QP: Litigating actual litigation

While the PM flew off to Chicago to begin his US tour, the rest of the benches in the House of Commons were full and ready for another scintillating day of bad litigation drama. Andrew Scheer led off, mini-lectern on desk, but with the PM away, today he led off on the news story of a government fighting a sexual harassment lawsuit from a Canadian Forces member, but wedged in an Omar Khadr reference at the end, because of course he did. Harjit Sajjan said that they were committed to a harassment-free environment in the Forces, but couldn’t speak to the specifics of the case — despite the fact that earlier this morning, the PM stated that he would have the case looked into. Scheer tried again, but got the same response. Scheer amped up his dramatics for the third attempt, and tried to draw in the justice minister, but Sajjan got back up to reiterate his points, including pointing out how many people they have discharged for sexual misconduct. Lisa Raitt got up next, and repeated the question with full-on anger, but Sajjan reiterated the commitment to Operation Honour, and they went again for another round. Guy Caron was up next for the NDP, demanding taxation for digital giants, and Mélanie Joly said that they wanted to ensure that there wasn’t a piecemeal approach to digital platforms over the long term. Caron tried again in English, noting that Trudeau would be meeting with Amazon on his trip. Ruth Ellen Brosseau was up next to read her condemnation of the government’s actions with that lawsuit, and Sajjan repeated his points. Brosseau read the question again in French, and got the same reply.

Round two, and Alain Rayes, Peter Kent, Sylvie Boucher and Mark Strahl returned to the demands for repayment for the Bahamas vacation (Chagger: Took responsibly, will take advice, etc, etc.) Don Davies railed against the uncertainty around the marijuana legalization date or any pardons that might follow (Goodale: Until parliament has passed the new regime, the old law must be respected), and Alexandre Boulerice worried about border delays because of marijuana (Goodale: We are having discussions and the export and import of cannabis remains illegal). Jacques Gourde, Rachael Harder and John Brassard returned to the demands for repayment (Chagger: The very same points, yet again). Hélène Laverdière and Randall Garrison raised the sale of military helicopters to the Philippines (Freeland: We have not received a request for a permit, and we have been clear about our feelings about the extrajudicial killings by that regime).

Round three saw questions on veterans (O’Regan: We have kept our promise, and it’s a pension for life), seasonal workers (Duclos: The EI benefit is there to support workers), the Chinese takeover of Aecon (Bains: The Act has a robust process including a national security review), the interprovincial pipeline war (Rudd: We approved this pipeline, and it will be built), Canadian Nuclear Laboratories workers’ pensions (Brison: We have worked with provinces to ensure better private sector pensions), a local ferry border crossing (Beech: We have agreed to meet with the local mayor but we can’t find a connection with the crushed dock and the Coast Guard icebreaker), and better inclusion of Nunavut government with Arctic decisions (Bennett: We are co-developing a framework).

Overall, it was great to see Andrew Scheer finally move onto a new topic today, but it was a little baffling to see that Sajjan would not mention the fact that the PM had weighed in on the issue earlier this morning and had asked it to be looked into. After QP, the justice minister also echoed the PM’s statement and said that she was having her officials look into the suit and the pleadings to see what the issue was, and would then advise the PM once she heard back. That Sajjan couldn’t make that response in the Commons and defuse the issue then and there (and make the Conservatives look foolish by letting them repeat their scripted questions time and again) was a bit of an own-goal, but that seems to be the pattern of this government. That said, I will give full props to Chrystia Freeland for taking the issue of the helicopter sales by the horns and giving a proper response to it on the first go, rather than offering bland platitudes and letting it fester for days.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Sherry Romanado for a black suit with a white top, and to Raj Grewal for a tailored three-piece navy suit with a crisp white shirt and pocket square and a navy tie and turban. Style citations go out to Larry Maguire for a dark chocolate jacket with tan slacks, a pale yellow shirt and red striped tie, and to Elizabeth May for a seventies inspired cream tunic top with brown circles of various shades, and light brown slacks. Dishonourable mentions go out to Martin Shields for a black suit and shirt with a bright yellow tie, and to Jody Wilson-Raybould for a black dress with a lemon yellow jacket.

2 thoughts on “QP: Litigating actual litigation

    • They want media clips in both official languages without it being the voice of the translator. But it’s incredibly annoying to watch when you watch live.

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