For caucus day, the benches were mostly full, and we would see if the fire was back. Rona Ambrose led off, wondering about why the government was going ahead with a loan to Bombardier when they said it wasn’t necessary. Trudeau said that they had been discussion to see how they could help the industry with jobs and R&D, and to boost their global competitiveness. Ambrose wonders how it looked to other industries when they bailed out one business but not others hurt in the country. Trudeau noted the jobs he was creating through pipeline approvals in other parts of the country. Ambrose wanted to know how many jobs the loan to Bombardier would create, but Trudeau stuck to generalities. When Ambrose made a bald assertion about the loan, but without a question posed, Trudeau didn’t get up to offer a response. For her final question, Ambrose railed about the loan, and Trudeau kept up his happy, clappy talking points about high quality manufacturing jobs in the aerospace sector. Thomas Mulcair was up next, asking about refugee claimants crossing into Manitoba, and Trudeau noted his concern for the issue. Mulcair noted a Canadian Muslim family stopped and questioned at the US border, and wondered why Trudeau wasn’t standing up to defend them. Trudeau noted the 400,000 Canadians who cross the border every day and that a number of his ministers were engaged on the file, including defending their rights. Mulcair demanded to know what day he decided to kill electoral reform, and Trudeau noted that it was his signature on the mandate letter, not the minister’s. For his final question, Mulcair demanded an apology for misleading Canadians, and Trudeau parried with noting about other ways in which they were working to improve our democracy.
How did Trudeau hide behind Gould when he wrote and published her mandate letter? #QP
— Dale Smith (@journo_dale) February 8, 2017
Round two, and Denis Lebel accused the government of getting no results in meetings with the Americans (Leslie: We are meeting and defending our interests) and softwood lumber (Leslie: We are working on the file), Pierre Poilievre worried about the impact of a carbon tax on the poor (McKenna: There is a consensus that this is the right thing to do), and Gérard Deltell worried about more tax credits (Petitpas Taylor: We cut taxes and increased the child benefit). Robert Aubin and Alexandre Boulerice worried the Bombardier loan was not enough (Bains: We got assurances that we got good quality jobs in Quebec and the rest of the country, 4000 maintained and 1500 new jobs). Diane Findlay insisted that letting the Toronto Island airport expand would have been a better way to help Bombardier (Bains: You were at the cabinet table when the previous government cut a cheque to them), and Matt Jeneroux and Shannon Stubbs worried about raising taxes on Albertans (Bains: This rhetoric was rejected in the last election). Georgina Jolibois asked about funding not rolled out for First Nations (Philpott: We are committed to the full implementation of Jordan’s Principle, and are giving care to 3200 more children), and Romeo Saganash asked about ongoing lawsuits (Bennett: We always prefer negotiation to litigation).
Approving pipelines attacks Albertans' livelihoods? #QP
— Dale Smith (@journo_dale) February 8, 2017
Round three saw questions on Canada 2020, softwood lumber, Service Canada not getting OAS cheques out, the UN Security Council seat, fraudulent Chinese visas, border crossings, seniors, Phoenix pay system, veterans benefits, and the safe third-party agreement (Trudeau: We welcome refugees and immigrants and are doing everything we can).
Overall, it was another fairly average day, with some fairly lacklustre questions, and some of the questions were lacking in real coherence, such as the insinuation that the government was subsidizing Bombardier but “attacking” Alberta. It was a hard claim to make considering the pipeline approvals that Trudeau could immediately point to, and sounded a lot like minding regional grievances. The number of questions on Canada 2020’s apparent Liberal connections was fairly tiresome, but with no other apparent ethical “scandals” that they can hammer away on, they are doubling down on some pretty weak sauce.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Catherine McKenna for a black half-sleeved dress with red line patterns across it, and to Navdeep Bains for a light grey suit with a crisp white shirt and a light blue tie and blue and red cross-hatched tie. Style citations go out to Robert Sopuck for a brown corduroy jacket with a grey vest, dark blue shirt and orange patterned tie, and to Rona Ambrose for a blocky tan zippered jacket and skirt set. Dishonourable mentions goes out to Niki Ashton for a bright yellow jacket with a black top and skirt, Brenda Shanahan for a mustard jacket with a black turtleneck, Cathy Wagantall for a mustard knit sweater over a black top and trousers, and to Frank Baylis for a black three-piece suit with a pale yellow shirt and tie. Stop. Wearing. Yellow. And. Black.