Wednesday, caucus day, and Justin Trudeau was present for QP, ready to take all of the questions. Whether he would actually answer them, well, remained to be seen. Andrew Scheer led of, mini-lectern on desk, and read about the reach that we call the Morneau Shepell conspiracy theory, Bombardier edition. Trudeau stated that it was false, there was not conflict of interest, and that they were supporting the aerospace sector. Scheer switched to English, asked the same thing, and Trudeau simply reiterated the support for aerospace, but didn’t denounce the accusation. Scheer tried again, and Trudeau said that the opposition was only interested in slinging mud because they couldn’t fault their economic growth. Scheer tried to pivot to the tax credit for diabetics, and Trudeau insisted that they would never be as mean as the Conservatives to cancel refugee healthcare or closing veterans offices. Scheer tried to riff on how “mean” the Liberals were to businesses or farmers, or indeed diabetics, but Trudeau hit back with his economic record that the Conservatives failed at. Guy Caron was up next for the NDP, and he railed about the Morneau Shepell conspiracy theory, Bill C-27 edition, to which Trudeau denounced the accusations, and reminded him of the ethics screen. Caron demanded a closing of loopholes, and Trudeau expressed his disappointment in the NDP for going for the Conservative tactics of personal attacks. Nathan Cullen was up next to sanctimoniously denounce Morneau Shepell and its various tentacles, and Trudeau responded by regaling him with tales of visiting Alberta and Quebec of the last few weeks and he heard about how everyone praised the Canada Child Benefit. Cullen stated that he was moving a motion at the Ethics Committee to call Morneau before them, to which Trudeau listed the programs they feel are making a difference for Canadians.
Round two, and Pierre Poilievre returned to the Morneau Shepell/Bombardier conspiracy theories (Trudeau: We are delivering for Canadians; you’re just slinging mud), Poilievre and Gérard Deltell demanded the contents of Morneau’s numbered companies (Trudeau: We have an adversarial system, which is why we have a neutral Ethics Commissioner; If you want to talk about yesterday’s statement, our plan is working). Georgina Jolibois asked about the census results on a growing Indigenous population with a housing shortage (Trudeau: We have invested in infrastructure for those communities, but there is more work to do), and Charlie Angus railed about “child-focused apartheid” (Trudeau: We are working to fix that relationship and move forward on a path of reconciliation, investing record amounts of money). Lisa Raitt, Maxime Bernier, and Mark Strahl demanded the contents of Morneau’s numbered companies (Trudeau: We trust the Ethics Commissioner). Pierre Nantel and Pierre-Luc Dusseault accused the minister of heritage of not listening to her consultations (Trudeau: Our work in the cultural milieu shows that we can share our stories on the world stage, and we are investing in the sector).
Dear MPs: The “scary story” framing device is terrible. Stop using it. #QP
— Dale Smith (@journo_dale) October 25, 2017
That was an especially obsequious backbench suck-up question.
You can do better, MPs! #QP
— Dale Smith (@journo_dale) October 25, 2017
Round three saw questions on the Morneau Shepell/Bill C-27 conspiracy theory (Trudeau: Those are misleading insinuations), resurrecting the TPP (Trudeau: We believe in good trade deals, but only in a progressive way), changing bankruptcy laws vis-à-vis Sears (Trudeau: We are making every effort to connect employees to services, and the pension funds are held in trust to be used only for pensioners), the tax credit for diabetics (Trudeau: We are helping the vulnerable with disabilities), demands that Canada withdraw from UNESCO (Trudeau: A strong Canadian voice at UNESCO stand up for Israel and for good works), the fact that one-in-seven Canadians lives in poverty (Trudeau: We will index the Canada Child Benefit and investing more for workers in poverty), ISIS fighters returning to Canada (Trudeau: The RCMP and intelligence service are working hard), and the Netflix deal (Trudeau: There is an agreement for $25 million for Quebec).
Overall, it was a decent day for exchanges, and there was a bit of back-and-forth that was good to see. Trudeau struck a decent balance between calling out the absurdity of the various and sundry accusations, along with trying to get his own economic message out. I did find it curious that he would trot out the line that “The oppostion’s job is to attack the government and that’s fine, but…” and would add that he felt sorry for both the Conservatives and the NDP because they were resorting to throwing mud and personal attacks rather than going after the government’s policies. And indeed, one would have imagined that today there would be some wailing and gnashing of teeth about the ongoing deficit, or the new spending promises, and so on, but the fact that they’re chasing conspiracy theories about the various tentacles of Morneau Shepell, wailing about every stretch of an issue, is telling about where things are right now.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Candice Bergen for a grey dress with red and black patterns, and to Terry Beech for a tailored navy suit and tie with a pink shirt and pocket square. Style citations go out to Ron Liepert for a black suit with an orangey-pinkish shirt with a black wavy-patterned tie, and to Rachel Blaney for a teal blue jacket with three-quarter sleeves and a greyish top with a black and white crosshatching pattern.