QP: Morneau’s surprise announcement

As is not unusual for a Thursday (somewhat unfortunately), neither the prime minister nor leader of the opposition were present for another day of scripted outrage and conspiracy theories. Pierre Poilievre led off, and railed about the prohibition of ministers owning stocks, and demanded to know if Bill Morneau owned stocks from other companies in his numbered corporations. Morneau regaled the Commons with his meeting with the Ethics Commissioner, and his intention to donate any profit made since he was elected. Poilievre was caught a bit flat-footed by the answer, and stumblingly wondered if he would donate the tax credit from that donation to paying off the deficit, and Morneau stood up to wax lyric about ethics and others conducting their own affairs. Poilievre returned to his demands to know what is in Morneau’s other numbered companies, but Morneau retreated to his more standard pabulum about how they were helping Canadians. Alain Rayes was up next, and spouted the Morneau Shepell/Bombardier conspiracy theory as if it were a mathematical equation. Navdeep Bains was up to list off their support of the aerospace industry. Rayes tried to list the various Morneau Shepell tentacles, to which Bains reiterated the support for aerospace. Guy Caron was up next to lead for the NDP, and he raised the Morneau Shepell/Bill C-27 conspiracy theory, to which Morneau praised their work on pension reforms and the work they’ve done to date. Caron switched to French to list previous resignations due to conflicts, and tried to wedge the C-27 conspiracy theory into it, but Morneau reiterated his commitment to going above and beyond the ethics rules. Ruth Ellen Brosseau was up next, and demanded the government tell the Senate to pass Rona Ambrose’s bill on sexual assault training for judges. While the question should have been disallowed, Jody Wilson-Raybould stated how proud she was the support the bill, but obviously would not comment on the Senate’s internal business. Scott Duvall was up next to demand changes to bankruptcy laws, but Bains wouldn’t make any promises, only promising to help Sears employees.

Round two, and Maxime Bernier, Shannon Stubbs, and Mark Strahl raised the myriad of Morneau Shepell conspiracy theories (Morneau: We have been working with the Ethics Commissioner; Bains: Why do you continually undermine the aerospace sector?). Christine Moore railed about the government not taking responsibility for underfunding First Nations children (Philpott: We recognise the crisis, and we need to all work together), and Charlie Angus demanded the federal court cases be called off (Philpott: We have gone to great lengths to ensure that Jordan’s Principle is respected). John Brassard and Gérard Deltell railed about the ethics screen system Morneau was subjected to (Morneau: Here is how it works). Pierre Nantel howled about the Netflix deal (Joly: We are investing and are modernising the Broadcast Act to protect francophone culture), and Rachel Blaney railed that Google has lobbied the government 63 times (Joly: We heard from 30,000 people in our consultations).

Round three saw questions on the CRA disability tax credits for those with diabetes, the opioid crisis, use of House of Commons resources for a civic election, illegal border crossings, demanding a bill on bilingual Supreme Court justices, snow clearing at the Holocaust memorial, and Quebec’s Bill 62.

Overall, I will say that it was amusing to see Bill Morneau able to flatfoot his opponents, however briefly, which is why it matters for MPs to be able to think on their feet (and sadly, most of them can’t). He was a little less pabulum-y today for a change, but he still relied on fairly bland and repetitive points throughout, and didn’t really punch back against the various conspiracy theories, though his slip up of noting that he would ensure there were no conflicts “going forward” was a bit unfortunate for him. I will also note my disappointment that the Speaker didn’t call out the NDP question on the Senate’s delaying of a bill as being irrelevant to QP in the House of Commons since it has nothing to do with the government’s areas of administration, because seriously, guys – what did you think the answer was going to be? When you ask questions for which there is no actual answer, you simply give the government an opportunity to recite happy, clappy talking points. It’s not doing the job.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Michelle Rempel for a slim black long-sleeved dress, and to Raj Grewal for a navy three-piece suit with a light blue checked shirt, and a dark blue tie, turban and pocket square. Style citations go out to Robert Sopuck for his hateful brown corduroy jacket with a grey shirt, brown waistcoat and blue striped tie, and to Mary Ng for a green dress with loud florals.