QP: Inventing a conflict from whole cloth

With the Easter long weekend upon us, it was Friday-on-a-Thursday in the House of Commons, and Question Period was no exception — only slightly better attended than a regular Thursday. Candice Bergen led off with a disingenuous framing of the Raj Grewal non-story, and Bardish Chagger noted that everything was cleared with the Ethics Commissioner, and that Grewal’s guest at the event registered through the Canada-India Business Council. Bergen demanded to know who in the PMO authorised the invitation, and Chagger reiterated her response. Alain Rayes was up next, and demanded the prime minister to sign off on a human trafficking bill from the previous parliament, to which Marco Mendicino noted that there was a newer, better bill on the Order Paper (but didn’t mention that it has sat there for months). On a second go-around, Mendicino retorted with a reminder that the previous government cut police and national security agencies. Ruth Ellen Brosseau led off for the NDP, and raised the fact that Stephen Bronfman and a government board appointee were at a Liberal fundraiser last night, to which Andy Fillmore reminded him that they have made fundraisers more transparent. Charlie Angus carried on with the same topic in a more churlish tone, got the same answer, and on a second go-around, François-Philippe Champagne praised the appointment to their Invest Canada agency. Brosseau got back up to list allegations of harassment at Air Canada, to which Roger Cuzner reminded them that Bill C-65 will cover all federally regulated industries.

Round two, and Michelle Rempel, Pierre Paul-Hus and Mark Strahl returned to demands for Daniel Jean to appear at committee – Strahl going so far as to insist that now the media were being “muzzled” as part of this (Goodale: We’ve given your an invitation to have a briefing and we’re waiting for him to respond). Daniel Blaikie and Karine Trudel raised the revelation of IBM warned that Phoenix wasn’t ready to go live (Qualtrough: The Conservatives botched the contract and fired the pay advisors). Jacques Gourde, Peter Kent, and Stephanie Kusie returned to the Grewal non-story (Chagger: They took the advice of the Ethics Commissioner). Brigitte Sansoucy demanded the infrastructure plan (Miller: We have approved over $4 billion and await more submissions from partners), and Jenny Kwan asked about caregiver consultations (Hussen: We have brought down processing times, and we’re conducting an assessment to make them better).

Round three saw questions on the carbon tax plans (Wilkinson: Any important plan includes the pricing of carbon but provinces are best placed to design their own systems), animal cruelty legislation (Mendicino: We are reviewing those provisions and look forward to working with you), Quebec charging tax on media platforms, the Arctic surf clam fishery (Beech: The previous process didn’t include Indigenous communities), pulse crops (MacAulay: Look at our investments in agriculture), Canadian wines in NAFTA talks (Leslie: We are standing up for our wine industry), a particular immigration case (Hussen: See me after QP), CBC and Radio-Canada no longer playing the nation anthem at 5 AM (Virani: We’ve reinvested in public broadcasting and we updated the anthem), human trafficking (Mendicino: We are working to combat it), a call for an inquiry into Aggregate IQ (Fillmore: We are taking this seriously), and promised changes to Nutrition North (Jones: We have expanded it, increased the budget, and are continuing to engage with those in those regions).

Overall, it was yet another day where the competition seemed to be just how disingenuous the questions could be, and how how much pabulum could be shovelled in return. The accusations flying around the Grewal invitation non-story (seriously, the Ethics Commissioner has already cleared everything) were so ridiculous that it’s probably best that Peter Kent and others have the immunity from defamation that parliamentary privilege allows because they were out of line. Meanwhile the bullshit questions around the reductions coming from a carbon price continue to circulate because neither the minister, nor her parliamentary secretary as the case may be, will call them out as such. They know that a carbon price is a market mechanism, and not an SO2 scrubber, and yet they treat them the same because they can get away with it. And the government will just respond with pabulum. How can we run a democracy like this? Honestly…

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Jenny Kwan for a medium grey dress with a black jacket, and to John Barlow for a navy suit with a light blue shirt and black tie. Style citations go out to Omar Alghabra for a powder blue jacket with a white shirt with a check pattern and a dark blue tie, and to Brigitte Sansoucy for a red-and-blue-hued print top under a dark grey jacket.

One thought on “QP: Inventing a conflict from whole cloth

  1. Mark Strahl is one of the most ineffective MP’s in Canada and Peter Kent is still the same person that Justin Trudeau referred to with a special word in the Commons

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