QP: Concern about summer vacations

The day was not as hot as yesterday, but tempers were indeed starting to fray in the House of Commons with the threat of procedural shenanigans hanging in the air. Andrew Scheer led off, saying that the PM was eager to get away for summer vacation but lo, there were all kinds of new taxes. Trudeau noted that his summer vacation plans included touring the various federal parks around the country, which were all free, and oh, he lowered taxes on the middle class. Scheer then switched to French to demand a publicly accessible sex offender registry, to which Trudeau noted the existing system worked just fine. Scheer tried again in English, and got the same answer. Scheer turned to the Norsat sale in French, and Trudeau assured him that they listened to their national security agencies and allies. They went another round of the same in English, before Thomas Mulcair got up to ask the same question in English. Trudeau reiterated his response, and Mulcair insisted the answer was “demonstrably false.” Mulcair hammered away in French, but Trudeau stuck to his points about due diligence. Mulcair then demanded the government adopt the NDP’s proposed nomination process for officers of parliament, but Trudeau insisted that they already adopted a new process that got more meritorious diverse appointments. Mulcair tried again in French, but got the same response.

Round two, and Gérard Deltell, Peter Kent, Tony Clement and Lisa Raitt returned to the Norsat question and American concerns (Bains: We did our due diligence). Alexandre Boulerice worried a tax agreement with an island nation would facilitate tax evasion rather than disclosure (Lebouthillier: We are cracking down on tax havens), and Tracey Ramsey demanded Chapter 11 be struck from NAFTA (Leslie: We will stand up for Canadian interests). Sylvie Boucher and Kevin Waugh accused Mélanie Joly of a conflict of interest with her chief of staff meeting with her former employers at Google (Casey: Her in-depth knowledge is an asset with the transition to the digital economy, and she has been transparent), and John Brassard railed about those deleted emails identified by the Information Commissioner (MacKinnon: We investigated and have referred the matter to the Attorney General). Sheila Malcolmson denounced the childcare announcement (Duclos: Yay childcare), and Jenny Kwan demanded support for an inland refugee NGO (Hussen: We have a robust asylum process and provided money in the budget for refugees).

Round three saw questions on a public sex offender registry, long-gun registry records going to Quebec, allegations of patronage appointments, a CRTC decision on programming, the fate of the interim Super Hornets purchase, planned closure of inland Coast Guard stations, taxes on beer and wine, endangered barn swallows being killed in a hangar sealing, Thalidomide survivors, and the renaming of Langevin Block.

Overall, it wasn’t an exceptional day but there were a couple of exceptional points. The first of those was the fact that the Speaker made Conservative MP Ben Lobb stand up to apologize for unparliamentary language (referring to Ralph Goodale as a “tool,” right in the middle of QP, and not at the end of QP during points of order, as he might otherwise. Lobb looked genuinely taken aback that he was being called out then and there, but I will also noted that it was a qualified apology couched in “if the member was offended,” which wasn’t terribly contrite or genuine. The other exceptional moment was Liberal MP Bill Casey asking a real backbench question, that wasn’t just some obsequious suck-up softball that asked the government to “update” the Commons about a situation or to give the minister an opportunity to repeat the day’s announcement. Casey, it will be noted, is a veteran parliamentarian, who was a Progressive Conservative MP once upon a time, later a Conservative and he quit caucus and ran and won as an independent for one parliament before retiring and then coming back in this past election as a Liberal. So he knows what he’s doing, and it’s something we need to see more of. It’s a backbencher’s job to hold government to account as much as it is the opposition’s, so the fact that we have a backbencher who is actually asking real questions is something that very much needs to be encouraged. (I will note that this isn’t the first time it’s happened, but the last time it did was on a Friday, so I wanted to give Casey additional plaudits for doing it on a Tuesday).

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Lisa Raitt for a melon pink dress and a matching long jacket (that was of a superb cut), and to Arif Virani for a black suit with a lavender shirt and pocket square and a darker purple tie. Style citations go out to Jean Rioux for a taupe suit with a hot pink shirt and a blue and pink striped tie, and to Diane Lebouthillier for a black dress with a grey, burnt sienna and moss green patchwork jacket. Dishonourable mention goes out to Diane Finley for a black dress with a lemon yellow jacket with rolled sleeves and yellow pumps.

One thought on “QP: Concern about summer vacations

  1. I thank you for reporting on who are the real adults in the room, Dale. It is time they all went home from school. Enjoy your summer!

Comments are closed.