all senators' spending.
Earlier Monday, however, government House Leader Peter Van Loan said Canadians are no longer focused on the issue.
"I was out doing consultations and it's not where Canadians are," he said on Parliament Hill. "Canadians are focused on pocketbook issues, on where their taxes are going, on wanting to keep them down and wanting to see job creation activity."
Van Loan said despite the opposition hammering Harper with questions on the Senate, the government had "record productivity" during that last session, passing more than 40 new pieces of legislation.
Speaking to the consumer
Meanwhile, Mulcair’s speech to caucus Monday also had a pro-consumer bent, as the parties each start making their pitches to voters ahead of the 2015 election.
With the federal government set to table its latest budget sometime in early or mid-February, Mulcair said the document should contain some of the consumer-friendly measures put forward in the Throne Speech.
"If the Conservatives are serious about standing up for consumers, if they're serious about helping put Canadian families first, they're going to have to prove it in the next budget,” Mulcair said.
One measure the NDP will push for is a roll-back of Canada Post’s announcement last month that it will cut door-to-door mail delivery in an effort to balance its books.
Mulcair said he is looking forward to a debate Tuesday on his party’s motion to protect home delivery, one of a number of pro-consumer agenda items he intends to focus on.