QP: Take it up with UNHCR

It being Monday with many desks across the Chamber vacant, Rona Ambrose was absent, despite the Prime Minister being in attendance. Denis Lebel led off, worrying about pension income splitting in the budget, and Justin Trudeau accused him of trying to sow fear, before listing off the many measures they put into place to help vulnerable seniors. Lebel worried about the fates of other tax credits, and Trudeau listed other investments the government has made to lead to good jobs and economic growth. Lebel then asked if small business taxes would be cut to create jobs, and Trudeau countered with the broad-based tax cuts and Canada Child Benefit cheques that put more money in people’s pockets. Candice Bergen was up next, and dredged up the helicopter ride to the Aga Khan’s island, and Trudeau succinctly told her that it was a personal family vacation and he was answering the Ethics Commissioner’s question. Bergen asked again, and got the very same answer. Thomas Mulcair was up next, worrying about the new executive order signed by Donald Trump regarding Muslim immigrants and refugees, and demanded to know if the government still considered the United Stated was a safe country for refugees. Trudeau deflected by talking about what Canadians expect of the government’s relations with the States. Mulcair raised the case of a Canadian woman turned back at the border, but Trudeau insisted that they were working with Americans to ensure that the border remained open for Canadians. Mulcair moved onto the issue of tax havens and the recent journalism investigations into KPMG, and Trudeau said that they expected people to pay their taxes and they invested money in the CRA to investigate. Mulcair pressed in English, and got much the same reply from Trudeau.

Round two, and Gérard Deltell worried about the deficit (Morneau: The situation is improving and we have invested to generate jobs), and Pierre Poilievre and Shannon Stubbs worried about carbon taxes (Wilkinson: We have posted our consultations online). Pierre-Luc Dusseault and Alexandre Boulerice returned to the KPMG tax evasion scheme (Lebouthillier: This is an active file that is before the courts). Cathy McLeod, Marilyn Gladu and John Brassard asked about the Chinese takeovers of those nursing homes (Bains: Investment in Canada is a good thing, and now they can expand). Murray Rankin asked about cabinet rejecting amendments to the security oversight bill (Goodale: The legislation was already stronger than the UK and Australian equivalents and the amendments we do accept make it better), and Linda Duncan worried about a solvent used for bitumen recovery at an Imperial Oil site (Wilkinson: This is an area of provincial jurisdiction).

Round three saw questions on trade with China, expanding the mission in Ukraine, jurisdiction on disease in BC salmon farms, a diesel spill at a fish farm, accountability for infrastructure project spending, those anti-terrorism documents being given to the CBC, principle residence exemptions, the safe third country agreement, invasive species, and KPMG.

Overall, it felt a bit like a “greatest hits” day, where the Conservatives reiterated past questions on tax measures and the PM’s vacation, while the NDP doubled down on trying to get the PM to call Donald Trump a racist (though I will say that Ahmed Hussen changed up his answers a bit today and went after the NDP’s line of questioning, which he hasn’t really done so far). As for the KPMG questions, it’s another one of those instances where it’s something in the news that the NDP in particular tried to score points on knowing full well that with matters before the courts, they weren’t going to get a substantive answer on it. I will add that the Conservatives accusing DND of deliberately leaking those classified documents was kind of gross, because everyone knows that’s not what happened and trying to accuse them of something like treason is not exactly a responsible line of questioning for the opposition.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Alexandra Mendès for a dark grey long jacket with an off-white top, and to  Marco Mendicino for a dark grey tailored suit with a crisp white shirt and a medium blue tie. Style citations go out to Ken McDonald for a dark grey suit with a ruddy pinkish shirt an a brownish striped tie, and to Karen McCrimmon for a taupe patterned long jacket with a bright teal top. Dishonourable mention goes out to Filomena Tassi for a black dress with white piping and a bright yellow jacket with three-quarter sleeves, and to John Brassard for a black suit with a white shirt and yellow tie.