QP: Bombardier bonus brouhaha

Starting off the last two-week stretch before the Easter Break, there remained a number of empty desks in the Commons, but all leaders were in attendance, so there was that. Rona Ambrose led off, asking about the possibility of radicalized workers at the Montreal airport. Justin Trudeau assured her that they were working diligently to assure her that they were taking security seriously. Ambrose switched to English to demand those workers be fired (which I’m not sure is his call), and Trudeau reminded her that they were supporting law enforcement agencies who were keeping us safe. Ambrose then switched to the compensation of Bombardier executives, and Trudeau acknowledged that the government gave a loan, but he was pleased to see they were reconsidering that decision. Ambrose switched to English to ask again, and got much the same response. For her final question, Ambrose railed about the loss of tax credits in the light of those Bombardier bonuses, and Trudeau latched onto the transit tax credit portion of the question and noted it was the only thing the previous government did for transit and his government was doing more. Thomas Mulcair was up next, returning to the Bombardier bonuses, to which Trudeau stressed that they made a loan, and again reiterated that he was happy they were changing course on those bonuses. Mulcair switched to French to rail about the lack of job guarantees, and Trudeau insisted that the loan would protect jobs. Mulcair switched to the issue of emissions targets, and Trudeau insisted they were committing their promise to reduce them. Mulcair went for a second round in French, noting that Environment Canada has said that they wouldn’t be able to meet the Harper targets, while Trudeau retorted that the analysis was based on the previous government’s actions, not those of his government.

Round two, and Denis Lebel and Tony Clement worried about those workers at the Montreal airport (Garneau: We verify that nothing has changed with security daily), and Peter Kent worried about a Chinese takeover of a Montreal tech company (Bains: Your government bungled this file and it wound up in court, while we followed a rigorous process; Goodale: All national security advice has been followed). Alistair MacGregor and Anne Quach railed about simple cannabis possession charges (Wilson-Raybould: Simple decriminalization will not fulfill our objectives of keeping it away from children and out of the black market). Scott Reid, Luc Berthold and Candice Bergen worried about possible changes to the Standing Orders (Chagger: I’m looking forward to a meaningful conversation). Sheila Malcolmson railed that the changes to longer parental leave was insufficient (Duclos: We are looking to help families), and Matthew Dubé worried about the pre-clearance bill (Goodale: Doing pre-clearance on Canadian soil gives people Charter protections).

Round three saw questions on the Bombardier bonuses, carbon taxes, the definition of “reasonably foreseeable death,” foreign takeovers, Trudeau Foundation donations, sponsored travel, the military ombudsman, security investigations at airports, aerospace emissions, federal funding for the Quebec Nordic Institute, softwood lumber, and the lack of French at the Juno awards.

Overall, it was a fairly standard day, with little disruption or excitement – well, except when Marilyn Gladu said that supposed ethical lapses around sponsored travel was a case of “monkey see, monkey do” after the PM’s own travel (note: no wrongdoing has been proved with any of these cases). And to be frank, this constant assertion that there was illegality or impropriety when none has been proven is starting to reach the point of abusing parliamentary privilege, and I’m frankly surprised that we’re not seeing more invitations by the government for the opposition to take those accusations outside – but then again, that might make them look a bit more thin-skinned than they tend to be, whereas they simply offer some repeated talking points and smile sweetly. But maybe it’s my own desire for some better questions that’s getting the best of me.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Karen Vecchio for a well-cut purple jacket with a white collared shirt and black skirt, and to Justin Trudeau for a finely tailored black suit with a crisp white shirt and dark blue tie. Style citations go out to Sean Casey for a dark grey suit with a faded grey-moss shirt and tie, and to Candice Bergen for a dull yellow blouse with a giant autumnal scarf and brown skirt. Dishonourable mentions go out Filomena Tassi for a black dress with white detailing and a lemon yellow cropped jacket, and to Maryam Monsef for a mustard jacket with a black dress.