QP: It’s true if they say it is

While MPs waited for the budget to be released, all of the leaders were present for the first time in a while, and we all awaited the performative outrage. Andrew Scheer led off, mini-lectern on desk, and in French, he immediately read the demand to know whether not names submitted to the events in India were vetted by security services. Justin Trudeau got up, and with a rare script in hand, he listed off the pabulum talking point that the invitation should not have been made, was rescinded, and security services did their jobs. Scheer switched to English and lit into Trudeau about how “disastrous” the trip was and the media briefing that put forward the theory that the Indian government was involved in Jaspel Atwal’s presence, but Trudeau picked up a different script to praise the Canada-India relationship. Scheer demanded to know if a public servant was put forward to run interference with the media, and Trudeau picked up another sheet to points out that they respect the non-partisan public service, unlike the previous government, and if one of them says something to Canadians, it’s because they know it to be true. Scheer tried again, and this time Trudeau put down the script to nor vigorously reiterate that the previous government used public servants for partisan ends and they did not. Scheer closed off by asking if they knew of other extremists who attended these events, but Trudeau demurred. Guy Caron was up next, and he immediately railed about cost-benefit analyses related to whether or not CRA went after large violators. Trudeau picked up a new script and listed off the measures they are taking to combat tax evasion, which includes exchanging data with partner countries. Caron switched topics to worry about web giants getting benefits over Canadian companies when it comes to taxation. Trudeau, sans script, reminded Caron that they would not increase taxes even if the NDP demanded it. Charlie Angus was up next and returned to the Atwal issue, and Trudeau picked up his script to read the praise for the trusted non-partisan security services. Angus tried to link Atwal with “partisan pork-barrel politics,” which was a stretch, and Trudeau reiterated that the invitation was rescinded.

Round two, and Alain Rayes, and Candice Bergen returned to the Atwal questions (Goodale: We trust the advice of our security services, and your insinuations are false), and Erin O’Toole demanded to know if the government turned down requests by the Indian government to see who was invited (Goodale: Our forces worked with theirs the whole way through). Sheila Malcolmson demanded “real action” on “true gender equality” (Monsef: Supporting women is at the heart of what we do), and Brigitte Sansoucy demanded the kind of childcare that the NDP demand (Duclos: We are working with provinces on childcare). Peter Kent, Pierre Paul-Hus and John Brassard returned to allegations the RCMP did not cooperate with Indian officials (Goodale: The arrangements were carefully prepared with Global Affairs, CSIS and the RCMP). Robert Aubin wanted passenger rail restored to his riding (Garneau: We are studying the possibility of a high-frequency train between Quebec and Windsor), and Rachel Blaney a national seniors strategy and a full-time minister (Duclos: We have a government dedicated to the welfare of seniors).

Round three saw yet more questions on the Atwal “conspiracy theory,” the Anbang Insurance buy-out of senior care facilities (Bains: Legally binding limits remain in place, and our officials are monitoring the situation), the recommendation on the removal of a judge (Wilson-Raybould: I received the recommendation, and I am considering it and will proceed in due course), rail grain inter-switching (Garneau: I spoke with the rail companies this morning and the situation is improving), the Arctic surf clam quota (LeBlanc: The previous process did not include the Indigenous fisheries), the ceasefire in Syria (DeCourcey: Canada will add voice on this situation), a particular judicial candidate (Wilson-Raybould: I take into consideration the recommendations of the committees, the Chief Justice of the jurisdiction and their case law), the agreement with Netflix (Joly: We are creating a comprehensive approach to the media sector), and seasonal employment EI (Duclos: We have set up flexibility and are continue to work on it).

Overall, it was an odd day to see Trudeau hewing to scripts so closely, which is not his usual habit, and probably demonstrates that he was uncomfortable with the material, but the fact that it was political and not technical details he was speaking to could mean that he was trying to keep his responses far more on-point in order to avoid from making an unintentional blunder. That Ralph Goodale wouldn’t specify as to which particular allegations were false was also interesting. I will note that while Charlie Angus tried to insinuate that Atwal was some kind of big Liberal “insider” or donor, there are photos and documentary evidence of his being tied to all three parties, including the NDP, which makes Angus’ attacks sloppy, but Angus has a history of exaggeration for the sake of dramatic effect. And while yes, this is a blunder by the government, I’m still not sure if any of the means of attack are being done in the most effective manner, particularly when they come with the disingenuous talking points thrown along with them.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Shannon Stubbs for a maroon dress with a black jacket, and to Terry Beech for a navy suit with a crisp white shirt, black tie, and pale pink pocket square. Style citations go out to Ralph Goodale for a black jacket with grey slacks, a blue striped shirt and navy striped tie, and to Mélanie Joly for an oddly cut brown-grey three-button sport coat over a blue collared shirt.

4 thoughts on “QP: It’s true if they say it is

  1. “Pretty sure that Atwal is not a ‘convicted political assassin.'”

    So how would one describe him? As a “convicted attempted political assassin,” perhaps?

    • Saying he’s a convicted assassin implies that he succeeded. He didn’t, and his conviction was for attempted murder.

      • I’m shocked to discover that MPs exaggerate in Question Period! But I think I can say with confidence that pedantic distinctions between ‘attempted assassination’ and ‘assassination’ are unlikely to catch on in the House.

      • Nope.

        According to the Concise Oxford, an assassin is “one who undertakes to kill treacherously”. No success required.

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