QP: Not taking yes for an answer

Scheer’s second day in the Commons as leader, and the PM was still in Italy. Even Speaker Regan was away, and it was Deputy Speaker Stanton in the chair instead. Scheer led off worrying about the TransMountain pipeline in the face of a potential NDP government in BC — never mind that the PM already told the press earlier that it was going ahead regardless. Jim Carr reiterated that same point in his reply, but Scheer was unconvinced, railing about how Northern Gateway was also approved at one point before it was cancelled (which isn’t exactly how things happened). Carr reiterated that the process for TransMountain was exhaustive, and had been approved. Scheer turned to the issue of the Infrastructure Bank, and Amarjeet Sohi insisted that the Bank was necessary to get private capital into infrastructure. Scheer insisted that the Bank was ripe for abuse and corruption, but Sohi reminded him that it would be accountable to Parliament. For his final question, Scheer concern trolled about the nomination of Madeleine Meilleur as Languages Commissioner, to which Mélanie Joly insisted that Meilleur was the most qualified candidate. Thomas Mulcair was up next, and asked about amendments to the PBO legislation. Bardish Chagger read a card about the committee’s important work and that they have accepted a number of their bills. Mulcair ripped into Chagger’s talking points, to which Chagger put down her comments to insist that they listened and have delivered on the amendments. Mulcair then turn to the Infrastructure Bank, wondering about the hands of BlackRock in it, and Sohi listed the great things they could help fund. Mulcair then accused the government of interfering in provincial jurisdiction with the Bank, but Sohi parried, noting it was just another funding option.

Round two, and Kellie Leitch and Alain Rayes railed about political interference in the Infrastructure Bank (Sohi: Look at all of these audit controls we’ve built into it), and Deepak Obhrai and Mark Strahl worried about TransMountain (Carr: The pipeline was approved because it’s in the national interest). Daniel Blaikie and Alexandre Boulerice demanded a free vote on the motion on the electoral reform committee report (Gould: We tabled our response and we are moving ahead with other priorities). Sylvie Boucher and John Brassard frothed about the nomination of Madeleine Meilleur (Joly: We followed a merit-based process and she was the best candidate). Matthew Dubé worried about pre-clearance search authority (Goodale: It doesn’t give American agents any new powers but does extend Charter protection to Canadians), and Sherri Benson asked about the Vegreville processing centre closure (Hussen: The move will address staffing challenges).

Round three saw questions on the fight against ISIS in Iraq, replacing search-and-rescue aircraft, Wood Buffalo National Park, Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory, the MMIW inquiry, some generic cheap outrage, the Vegreville processing centre, concrete aggregate standards, Autism funding, and the Infrastructure Bank as a supposed attack on Quebec.


Overall, it was largely a repeat of yesterday’s performance, with some more lame scripted questions from former leadership candidates, all parroting lines that Scheer made, which just made them look a bit lame. As for Scheer’s big line of questioning, whether the government would push for the Kinder Morgan TransMountain pipeline in the face of a potential NDP government in BC, they had a very hard time taking yes for an answer, especially when Trudeau himself came out hours earlier to say that nothing had changed and it was going forward regardless. But that doesn’t let them rage over it, so what can you do. Meanwhile, I will note that Carolyn Bennett took a particularly interesting tactic in the face of her hecklers today, and just stared them down, which I haven’t seen before (and note that Bennett is scrappy and she is a bellowing heckler herself at times). It seemed to create a different response than those hecklers anticipated, and it was curious to watch.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Matt DeCourcey for a navy three-piece suit with a light blue shirt and a maroon tie, and to Catherine McKenna for a grey patterned wrap dress with a white jacket. Style citations go out to Candice Bergen for a mottled blue top with a lace overlay over the shoulders and cuffs, and to Jim Eglinski for a black jacket with khaki slacks, and a terra cotta shirt with a black and red patterned tie. Dishonourable mentions go out to Anju Dhillon for a black jacket with a bright yellow top, and to Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet for a yellow jacket with a black top and slacks.

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