QP: Performing Norsat outrage

On a very pleasant day in the nation’s capital, things were busy on the Hill between caucus meetings, the marking of the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the new Centre Block (after the original one was destroyed by fire), and after QP, the raising of the Pride flag on Parliament Hill. But first, there was QP. Andrew Scheer led off worrying about the deficit and wondered what the PM was going to do about it. Justin Trudeau was ready, and hit back with the list of ineffective boutique tax credits from the previous government and accused them of having neglected the middle class while his government has created jobs and prompted growth. Scheer moved on, and demanded a public sex offender registry, and Trudeau noted that the system already works. Scheer tried again in English, concern trolling about concerns that the government didn’t have funds to make it public. Trudeau reiterated the current system, and that it was put into place by both the Trudeau and Martin governments while the Harper government’s promise for a public registry was left without framework or funding. Scheer then switched back to French, and worried about the Norsat sale and allied objections. Trudeau insisted that allies were consulted and they listened to the advice of national security agencies. Scheer tried again in English, and Trudeau reiterated his points. Thomas Mulcair was up next, demanding the government support their suggestion on reforming appointments, and Trudeau remarked that they already had a new merit-based process. Mulcair then turned to the Der Spiegel article, and insistence that Trudeau was lying about it, and Trudeau countered with a statement from the German government that the story was wrong. Mulcair then demanded that the journalistic sources protection bill be passed before the end of the term, but Trudeau simply noted their support — which is all he could do because it’s not a government bill and they can’t fast track it. For his final question, Mulcair was concerned about whether Harjit Sajjan misled the Ethics Commissioner on his role with Afghan detainees, and Trudeau reassured him that they take their responsibilities seriously.

Round two and Gérard Deltell, Tony Clement and Lisa Raitt returned to the Norsat question (Trudeau: We took the advice of our national security agencies). Romeo Saganash demanded that UNDRIP be adopted immediately (Trudeau: We will ensure that implementation needs to go beyond words, and simply adopting the words would contravene Section 35 of the Constitution), and Don Davies worried that the chairman of a Chinese company involved in a different foreign takeover was arrested for corruption (Trudeau: Those senior care facilities continue to be regulated by the BC government). Candice Bergen returned to the Norsat issue (Trudeau: We trust our public servants and national security agencies to give us good advice) and Cathy McLeod demanded answers on the Chinese takeover of those BC care facilities (Trudeau: The provincial regulator will ensure the facilities will keep their standards). Tracey Ramsey and Ruth Ellen Brosseau worried about Supply Management (Trudeau: We created Supply Management and we will protect it).

Round three saw questions on those deleted emails (Trudeau: We were troubled and the process was followed, and we are disturbed by this partisanship because it has no place in our public service), Mélanie Joly’s chief of staff meeting with her old bosses at Google (Trudeau: She has met with all digital players and was fully transparent), medical assistance in dying (Trudeau: We struck the right balance), the Infrastructure Bank (Trudeau: We are looking for innovative solutions to building infrastructure), a public sex offender registry, Wynn’s Law on bail reform (Trudeau: It was sent to committee and the committee made a determination), autism funding (Trudeau: We are happy to support research), broadcasting funding (Trudeau: We are studying the impact of the CRTC decision), and climate in the G20 communiqué (Trudeau: We will ensure it’s in there).

Overall, it was the typical rowdy Wednesday, being both caucus day (which tends to rile them up) and our proto-PMQs, which emboldens the opposition parties to be even louder in their heckling than usual. I will also note that Trudeau was relying on notes far more today than he usually does, but at the same time, I thought his answers were slightly more substantive than they have been in other weeks, where he would stick to generalities and platitudes. At least with today, he tried to offer slightly more information on specific cases than he might otherwise. At the same time, I’m not sure that the tactic of getting a dozen people to ask the very same question is really an effective tactic, especially if it’s a question where the answer isn’t going to change. It’s repetitive, it’s dull, and competing to see who gives the best canned outrage is so tiresome.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Scott Brison for a navy suit with a very pale pink shirt and purple tie, and to Karina Gould for a black dress with gold-enclosed cut-outs along the neckline and a linen jacket. Style citations go out to Marilyn Gladu for a black sleeveless dress with lavender florals, and to Blaine Calkins for a tan suit with a white shirt and tan tie.