QP: Concerns over foreign fighters

The first day back from a constituency week, things were a bit delayed in getting started while new MP Richard Hébert was introduced to the Chamber — improperly, I might add, as he initially “struggled” before passing the bar, which is wrong. Only the Speaker is supposed to struggle before being taken to the chair, given the symbolism that in historical times, the Speaker had faced the wrath of the King, sometimes fatally so. This is not the case for an MP.

When QP got underway, Andrew Scheer led off, mendaciously framing a question about ISIS fighters, claiming that the government was welcoming back ISIS fighters with “reintegration services,” to which Trudeau gave some bland assurances that they were monitoring any foreign fighters returning. Scheer listed off ISIS atrocities before repeating his disingenuous framing device, and Trudeau listed services to deradicalize Canadians and noted that children who were in those situations need particular care. Scheer tried again in French, got the same answer, before changing the topic and noting that both the PM and finance minister were under investigation by the Ethics Commissioner, to which Trudeau shot back that the Conservatives were attacking the Commissioner and her integrity. Scheer then returned to the issue of the Paradise Papers and the bullshit assertion that Trudeau “pardoned” Stephen Bronfman on behalf of the CRA, and Trudeau assured him that CRA was looking into tax evasion. Guy Caron led off for the NDP, also railing about Morneau’s ethics filings, and Trudeau reminded him that they work with the Commissioner. Caron raised the fact that the postal workers union had alas raised the C-27 issue with the Commissioner months ago, as though that was of any consequences, and Trudeau reiterated his answer. Nathan Cullen got up to deliver the same again with added sanctimony, and Trudeau responded by lamenting that Cullen sat in the Chamber with him when the previous government attacked public institutions like the Ethics Commissioner and that was disappointed that the NDP would stoop so low. Cullen accused Trudeau of a cheap shot, and Trudeau made the accusation right back.

Round two, and Alain Rayes, Candice Bergen, and Pierre Poilievre railed about Morneau’s non-existent conflicts (Morneau: I have no conflicts). Scott Duvall and Karine Trudel railed about Bill C-27 as an attack on pensions (Morneau: We will defend ongoing defined benefit plans, but private sector workers who don’t have them need options). Peter Kent and Jacques Gourde reiterated the bullshit assertions that the PM somehow controls CRA investigations vis-à-vis Stephen a Bronfman (Khera: The CRA will conduct their own investigations on these papers), and Marilyn Gladu and Steven Blaney railed about the disability tax credit (Khera: The eligibility criteria have not changed). Sheri Benson and Brigitte Sansoucy demanded action on the Phoenix pay system (Qualtrough: The previous government botched this but we will fix it).

Round three saw questions on returning ISIS fighters (Goodale: When evidence is available, charges are laid, and the sixty known returnees are under surveillance), benefits for troops (Sajjan: We make sure that we look out for them), the bill on derelict and abandoned vessels, the recent peacekeeping announcement (Freeland: We want our contributions to be used where they are most needed), Trudeau not showing up at the TPP meeting (Champagne: We made progress but there is work to be done), Supply Management, the CN rail bridge in Quebec City, help for print media, a redress system for children on the no-fly list (Goodale: It’s part of bill C-59), Kirpans being allowed on airplanes (Garneau: This is aligned with other allied countries), and whether the PM would attend the climate leaders summit (Trudeau: The minister will lead the delegation).

Overall, it’s utterly exasperating watching QP when you know that the questions are being framed in a mendacious and disingenuous way, and when the government doesn’t call it out. Instead, we get safe, pabulum responses, and so the frustration carries on. One of the only genuine responses we got from Bill Morneau was on the point of Bill C-27 as giving options for private sector employers while being faced with somewhat hysterical denunciations about it supposedly undermining defined-benefit plans (never mind that it’s the change in actuarial tables when people stopped smoking two packs a day that undermined those plans, but hey, narratives). But honest to Zeus, wrapping your questions in lies is not any way to hold a government to account, and it’s just debasing the whole exercise of parliamentary democracy. I wish that the opposition would take this to heart.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Emmanuel Dubourg for a tailored navy suit and tie with a light blue shirt, and to Chrystia Freeland for a short-sleeved black dress. Style citations go out to Ruth Ellen Brosseau for a leopard print top with black tights, and to Larry Bagnell for a black suit with a light orange shirt and striped tie. Dishonourable mention goes out to Pamela Goldsmith-Jones for a greenish-yellow jacket with black slacks and a white collared shirt.

2 thoughts on “QP: Concerns over foreign fighters

  1. I don’t quite understand why Richard Hébert MP struggled, is there something he did not understand or imagined some kind of fanciful role for himself?

  2. “…the sixth known returnees…”

    I believe this should read “the 60 known returnees.”

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