QP: The non-existent plan for a non-existent tax

Despite it being a Thursday, the only leader in the Commons was Elizabeth May — because reasons. Candice Bergen led off, demanding an admission that the government ignored American warnings about the Norsat sale. Navdeep Bains assured her that they followed the process and took the advice of our security agencies, who did consult. Bergen wasn’t buying it, but Bains reiterated his point about the process before touting improved economic progress thanks to their being open to trade. Bergen then accused the government of proposing an internet tax, which was entirely disingenuous because it wasn’t the government who floated the idea — it was a committee of backbenchers. Mélanie Joly assured her they would not levy such a tax. Alain Rayes asked the same again in French, got the same answer, and then reiterated the Norsat question in French. Bains repeated his previous points in French, reading from a prepared response. Matthew Dubé led for the NDP, wondering when reforms to the Anti-terrorism Act would finally be tabled. Ralph Goodale assured him that new legislation was on the way. Dubé switched to English to ask again, adding in a clause about lawful access. Goodale accused him of trying to spook people with innuendo, and that the legislation would keep Canadians safe while protecting their privacy rights. Brian Masse raised the Norsat sale, and Bains repeated his same answer. Alexandre Boulerice then raised a question of an EI case, and Jean-Yves Duclos asked him to forward him the details so that he could look into it.

Round two, and Gérard Deltell, Diane Finley, and Mark Strahl returned to the Norsat sale (Bains: We took the advice of our agencies). Georgina Jolibois and Romeo Saganash asked about the Sixties Scoop class action (Bennett: We need to determine damages on a case-by-case basis). Diane Watts and Luc Berthold asked about Infrastructure Bank’s risks — disingenuously, mind you (Sohi: Yay investment!), and John Barlow asked about increasing taxes on beer and wine (Petitpas Taylor: We raised taxes on the one percent). Brigitte Sansoucy and Don Davies asked about HIV funding (Philpott: We put an additional $35 million in the budget).

Round three saw questions on the previous sale of BC seniors residences, alleged partisan appointments, women’s shelters in remote communities, a derelict vessel, the processing backlog of refugee claims, PED virus in Manitoba, the Saint-Jean military college, the Port of Churchill, Official Languages complaints, the CRTC decision on broadcasters, the Infrastructure Bank.

Overall, I was struck by the sheer volume of disingenuous questions today, which seemed far worse than the usual torque that questions receive for theatrical value. In particular, the questions on the heritage committee proposal to ensure that broadband streaming is subject to the same CanCon levy as broadcast (not a “Netflix” or “Internet” tax) was just that – a committee proposal and not a government initiative or trial balloon, and to pretend that it was is not only disingenuous, but a dangerous mischaracterization of the role that committees play in Parliament. You would have also thought that after having been subjected to questions for the better part of a decade about the previous government’s supposed hidden agenda of banning abortions based on a couple of backbenchers’ initiatives would make the Conservatives think twice about applying the same aspersions, but no. Shame apparently is a foreign concept. Likewise, with the NDP railing about the government supposedly appealing the court decision around “Sixties Scoop” survivors was also completely disingenuous and grossly misleading because the government is not appealing, but determining damages because the court ruled that they needed to be determined on a case-by-case basis, not a blanket amount to be distributed. Claiming that it’s an appeal is a low blow, and does an injustice to the survivors who are watching the issue with interest.

Sartorially speaking, it was a very casual day for a number of male MPs as they were tie-less and wearing jeans, none more notably than Michel Picard for his dark pink jacket, pink and blue striped shirt with a blue pocket square (while he warmed a seat on the front bench). Snaps go out to Candice Bergen for a short-sleeves purple dress, and to Marco Mendocino for a tailored black suit with a white shirt and purple tie. Style citations go out to Brian Masse for a taupe suit with a lemon yellow shirt and a golden brown tie, and to Linda Lapointe for a pink and navy striped short-sleeved dress. Dishonourable mention goes out to Mariam Monsef for a bright yellow dress with a black sweater.

One thought on “QP: The non-existent plan for a non-existent tax

  1. I noticed in the recaps that a lot of CPC frontbench and main questioners seems to be from super safe ridings. I am off on that and maybe Mr. Scheer and his staff might move into some MPs from more swing ridings into QP?

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