QP: Defence policy concerns

While Monday attendance is usual for the PM, he was nowhere to be seen today, instead meeting with Muslim leaders from around the country. Rona Ambrose led off, worried that the Trump administration would be able to see Canada’s defence policy before Canadians would. Harjit Sajjan said that because the policy was determined in consultation with allies, it made sense for them to see it first. Ambrose accused the PM of meeting with Americans in secret over it, and Sajjan reiterated that it was done with broad consultation and be fully costed. Ambrose turned to Wynn’s law, complaining that the government gutted it (despite the fact that the legal community was not in favour of the bill). Jody Wilson-Raybould said that they felt for Wynn’s widow and supported the principles of bail reform, but the bill didn’t pass muster. Ambrose accused her of looking out for the interests of lawyers instead of victims (as though it’s not lawyers navigating the new problems the bill would create), but Wilson-Raybould reiterated her response. Ambrose’s final question was to demand support for her bill on mandatory sexual assault training for judges. Wilson-Raybould was non-committal in her response, just talking about the importance of the issue. (Note that after QP, the government voted to ram the bill through without further debate). Matthew Dubé led for the NDP, worried about the possibility of tolls and service fees for projects funded out of the Infrastructure Bank. Amarjeet Sohi reminded him that they could leverage investment while freeing up government dollars for things like shelters and housing. Rachel Blaney railed about the risks associated with the investments, and Sohi noted pensions funds that invest in infrastructure in other countries, while they were trying to get those dollars to stay in Canada. Blaney then demanded guarantees for fair treatment at the US border (as if that will work for the Americans), and Ralph Goodale said that any incidents should be reported so that they had a statistical record but so far the figures were on the decline. Dubé reiterated in French, and Goodale told him to follow up on individual cases with his office.

Round two, and Diane Watts, Alain Rayes and Pierre Poilievre worried about loan guarantee provisions in the Infrastructure Bank legislation (Sohi: Yay more investment, and look at all of our consultations). Jenny Kwan railed about the overhaul of refugee determination being put on hold (Hussen: We are working with stakeholders to hear their concerns), and Brigitte Sansoucy demanded more funding for the IRB (Hussen: Our system is geared to working with fluctuations in arrivals). Sylvie Boucher, Blaine Calkins, and John Brassard railed about the purported new Official Languages Commissioner (Joly and Chagger: Our government has a rigorous, open, merit-based process), and Brassard worried about the Ethics Commissioner’s replacement (Chagger: New merit-based process). Don Davies demanded more funds for the opioid crisis (Philpott: We put $100 million into the drugs strategy and are working to see action on this), and Sheila Malcolmson demanded affordable childcare (Vaughan: We are moving toward a national programme).

Round three saw questions on the forthcoming defence policy, housing promises for Labrador, softwood lumber, Wynn’s Law, human rights violations in Venezuela, rail grain shipping rules, illegal rail crossings, and a planned nuclear waste site at Chalk River.

Overall, it was a fairly calm day with one or two minor outbursts, particularly because the Conservatives in particular didn’t like responses to questions on their private members’ bills, which leads me to the bigger issue I had. I shouldn’t have to keep saying this, and yet it happens time and again, which is that asking questions about PMBs (especially to troll for support)  is not what QP is for. QP is about asking questions on the administrative responsibilities of the government, and PMBs are not that. In fact, they are the opposite of that. The preciousness by which these bills are treated is a problem, and MPs really need to stop. Meanwhile, I noted that after Cathy McLeod got an actual response to her question, she tried to ad lib a follow-up which was not just repeating the question per her script. I’ll give her points for effort, because most MPs would just the script regardless, but it was a bit of a weak effort and goes to show you once again why reliance on scripts and speaking lists are a problem with the way we conduct business.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Pierre Poilievre work a dark grey suit with a subtle pinstripe, with a crisp white shirt and a medium blue tie, and to Gudie Hutchings a white collared shirt with a dark grey vest. Style citations go out to Diane Finley for her bright floral jacket with black slacks, and to Brian Masse for a taupe suit with a light yellow shirt with a  striped tie. Dishonourable mention goes out to Anju Dhillon for a bright yellow top with multi-coloured patterning with a black jacket.

One thought on “QP: Defence policy concerns

  1. The whole IRB thing is such a joke, for decades now the IRB has had a backlog, they can’t manage. Why is it that the Press never mentions that the majority of refugees are selected and processed by Immig Officers abroad and have been for well over 120 yrs. Always making it sound as if the IRB is doing it all when in fact they do very little. No wonder the public is confused.
    As for our Defence Policy, I loose count of the number of revisions and rewriting this so called defence policy over the last 30 yrs has been through. We don’t have one because the USA is defending us or suppose to defend us. No wonder PMJT wants to past it by Trump first. CDNs should wake up to the fact we are just a colony of the USA.
    Just heard that Rona Ambrose is leaving politics, LOL! who cares.

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