QP: Return of the tax changes

While the prime minister remained in China, Andrew Scheer was finally back in the Commons for QP for the first time this week. After a moment of silence for the anniversary of the École Polytechnique massacre, Scheer led off, mini-lectern on desk, and he read a statement about violence against women. In response, Maryam Monsef rose to give her own statement about the importance of the day and the remembrance of the victims. Scheer then turned to the “attack on small business” by new rules not being fully outlined until the budget. Dominic LeBlanc, who this morning revealed that he was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, reminded him that small business taxes was being reduced and the new rules around private corporations were not about small businesses. Scheer trotted out the torqued 73 percent tax rate line (only applicable to those private corporations making over 100,000 under certain conditions in Ontario), and LeBlanc called him out for using a phoney example. Alain Rayes took over in French, offering the same concerns, and LeBlanc assured him that they listened to small business owners and they were acting on their concerns. Rayes tried again, but LeBlanc launched into a praise for small business tax cuts. Guy Caron was up next for the NDP, worrying that not taxing internet giants was hurting Canadian content creators — specifically community newspapers. Mélanie Joly said that they would work with stakeholders to strengthen local journalism. Caron tried again in English, and Joly listed investments made today and promised to help with transition to digital. Tracey Ramsey was up next, demanding transparency on the list of priorities with trade with China. Marie-Claude Bibeau, curiously, rose to read a statement on the importance of trade, but done under Canadian values. Ruth Ellen Brosseau asked the very same question again in French, and got much the same answer.

Round two, and Gérard Deltell and Candice Bergen rambled about tax changes (Lightbound: Income sprinkling rules will be unveiled well before January,”) while Poilievre tried to wedge the same question in with his usual insinuations about Morneau’s share sales (Lightbound: I’ve already answered this). Karine Trudel and Nathan Cullen demanded transparency around appointing Officers of Parliament (Lamoureux: We put in a new process, and have made over 400 appointments of which 56 percent are women). John Brassard and Maxime Bernier returned to the demands for Morneau to resign (Lightbound: Ethics Commissioner, recommendations, etc, etc). Hélène Laverdière worried about Donald Trump’s decision to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel (DeCourcey: Canada’s position is that peace that means a Palestinian state alongside Israel), and Anne Quach worried about the mandate of the Languages Commissioner (Joly: We support bilingualism, but your leader has a mixed position with bilingualism on the Supreme Court).

Round three saw questions on the disability tax credit for diabetics (Lebouthillier: We did not change the criteria), talks about Parks Canada proposal (Wilkinson: A proposal has not been received), the Cowichan River, acquiring used jets from Australia (Sajjan: Our fighters should have been replaced a long time ago, but they weren’t, and we’ll source 88 new aircraft not 65), admonishing female genital mutilation being removed from the citizenship guide (Hussen: The new guide has not been written yet because we are still consulting), Davie Shipyard jobs (Qualtrough: We are in contact with the shipyard), the new Champlain Bridge (Sohi: We are delivering on our commitment), and autism services (Petitpas Taylor: We give support for programs).

Overall, it was it was not a terribly illuminating day, and most of the questions and attacks really felt half-hearted. Most of the torque was replaying tired lines that have been discredited, but that didn’t seem to stop them from recycling them – and for which they were rightly called out for using them. The NDP, meanwhile, were moving onto other topics, which was a welcome change from the past few weeks, but nothing really moved the needle. You can really tell that even though there’s no snow on the ground yet, things are getting tired and MPs are getting ready to head back home for the holidays, and with about a week left to go, it’ll be a fight to stave off exhaustion.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Raj Grewal for a tailored navy suit, turban, and tie with a white shirt and pocket square, and to Pam Damoff for an indigo suit with a lavender collared shirt. Style citations go out to Cheryl Gallant for a maroon dress with a moss jacket with burgundy embroidery and burgundy tights, and to Mark Holland for a light grey jacket, tan slacks, an off-white shirt and a red and blue cross hatched tie.