QP: Veteran benefits before reruns

Thursday before a constituency week, and not only were the benches starting to thing out, but Elizabeth May was the only leader present, not counting “parliamentary leader” Guy Caron. Conservative Quebec lieutenant Alain Rayes led off, railing about the news that elite soldiers who are ill or injured for more than six months will have their benefits cut off. Diane Lebouthillier — surprisingly (but with neither the veterans affairs minister or his parliamentary secretary present) — answered, saying that there was a six-month grace period, and they got a pay increase and have added benefits. Rayes repeated the question, and this time Kent Hehr, the former minister, offered assurances that veterans were a priority. Rayes offered some added sanctimony for the apparent callous treatment of said troops. Hehr repeated his answer, before Candice Bergen got up to repeat the question in English, and Lebouthillier got back up to repeat her previous answer, noting that the Chief of Defence Staff had reviewed the file. Bergen got back up to try and lump this with the other faux scandals, but Lebouthillier reiterated her answer. Guy Caron got up next, leading for the NDP, demanding to know if CRA had recouped $25 billion of it had simply been identified. Lebouthillier essentially confirmed the latter, saying that they were “on the way” to recouping it. Caron railed that KPMG’s clients were not being named and shamed on the CRA website, but Lebouthillier repeated her response. Alexandre Boulerice got up next to rail about what tax avoidance was considered abusive, but Lebouthillier praised the work that CRA was doing. Boulerice ranted about tax treaties, and Lebouthillier noted that those treaties are now the CRA is able to conduct investigations and lay charges.

Round two, and Ted Falk, Sylvie Boucher, John Brassard, and Pierre Poilievre returned to the old fallback of Morneau’s company (Lightbound: He disclosed his assets, and the ethics screen was good enough for Conservatives when they were in power; Lebouthillier: You cut international auditors when you were in power). Christine Moore and Irene Mathyssen asked about veterans pensions (Miller: We will help veterans in difficulty, and we will keep our promise for lifetime pensions). Tom Kmeic, Stephen Blaney, and Marilyn Gladu returned to the issue of disability tax credits (Lebouthillier: We are making it easier and the number of recipients has gone up). Hélène Laverdière and Randall Garrison demanded that the peacekeeping mission be announced (DeCourcey: We announced an ambitious action plan last week).

Round three saw questions on Stephen Bronfman and the Paradise Papers, an apology to LGBT Canadians including compensation (Virani: We are working on this and have allocated funds), the gay blood ban (Petitpas Taylor: We allocated funds to further this issue), pulse exports (MacAulay: This is a decision made by the Indian government, and we are attempting o resolve this), Yazidi genocide survivors at committee (Oliphant: That motion will be dealt with at the next meeting), PEARL research station funding, official languages protections, and Davie shipyard contracts.

Overall, it’s probably a good thing that this was the last QP before a constituency week because my patience has pretty much run thin by the antics. Questions on the bureaucratic decisions around injured soldiers could have been more effectively asked if they weren’t couched in terms trying to tie it with the rest of the ongoing faux-scandals and this ridiculous meme about “one rule for the Liberals and their friends and another one for everyone else” and manufactured outrage makes them less serious, and gives a whiff that these soldiers are being used for political props rather than having their issues being taken seriously. Add to that, returning to long-ago answered questions on Bill Morneau’s assets (seriously – they’re all posted online) and these same utterly nonsense questions about Trudeau supposedly “pardoning” Stephen Bronfman or somehow “interfering” with a potential CRA investigation are beyond disingenuous. While I have stated numerous times that continuing to ask these kinds of questions will only merit pabulum responses, I will note that I’m glad that Diane Lebouthillier called them out as “absurd and even dangerous” because the narrative that the Conservatives are trying to push is just that. This kind of point-scoring is cheap and corrosive.

Sartorially speaking, there is apparently a new Thing about wearing bow ties on Thursdays in November for prostate cancer awareness, which is better than moustaches by far. Snaps go out to James Maloney for a navy suit and bow tie with a pink shirt, and to Kirsty Duncan for a black suit with an eggplant top. Style citations go out to Diane Finley for a dark grey textured jacket with black panelling and a red turtleneck, and to Bill Blair for a black suit with a lighter black shirt with a white collar, and a blue patterned tie.

One thought on “QP: Veteran benefits before reruns

  1. I find it odd that Harper who to my knowledge was the mastermind behind TIEAs isn’t at all referenced in tax haven discussions My sense is that the taxes owing could be the largest in Canadian history.

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