QP: Tightly scripted tax concerns

On a sweltering Monday, Justin Trudeau was off in Toronto meeting business leaders, leaving the rest of us in Ottawa to suffer through the 40 degree humidex. Andrew Scheer led off with his now standard plaintive wail about how the proposed tax changes would kill “local businesses.” Bill Morneau reminded him that they were looking to restore fairness to the tax system, and after another stilted round of the same, Scheer read his script that since the PM wouldn’t answer, he would try the finance minister instead. In a word, pathetic. Alain Rayes was up next to reiterate the questions in French, and Morneau offered his very same points in French for another two rounds. Tracey Ramsey left for the NDP, complaining that the Americans haven’t brought forward any demands, particularly with the auto sector. Chrystia Freeland wanted people in the sector to know that they were looking out for their interests, and that autos were top-of-mind. Ruth Ellen Brosseau was up next and asked about the same in French, and she got much the same answer in French. Brosseau then moved onto the usual concerns about Supply Management, and Freeland assured her, once again, that they would protect it. Ramsey then repeated that exact same question in English, and Freeland repeated her previous answer.

Round two, and we returned to questions on the tax changes from Candice Bergen, Gérard Deltell, Tony Clement, and Dan Albas, with the requisite shots at Morneau-Shepell and “family fortunes” and the fact that the PM was meeting with Chinese Billionaires™ (Morneau: We are listening to Canadians, and two percent of these corporations own eighty percent of passive income; Goldsmith-Jones: We are looking to expand trade with China to help our SMEs with e-exporting). Gord Johns and Matthew Dubé asked about proposals to sell of parts of Parks Canada Infrastructure (McKenna: Parks Canada is developing a plan to manage its asset portfolio). Luc Berthold and John Barlow railed about the tax changes hurting family farms (MacAulay: We are listening to the concerns of family farms; Morneau: The system encourages wealthy Canadians to pay less tax). Hélène Laverdière asked about the referendums on independence in Catalonia and the Kurdish region of Iraq (Freeland: The question of Catalonia is a domestic issue for Spain), and Rachel Blaney whinged that the government wouldn’t support her private member’s bill on a right to housing (Duclos: Here is what we are doing about housing).

Round three saw numerous questions on the NAFTA talks, the contract for a consultant on First Nations child and welfare issues, the need for judges in Ontario, the plight of the Rohingya people, pyrrhotite lawsuits, the Omar Khadr settlement, supply management, Catalonia, and Elizabeth May noted concerns of one doctor on the tax changes (Morneau: We are listening to ensure that we get this right, and will grandfather existing amounts).

Overall, it was not a great day, especially for Andrew Scheer whose scripted performance was stilted and awkward, and in his attempts to be clever, addressed his first two questions to the absent PM and then made a point of saying that since the PM wasn’t answering he would ask the finance minister instead. It may have been one of those attempts to try to play to the CPAC audience instead (since there are no wide shots to show that the PM wasn’t there), but it came off looking juvenile and like he wasn’t able to deviate from the scripts on his mini-lectern. Additionally, the constant Morneau-Shepell straw man kept rearing its head, with today’s new addition of the menace of Chinese Billionaires™ as somehow being whom the PM was courting instead of “local businesses.” It continues to be a childish line of attack that has nothing to do with the issues at hand. I will say that it was about time that the Conservatives started asking questions on other subjects, which they only started to do on Friday, but that they still felt the need to try and stoke outrage over the Omar Khadr issue shows that they continue to be a bit tone deaf and perhaps one could say irresponsible in the kinds of things that they are trying to stoke outrage over. Charter rights are not supposed to be negotiable subjects.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Marco Mendicino for a dark grey suit with a light blue shirt and purple tie, and to Chrystia Freeland for a short-sleeved white dress. Style citations go out to Stephanie Kusie for a short-sleeved leopard print dress, and to Nicola Di Iorio for a butterscotch suit with a light blue shirt and brown tie.

4 thoughts on “QP: Tightly scripted tax concerns

  1. Hola.

    3 things.

    1. “Justin Trudeau was off in Trudeau ” He’s always off in Trudeau!

    2. “…he would try to finance minister instead”… “the”?

    3. “Charter rights are not supposed to be negotiable subjects.” True, but lawsuits are.

  2. Well Dale, I say everyone is entitled to a few mistakes once in a while. With apologies to Pierre B he should be really concerned by the ineptitude of the Tory leader who if he keeps making the same mistakes will have his lunch served to him in the next election. He just isn’t ready. Nice touch showing the selfie with the camel. Maybe a few more like this will help him get over the hump.

    • No apologies required cfcc…

      Bernier was my first choice for leader: the only candidate apparently willing to dismantle corporate welfare and supply management. The only one, in a supposedly “conservative” party already!

      Instead we got Mr. Happy Face with the clipped diction.

      Ah well, perhaps Rona Ambrose is playing a long game and will be back as leader after the next election loss.

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