QP: Final accusations of the spring

One what was almost certainly the final sitting day (for real!), and after a number of statements for National Aboriginal Day (to be renamed next year), QP was on. Andrew Scheer led off, worrying that the changes to national security laws will make things too difficult for CSIS to do their jobs, per the fears of a former director. Justin Trudeau assured him that they we getting the balance right of safety and protecting rights. Scheer worried that security was being watered down, and Trudeau reiterated that they were getting the balance right. Scheer then changed to the issue of taxes and demanded he listened to the Liberal senators and stop the escalator taxes on beer and wine, and Trudeau reminded him that they lowered taxes on the middle class. Scheer railed about how they were hiking taxes on ordinary people (and no, cancelling a bunch of tax credits does not equal raising taxes), and Trudeau reiterated his response. For his final question, Scheer spun up a hyperbolic rant about all of the awful things the government has done, and Trudeau responded with a list of accomplishments and promises kept. Thomas Mulcair was up next, accusing the government betraying their promises to Indigenous people, and Trudeau assured him that they were committed to reconciliation and the relationship. Mulcair accused the government of breaking their promises on Access to Information, and Trudeau hit back that the NDP were completely absent on the transparency file. Mulcair worried about the Infrastructure Bank and the spectre of user fees, and Trudeau reminded him that they were looking for new ways to invest in the things Canadians need. For his final question, Mulcair railed about fundraisers, and Trudeau said that they were raising the bar and were exhorting the opposition to do the same.

Round two, and Gérard Deltell, Shannon Stubbs and John Barlow returned to the escalator taxes on alcohol (Trudeau: We lowered taxes for the middle class; You mentioned the carbon tax, so here’s why it’s good for innovation). Romeo Saganash asked a question in Cree with no translation (Trudeau: It’s National Aboriginal Day), and Sheila Malcolmson demanded an end to violence against Indigenous women (Trudeau: We have made investments and launched an Inquiry). Ron Liepert, Jacques Gourde, Rachael Harder and Marilyn Gladu demanded a balanced budget (Trudeau: We need to create economic growth and we are succeeding). Rachel Blaney and François Choquette worried about the Language Commissioner’s officer now in a state of “functus” – which should probably be functus officio (Trudeau: We are committed to finding the best candidate and an announcement will be made shortly).

Round three saw questions on the Norsat sale (Trudeau: All sales are assessed by national security agencies and concluded there were no concerns), the senior care facilities sold to a Chinese firm (Trudeau: Investment!), jurors suffering PTSD (Trudeau: We invested in mental health care), NAFTA renegotiation (Trudeau: We will defend Canadian interests), Dwight Duncan’s appointment (Trudeau: He apologised and we accept it), PMO staffers accompanying the PM when he made campaign stops during by-elections (Trudeau: I always have staff with me and this is standard practice), the Autism partnership (Trudeau: We invested in research and stakeholders).

Overall, we once again had very few questions on any of the weighty matters of substance  and were instead left with a number of petty grievances being aired and questions being framed in a completely jejune manner. After all, why dig into substantive matters when you can breathlessly rattle off all of the alleged sins of the government for the sake of cheap applause lines? Between terrible questions and answers that were largely bland talking points, it’s hard to treat this as a serious exercise. I’m also curious about the thinking behind the NDP having Romeo Saganash ask that question in Cree, knowing that the PM wouldn’t be able to understand it in order to give a substantive reply. We’ve had members’ statements in various Indigenous languages, which is one thing, but this leaves the feeling of being a stunt wrapped up in the dressing of National Aboriginal Day, and Shelia Malcolmson’s subsequent admonition that there is no interpretation for Indigenous languages is likewise a bit theatrical given that there is little capacity for that. I’m not sure that stunts like this make a real point, or if they do, it’s not in an effective manner.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Raj Grewal for a tailored dark grey suit with a light blue shirt and a navy turban and tie with a white pocket square, and to Chrystia Freeland for a black half-sleeved dress with mesh panels. Style citations go out to Maryam Monsef for a black smock dress with huge florals and mesh sleeves, and to Jean Rioux for a dark blue jacket with a melon pink shirt, blue and pink striped tie and tan slacks. Dishonourable mention goes out to Filomena Tassi for a bright yellow jacket wth a black top.

4 thoughts on “QP: Final accusations of the spring

  1. Andrew Scheer stood outside the House and railed against Trudeau in his end of session summary this morning asking the time worn question, “when will the Liberal government come to a balanced budget”?
    Lets examine the facts. When the Tories were in power starting in 2008. the Harper government, as they want us refer to it, ran up 147.7 Billion in deficits not including the 9.6 billion surplus that was left to them by the Liberals who prior to the Harper years achieved 11 straight years of surpluses.
    Andrew Scheer has no plan, other than Harpers’.
    Andrew Scheer has no credibility.
    Andrew Scheer is not ready.
    Nice grin though.

  2. Saganash was doing a stunt and frankly it is juvenile and disrespectful to Natives. We have 2 Official languages in this country and most anglos don’t speak French so can we really ask anymore of this country in terms of linguistic balance.

  3. It’s dumb, but that “Festivus” episode of “Seinfeld” where Jerry is dating a woman who looks great or awful depending on the lighting? Andrew Scheer kind of has that too. Sometimes, especially when he was on-camera in the CTV studios in Regina, that grin wasn’t doing him any favours. Yes, that’s dumb, but still noticed it.

  4. While I’m sympathetic to the “new” Senate, I believe the opposition to the “escalator” clause is unwarranted. The excise tax on alcohol is a dollar amount per alcohol content, so it makes sense to adjust it to the CPI. Or, just change the tax to a rate.

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