QP: What about Morneau-Shapell?

With it being Wednesday and with the PM out to town, there were a few more empty desks in the Commons, but QP rolled along regardless. Andrew Scheer led off, returning again to the proposed tax changes as an attack on “local businesses.” Jim Carr stood up to instead note that the opposition has been so concerned with women entrepreneurs, then how could they contenance the statements by Gerry Ritz in calling the environment minister “Climate Barbie.” Andrew Scheer didn’t respond, and stuck to his script, and so Carr stood up again, to again demand that the comments be denounced. Scheer again hewed to his script on “local businesses,” and Carr again expressed his disappointment and his expectation of a retraction. Onto Alain Rayes, who read the “local businesses” scripts in French, and this time, Bill Morneau stood up to reiterate that they were trying to make the system fairer for the middle class. They went another round of the same, before Thomas Mulcair rose for the NDP, railing that the PM left the door open to ballistic missile defence. Harjit Sajjan said that they were working actively with the US on NORAD modernisation, but the policy had not changed. Mulcair asked again in French, and Marc Garneau took this one, offering much the same response. Nathan Cullen was up next to rail about tax loopholes, and Diane Lebouthillier assured him they were going after tax avoidance. Alexandre Boulerice asked the same in French, and Bill Morneau gave his pat response on tax fairness.

Round two, and Pierre Poilievre, Gérard Deltell and Lisa Raitt returned to their tax change questions (Morneau: We are trying to make it less advantageous to use these loopholes). Tracey Ramsey demanded the elimination of Chapter 11 from NAFTA (Leslie: We are keeping Chapter 11), and Ruth-Ellen Brosseau railed about Supply Management (MacAulay: We are protecting Supply Management). Candice Bergen and Mark Strahl returned to the tax questions (Morneau: Same answer). Hélène Laverdière asked about Saudi use of Canadian weapons (DeCourcey: The minister is seeking further information), and Matthew Dubé asked about the No-Fly List (Goodale: We are determined to fix the system, and that starts in Bill C-59).

Round three saw questions on tax changes, asylum seekers and the need for resources, Indigenous housing, if Jane Philpott recused herself from discussions on the tax changes (Philpott: I was not involved), and National Energy Board environmental assessments.

Overall, it’s not unexpected that the Liberals would try to capitalize on the Gerry Ritz “Climate Barbie” tweet, and while I was surprised that it was Jim Carr who took those questions and not, say, Maryam Monsef as Status of Women minister, it nevertheless as a situation where the Liberals wanted to try and take their moral high ground. Andrew Scheer said nothing at all to the issue in his responses, sticking tightly to his scripted questions, and I’m also sure that his silence says something as well, but I’ll leave you to decide just what that message was. The Liberals could have pressed on this for the rest of QP, but did return to letting Bill Morneau take the tax questions, and the Conservatives decided that instead of trying to contrast small businesses to Bombardier, that they would instead try to contrast it with Morneau-Shapell, Morneau’s family company. It’s a specious comparison in the extreme, and when every single Conservative MP made that part of their question (save Peter Kent, who went after Jane Philpott personally), it was not only tiresome but cartoonish. If you were playing the “What about Morneau-Shapell?” drinking game, you would not only have suffered liver failure, you likely would have a case of fatal alcohol poisoning. Scheer’s QP strategies are not exactly thrilling.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Peter Schiefke for a tailored black suit with a white shirt and a striped purple tie, and to Lisa Raitt for a navy dress and jacket. Style citations go out to Julie Dzerowicz for a sleeveless bronze top, and to Martin Shields for a blue grey jacket with a dark blue gingham patterned shirt and a bright yellow tie and pocket square. Dishonourable mention goes out to Filomena Tassi for a black dress with a bright yellow jacket.

Meanwhile, during Members’ Statements, Celina Caesar-Chavannes spoke out about body-shaming, and her new hair. Enjoy.

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