Tom Mulcair got some laughs in the House on Thursday, even if the NDP leader thinks there's nothing funny about the behaviour of some Conservative senators.
Mulcair wasted little time in question period bringing up how, earlier in the day, Tory senators blocked a bid to have a key figure from the auditing firm Deloitte testify about alleged interference related to the review of Senator Mike Duffy's expenses.
Deloitte partner Gary Timm told the Senate's internal economy committee Thursday morning that Michael Runia, a managing partner, called him to inquire about Duffy's audit.
RCMP documents released last week reveal Runia made the call at the behest of Tory Senator Irving Gerstein.
Liberal Senator George Furey moved to have Runia appear to answer questions directly. But Senator Gerald Comeau, the Tory chairman of the committee, ruled against him, saying it's not their job to conduct police-style investigations.
A second vote upheld the ruling, thanks to the votes of Comeau's Tory colleagues.
Unsurprisingly, Mulcair wasn't pleased.
"Conservative senators not only blocked Conservative Party auditor Michael Runia from testifying today, they would not even allow a vote on allowing him to testify. This is the very man who Senator Gerstein illegally tried to influence to kill the Mike Duffy audit," Mulcair charged.
"Why does the prime minister have his Conservative senators blocking the testiphony..."
Mulcair pressed on after realizing his mistake.
"The testiphony, yeah!" he said to big laughs from his caucus.
"That's actually quite accurate," added NDP House leader Nathan Cullen.
But the NDP leader was able to compose himself to deliver his question.
"Why does the prime minister have his Conservative senators blocking the testimony of Michael Runia if they have nothing to hide?" he asked to a standing ovation.
But it appears Calandra's repeated references to Mulcair's past did little to dampen the NDP leader's mood. Mulcair took to Twitter Thursday afternoon to suggest he intended to say "testiphony" all along. He even included a link to the Urban Dictionary, which defines testiphony as "testimony given that is known not to be true."
Mulcair's prosecutorial style in question period has won him rave reviews in recent months but the NDP wasn't able to turn that momentum into victories in any of Monday's four federal byelections.
Still, there is some evidence Canadians respond well when Mulcair loosens up.
Last month, an image of the NDP leader laughing directly at Harper during question period was a big hit online.
With files from The Canadian Press
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