QP: Carbon taxes and foreign takeovers

On a sweltering day in Ottawa, things carried on as usual in the House of Commons. Andrew Scheer led off, railing about carbon taxes killing the manufacturing sector, never mind that in his Ontario example, it was a provincial carbon price. Justin Trudeau hit back with jibes that it was good to see that most of the aconservaties believed in the Paris Accords and that carbon pricing was good for the market. Scheer groused that they would meet the targets without a carbon price, before moving onto the Norsat sale and lack of a comprehensive security screening. Trudeau reminded him that they took the advice of national security agencies. Scheer took a second kick, needling that Trudeau admired Chinese dictatorship too much to care about national security, and Trudeau lashed back that partisan jibes like that were unworthy of this place. Denis Lebel was up next, demanding a non-partisan process to appoint parliamentary watchdogs, and Trudeau noted their new appointments and rattled off some of the diversity of the new reports. Lebel tried again in English, and got the same answer. Thomas Mulcair was up next, asking if the Der Spiegel article was true that the government was backing away from climate goals at the G20. Trudeau insisted that they have been climate leaders and pointed to examples. Mulcair pressed, and Trudeau was unequivocal that he did not say what was in the article. Mulcair then turned to the issue of court cases involving First Nations children and dialled up the sanctimony to 11, and Trudeau noted the memorandum of understanding he signed with the AFN this morning about moving forward on steps. Mulcair demanded that the NDP bill on UNDRIP be adopted, but Trudeau insisted they were moving forward in consultation (never mind that said bill is almost certainly of dubious constitutionality).

Round two, and Gérard Deltell worried about an escalator tax on some items in the budget (Morneau: We indexed these taxes to inflation), Diane Watts and Alain Rayes worried about the range of privatisation under the Infrastructure Bank (Sohi: We will continue to invest), Shannon Stubbs worried about carbon pricing (Wilkinson: It’s a market price), and Pierre Poilievre gave some standard “tax bad, Hulk smash!” (Morneau: We lowered taxes on the middle class). Tracey Ramsey worried about NAFTA renegotiation (Leslie: We are looking to modernise the agreement as the economy has modernised), and Ruth Ellen Brosseau railed about Supply Management (Leslie: We will defend Supply Management). Diane Finley and Tony Clement worried about Chinese takeovers (Bains: Every transaction is subject to a national security review). Pierre Luc Dusseault and Brian Masse worried about banks lobbying the Finance Minister (Morneau: We have a banking system that works).

Round three saw questions on possible planned Super Hornets, UNRWA, additional tolls and fees from the Infrastructure Bank, the Phoenix Pay system, someone at Shared Services Canada deleting emails, long-gun registry records going to Quebec, privately sponsored refugee caps, Greenland overfishing Canadian salmon stocks, a CTRC decision affecting homegrown productions, and a national securities commission.

Overall, it was a decent day, and the heatwave didn’t make tempers in the Commons get out of hand, but that is likely to change in the days to come. Andrew Scheer and Justin Trudeau are continuing to jab and needle one another, but instead of it being more playful like it was when they last sparred on Wednesday, today it was a bit more pointed, and Trudeau called Scheer out on that fact, which was interesting. I also thought that Gérard Deltell was raising some interesting points about how a tax with a built-in escalator clause doesn’t get reviewed and voted on in future parliaments, which limits the Commons’ ability to hold it to account, but that point got lost in his outrage, which was too bad because it was a point that should be made more explicit.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to  Frank Baylis for a light grey suit with a light pink shirt and dark pink tie and pocket square, and Ruby Sahota for a purple jacket with a fishscale-ish pattern and a light grey blouse. Style citations go out to Mary Ng for a white dress with black piping and loud pink florals, and to Scott Reid for a tan suit with a dark pink shirt and a grey Paisley tie. Special mention goes out to Martin Shields for a loud red plaid jacket with a red shirt with a wide white collar and a red and white tie with a maple leaf logo on it. (One wonders if he lost a bet).