QP: Trudeau has a ready response

While the Commons was already preoccupied with the Supply Day motion demanding that the prime minister repay the costs associated with his vacation two Christmases ago, you would think that maybe, just maybe, that the opposition would lead off with something else. But no. Andrew Scheer, predictably, led off with the vacation issue and demands for repayment yet again, for the eleventieth day, and Justin Trudeau repeated his well-worn points that he accepted responsibility and would follow the advice of the Commissioner going forward. Scheer tried again, with some added snark, and Trudeau reiterated his response. Scheer then demanded to know what part of the opposition day motion the PM disagreed with, and Trudeau turned to his high road talking point about how the Commissioner ensures that the issues go above partisan talking points and mud-slinging. Scheer called out Trudeau’s attempt to break the fourth wall, and they went another round of the same. Guy Caron was up next for the NDP, concern trolling as to why Netflix is exempt from sales tax. Trudeau picked up on Caron’s points and said that he was right — web giants should pay more, but sales tax would simply mean that Canadians pay more. Caron switched to French to ask the same, and Trudeau reiterated that the NDP were simply demanding that taxpayers pay more. Charlie Angus was up next, and tried to spin a conspiracy theory that the Liberals were letting KPMG off the hook because they were apparently getting payoffs of some variety. Trudeau reminded him that they put a billion dollars into the CRA to go after tax evasion. Angus raised the case of Stephen Bronfman, asserting that he somehow “got off” (from some unspecified charges) and then pivoted to wounded veterans, and Trudeau gave a rousing defence of their treatment of veterans and blasting the Conservatives.

Round two, and Scheer got back up to rail about the veterans issue, mixing it in with a bunch of cheap outrage (Trudeau: You guys wrapped yourselves in the flag while cheating veterans; O’Regan: Look at the fog of amnesia on that side), and the alleged comparison between post-war refugees and returning ISIS fighters (Hussen: We delivered for refugees) and an incoherent demand to repay the vacation (Chagger: I’m not hearing a question). Alain Rayes stood up to deliver the demands for repayment in French (Chagger: Took responsibility, etc). Alistair McGregor railed about Supply Management under TPP (MacAulay: We will protect Supply Management), and Tracey Ramsey concerned trolled that the TPP would kill pharmacare (Freeland: Public healthcare is in our minds at the negotiating table). Lisa Raitt, Jacques Gourde, and Peter Kent litigated the Commissioner’s report (Chagger: Same answer). Fin Donnelly worried about the new fisheries legislation vis-à-vis the Kinder Morgan assessment (Beech: We will strengthen the current regime), and Shelia Malcolmson worried about coastal communities (Garneau: We have a programme that the people of BC are welcoming).

Round three saw questions on veterans (O’Regan: We made a promise and we kept it), the Phoenix pay system (Brison: We recognise the challenge and the Conservatives caused the problem), that EDC loan to a mining company that then avoided taxes (Lebouthillier: We invested in audits but I can’t discuss any specific case), Supply Management (MacAulay: We will protect Supply Management), the Canada Food Guide (Petitpas Taylor: We recently concluded consultations and will table a report soon), and a wetland conservation fund cancellation (McKenna: We’re spending millions to protect wetlands and watersheds).

Overall, it was a livelier day than it has been of late, and Justin Trudeau was punchier than he has been in answering questions for the past couple of weeks. He tried being neutral, he tried the high road, and when it wound Andrew Scheer up even more, Trudeau wouldn’t take the bait. Not yet, anyway. His responses to Guy Caron on the Netflix issue certainly made it clear that he can still take responses and dig into them rather than simply dropping prepared lines. But. The moment that Charlie Angus brought up the issue of veterans, Trudeau was ready, and he had prepared quotes from a Conservative MP about how his party failed veterans, and he was extremely animated on the topic. And so, when Andrew Scheer finally got to the veterans issue, which you would think he would have led with two days in a row (and didn’t), with an agitated tone, Trudeau kept up in delivering the lines that he had prepared on the veterans issue…and then he was done. Scheer’s rhetoric got increasingly loud and rambling, to the point where he lost his own plot by the end of his second round of questions. So this theatre of the absurd carries on as theatre, Trudeau having prepared and delivered the response he wanted, and refusing to take Scheer’s bait otherwise. Real issues continue to go unaddressed, and none of the leaders look good out of this.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Lisa Raitt for a blue top with a white jacket and black slacks, and to Navdeep Bains for a chocolate brown suite with a light blue shirt and a pink tie and turban. Style citations go out to Darshan Kang for a brown plaid jacket with a blue-grey shirt, violet paisley tie and red turban, and to Diane Lebouthillier for a light blue turtleneck with a brown three-quarter sleeved jacket with a grid pattern.

One thought on “QP: Trudeau has a ready response

  1. Your point that when Scheer can’t make his point he gets louder. Volume of a riposte tends to make listeners believe that there is a lack of conviction or a plethora of disingenuous argument. Trudeau did well today. I noticed that one of the loudest, in heckling anyway, Mark Strahl MP for Chilliwack was positioned behind Andrew seemingly for some sort of support. If the leader of the Conservative party has to lean on one of the most ineffective parliamentary politicians for support then the Tories are in real trouble.

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