A frigid Monday in the nation’s capital, and all of the various party leaders were in attendance. Andrew Scheer led off, mini-lectern on desk, and in French, he demanded that the PM repay his expenses for his Bahamas vacation. Justin Trudeau reminded him that he took responsibility and would ensure going forward would clear future trips and clarify his relationship with the Aga Khan. Scheer tried again, and Trudeau reiterated recommendations from the Commissioner and that he would adhere to them. Scheer switched to English to try and bring the high dudgeon for the very same demand. Trudeau went to the high road, and reminded the viewers at home that the Ethics Commissioner is above partisanship and he was happy to all of her recommendations. Scheer repeated his demand, and got the same response, tut-tutting about mudslinging. Scheer insisted that only a Liberal would consider an “objective finding” by the Commissioner to be mudslinging, but it didn’t change Trudeau’s response. Guy Caron was up next for the NDP, and in French, he railed about a mining company that got government loans and then avoided taxes. Trudeau, taking to prepared notes for a change, indicated that the loan came from an arm’s-length Crown Corporation, which was not under their control, and if there was tax-shifting, they condemned those actions. Peter Julian repeated it in English, and Trudeau reiterated the tax-shifting portion of his answer more forcefully in English. Julian then railed about web giants not paying Canadian taxes, and Trudeau said they promised not to raise taxes on the middle class. Caron took a stab at the same question in French, noting that these companies control online advertising and media, but Trudeau noted that they recognise that the online world is changing which is why they went to Netflix to get more help for content creators.
Round two, and Scheer was back up to continue litigating the Commissioner’s report (Chagger: He took responsibility and we respect the findings), before Scheer turned to high dudgeon over the PM’s comments on the Equitas veterans lawsuit (O’Regan: We are delivering on our promise for a pension for life, and you guys were worse), and Alain Rayes reiterated the demands for repayment in French (Chagger: Same response). Linda Duncan and Alexandre Boulerice were concerned about the coming changes to environment assessment laws (McKenna: We have a lot of work to rebuild the trust of the public). Jacques Gourde and Rosemary Falk returned to the repayment demands (Chagger: The same answers, yet again). Alistair MacGregor worried about Supply Management (Poissant: We support Supply Management), and Tracey Ramsey railed about the secrecy of the TPP negotiations (Champagne: We will release the text as soon as it’s ready).
We’re in day eleventy if Scheer vs Chagger. This is the worst litigation drama. #QP
— Dale Smith (@journo_dale) February 5, 2018
If there’s a worse litigation drama than Scheer v Chagger, it’s Gourde v Chagger. Cripes. #QP
— Dale Smith (@journo_dale) February 5, 2018
Round three saw questions on ISIS terrorists versus refugees (Hussen: We have resettled more refugees than the previous government did; Holland: We use the tools that we have to stop terrorists), harassment at Canada Post (Qualtrough: My office has reached out to this complainant), delays of the Trans Mountain pipeline (Carr: The pipeline was approved, and put in an oceans protection plan), the VADM Mark Norman investigation (Sajjan: This is currently under investigation and we support the Chief of Defence Staff’s decision), FGM (Hussen: We have been listening to experts and stakeholders), electing more women (Gould: We’ve been stepping up), Supply Management (Poissant: We are investing in the dairy sector to modernize), and marijuana producer transparency (Petitpas Taylor: The criminal approach has not succeeded), and Elizabeth May reduced that Kinder Morgan would create jobs (Trudeau: We need to get resources to market overseas, and we have a plan to protect the environment).
Overall, one would have thought that Scheer would have capitalized on the change to put the PM’s feet to the fire over his comments on that veterans lawsuit and make some serious hay over it while he had the media’s attention during the leader’s round, but no, he opted to keep on the Aga Khan issue despite the fact that the media has long since tuned out (because we can’t keep reporting the very same thing day after day, and you would think that the communications “professionals” in Scheer’s office would recognize that fact). And by leaving it to the middle round where Trudeau was unlikely to respond, Scheer opted for petty outrage instead of some actual accountability. So slow clap there. Meanwhile, Ruth Ellen Brosseau needs to stop demanding a government plan to elect more women. That’s absolutely not the government’s job, but rather the jobs of individual parties. Can you imagine the cries of bloody murder that every single party would give if the government tried to interfere with their internal processes? Sweet Rhea mother of Zeus, it’s not a sound question or strategy. Stop asking it every single day. Move on.
Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Justin Trudeau for a finely tailored black suit with a white shirt and a navy tie, and to Ginette Petitpas Taylor for a maroon dress with a subtle pattern and a long black jacket). Style citations (and there were oh, so many to choose from) go out to Sylvie Boucher for a zebra-print smock top with black slacks, and to Ramesh Sangha for a grey checkerboard suit with a medium blue shirt and a violet tie.