QP: Morneau gets scrappy

Thursday, and the benches were starting to empty out in advance of the weekend, and Elizabeth May was the only leader present. Alain Rayes led off, and as expected, he railed about the destruction of the economy by the proposed tax changes. Bill Morneau got up and calmly deployed his well-worn talking points about how the system currently advantages the wealthy and the government was looking to make things fairer for the middle class. Rayes and after him Pierre Poilievre brought up a super credible CFIB survey to decry the changes, and Bill Morneau cautioned him not to engage in scare tactics. When Poilievre tried to rail about the hypothetical 73 percent tax rate, Morneau suggested that his critic was misleading the House, and he got cautioned to withdraw the suggestion. Morneau did, and said instead that his critic was wrong and knew he was wrong, and when Poilievre tried to make this about an issue about Morneau-Shepell, Morneau retreated to his usual talking points. Hélène Laverdière led off for the NDP, wondering just what concrete action the PM announced at the UN General Assembly, to which Marc Garneau assured her that Canada was active on the world stage. Laverdière asked in English about our lack of peacekeeping commitments, to which Garneau reminded her they made the commitment, but were taking the time to consider where to deploy them. Romeo Saganash decried the lack of action on drinking water advisories, to which Jane Philpott assured him that they were dealing with the socio-economic issues around long-term problems. Saganash demanded support for his private member’s bill, and Philpott assured him they were working on First Nations child welfare.

Round two, and Mark Strahl, Maxime Bernier, Ed Fast and Cathy Wagantall started the day’s bout of false equivalence between the tax changes and Morneau-Shepell (Morneau: We are consulting to ensure there is fairness). Nathan Cullen and Alexandre Boulerice demanded that the tax changes be expanded to big business (Morneau: Why are you not trying to make the tax system more fair? Lebouthillier: We are cracking down on tax avoidance). Luc Berthold, John Barlow, and Candice Bergen returned to the day’s straw man argument (Morneau: Fairness!) Karine Trudel worried about Supply Management (MacAulay: We put it into place and we will defend it), and Don Davies worried about the opioid crisis (Petitpas Taylor: We are treating this seriously).

Round three saw questions on the tax changes, GIS payments, the Energy East pipeline, marijuana legislation, a derelict vessel, and Spain’s actions in Catalonia.

Overall, the Conservatives turned their attacks slightly from constantly naming Morneau-Shepell today, but instead made constant references to both Trudeau and Morneau’s family fortunes. More to the point, they built this huge straw man about how the government has “protected” these family fortunes while “attacking” small businesses, which is a patently disingenuous. Morneau finally decided to take this on today, trying to call out Poilievre and others for their blatantly false constructions, but was cautioned by the Speaker in his attempt to do so, seeing as it’s not parliamentary to accuse your rivals of attempting to mislead the House – even when they most certainly are. And I will once again reiterate the fact that there are some potentially serious problems with the unintended consequences in the drafting of the proposals, but none of this is being raised, only these straw men.

I will add that I had an aunt with me in the Gallery for QP, and at one point, she turned to me and asked why they kept asking the same thing over and over, despite it not going anywhere. I tried to explain that this is part of a strategy to stay on message, and the fact that QP has become a buffet of media clips rather than a feast of actual debate. She didn’t look convinced, but unfortunately this is the way that things have gone, and I would hope that we can start encouraging MPs to reverse this decline. But given the way that Andrew Scheer’s leadership has shaped up so far, I’m not holding my breath.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Maxime Bernier for a tailored black suit with a white shirt and pocket square with a grey striped tie, and to Bardish Chagger for a sleeveless red dress with some excellent structure. Style citations go out to Ginette Petitpas Taylor for a short-sleeved peach top with a pebble pattern and a black skirt and continental tie, and to David Lametti for a light grey suit with a peach pink shirt and black bow tie.

2 thoughts on “QP: Morneau gets scrappy

  1. Unsure how you feel about typos being called out, but your missing a second ‘s’ in “Fairness” in the sentence about Luc Berthold, John Barlow, and Candice Bergen.

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