QP: Rage over $2000 worth of cardboard

With the weather finally taking a turn for the better, and the floodwaters across the river receding, things in the House of Commons carried on in the usual fashion. Rona Ambrose led off, wondering why the Infrastructure Investment Bank was necessary. Trudeau pointed out how they had consulted widely on the Bank, and that it was going to be helpful for growth. Ambrose called it a vanity project to help Bay Street and Wall Street friends, and made a dig about Broadway tickets along the way, and Trudeau reiterated the points about the need for infrastructure projects like the Bank would help provide. Ambrose brought up potential conflicts with the Bank, and Trudeau rebuffed by slagging off the previous government’s underfunding of infrastructure. Ambrose took another dig at the Broadway tickets, and Trudeau expounded on how great and important the play “Come From Away” is. For her final question, Ambrose asked about the government ordering cardboard cutouts of the PM — and made a bunch of lame puns along the way — and Trudeau said that individual missions abroad make their own decisions. Thomas Mulcair was up next, worried that the government hadn’t spelled out how private investors in the Infrastructure Bank would profit from their infrastructure. Trudeau talked about the great things that the Bank could invest in, but didn’t specify that there would be tolls on everything. Mulcair wondered how the Liberals would have reacted if the Conservatives promoted the idea, and Trudeau insisted that they consulted widely on the Bank, not just hedge funds. Mulcair changed topics and worried about tech stories that it was Jared Kushner who reached out to Trudeau to convince President Trump not to rip up NAFTA. Trudeau reassured him that they were working to strengthen trade and relations with the Americans. Mulcair went onto suggest that Trudeau was taking orders from Kushner, and Trudeau insisted that he was doing everything he could to resolve issues like softwood.

Round two, and Denis Lebel railed about softwood lumber (Freeland: Your government let the agreement expire and we are trying to get a good deal; Petitpas Taylor: We have a plan), and Blaine Calkins chirped about Broadway tickets (Freeland: Here are some Canadians whose generosity was honoured at that show), Ben Lobb and John Brassard raged about $2000 spent on cardboard cutouts of the PM (Freeland: We are committed to advancing our interests around the world). Hélène Laverdière and Randall Garrison demanded a public inquiry on Afghan Detainees (Rioux: We committed to ensuring that all detainees were treated or transferred in accordance to our international obligations). James Bezan and Pierre Paul-Hus demanded the defence minister resign (Rioux: He is committed to the Forces). Richard Cannings asked about flood assistance for BC (Goodale: If they ask for assistance, we will respond immediately), and Romeo Saganash asked about woodland caribou being transferred to a zoo (McKenna: We are committed to working with provinces and Aboriginal peoples to protect indigenous species including caribou).

Round three saw questions on the Infrastructure Bank, refugee claimants who are being targeted for removal because they visited their home countries, the famine in South Sudan, the high number of asylum claimants crossing the border illegally, rail grain regulations, diplomats headed to Iran, the caregiver tax credit, intervening in the Supreme Court case around interprovincial trade, and standing up for Quebec.

Overall, it was a fairly calm and tame day – relatively speaking – and we are finally moving away from the Sajjan sanctimony (though there still were a few questions on it). And hey, questions on the Infrastructure Bank much more the kinds of thing that we should be discussing as opposed to some more faux outrage. That said, there was more faux outrage of the cheap variety, between more of the wails about Broadway tickets for a diplomatic function and cardboard cut-outs of the PM, which were apparently ordered by certain embassies and the PM noted that he doesn’t question what they feel they need on the ground. Granted, Chrystia Freeland talking about “spreading Canadian values” in response to these questions was a bit vacuous and disappointing as opposed to just saying that local embassies and missions felt they would be helpful for what they were doing on the ground. Even more disappointing was the fact that Chris Warkentin decided to take out one of those cardboard cut-outs and try to table it as a document at the end of QP – prop theatrics that are banned in the Commons and yet he tried it anyway for the sake of the cameras. Cripes, MPs – this childish behaviour is not cute.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Catherine McKenna for a black dress with a grey lapel-less jacket and some wicked knee-high high-heeled boots, and to Raj Grewal for a black three-piece suit with a light blue shirt with a red tie, pocket square and turban. Style citations go out to Guy Lauzon for a brown lined suit with a butterscotch shirt and brown striped tie, and to Ginette Petitpas Taylor for a peach-and-grey-patterned short-sleeved collared top with a black continental tie.