QP: Lebouthillier has had enough of your accusations

With Justin Trudeau on his way back from China, and Andrew Scheer again absent, it was left up to Lisa Raitt to once again carry the day. Raitt led off, concerned about tax changes affecting small businesses, and demanded specifics. Dominic LeBlanc reminded her that they were cutting small business taxes, and details on income sprinkling would come before January 1st. Raitt then mocked the government for spending on advertising, to which Scott Brison got up to remind her that when she was in government, they spent a lot more on advertising, while the current government changed the rules to ensure that it wouldn’t be partisan. Raitt raised the concerns of small business owners in New Brunswick communities she visited, and LeBlanc, himself from the province, noted that the member of that riding had already made those concerns known and the government was listening. Alain Rayes was up next to offer the concern trolling on small business taxes in French, and LeBlanc assured him that they listened to concerns before they are implemented. Rayes tried again, and LeBlanc assured him the details would be known shortly. Guy Caron was up next for the NDP, and railed about the American decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel, and wanted louder condemnation from the Canadian government. Mélanie Joly assured him that they were allies of Israel and that the status of Jerusalem could only be determined in larger negotiations. Hélène Laverdière tried again in English, and got the same answer from Joly in English. Caron was back up, and referred to the Auditor General’s report on the CRA and wondered when they would be accountable to Canadians. Diane Lebouthillier listed off the measures that were being undertaken to correct the situation, and Caron tried again in English, and Lebouthillier repeated her response.

Round two, and Maxime Bernier, and Kelly Block got up to give some tired condemnation of the finance minister (Lightbound: He has delivered for Canadians), and Pierre Poilievre demanded the particulars on the coming tax changes (Lightbound: They will be released shortly). Irene Mathyssen was concerned about CRA “identifying” evaded funds versus collecting them (Lebouthillier: We have effective mechanisms and we have recovered almost $1 billion with more to come), and Pierre-Luc Dusseault picked up the Conservative silly buggers game around Stephen Bronfman questions (Lebouthillier: I can’t talk about individual files). Kevin Waugh, Sylvie Boucher, Jamie Schmale and Michael Cooper returned to the tired demands that Bill Morneau resign (Lightbound: Ethics Commissioner!) Cheryl Hardcastle worried about the CRA memo on diabetics getting tax credits (Lebouthillier: The eligibility criteria have not changed, and we will listen to concerns through the reconstituted disability committee), and Alexandre Boulerice demanded cracking down on offshore tax havens (Lebouthillier: We are investigating and cracking down).

Round three saw questions on Kent Hehr’s blunt response to a constituent (Hehr: I can be blunt and need to do better), steelhead and sockeye salmon (LeBlanc: We are meeting with the government of BC), rehabilitating ISIS fighters (Goodale: Your government cut from security services), accusations that the government is abandoning NAFTA, forestry duties, not taxing Internet giants, Navy supply ships (Rioux: We are acquiring two permanent vessels to provide naval capabilities), and fundraising allegations.

Overall, it remained a fairly lacklustre day, with the slight exception of Diane Lebouthillier taking Luc Berthold to task for his sanctimonious pronouncement that she didn’t care about Canadians suffering from diabetes, never mind that her husband died of complications from it. She has mentioned this fact on numerous occasions, and you would think that someone like Berthold would know better, but apparently not. I will also note that Lebouthillier’s answer around how much CRA has “identified” in evaded taxes changed slightly to say that so far about $1 billion has been recovered with more on the way, so that was something. This all having been said, the repetitive nature of the questions remains ineffective, and is frankly tiresome. And yet, that’s what we keep getting, day in and day out, whether it’s with increasingly disingenuously framed questions or outright mendacious allegations being posed, but the topic remain the same, not moving, and it makes it difficult to cover – or care about – because of the stasis and repetition. I get that they’re trying to create a narrative and that they feel that they need to hammer at it for months, but seriously, I’m not sure that this is the way to do it. You’re making anyone who is watching tune out.

Sartorially speaking, snaps go out to Lisa Raitt for a collarless navy suit with a black top, and to Marc Garneau for a black suit with a light pink shirt and a dark pink tie. Style citations go out to Michel Picard for a medium brown jacket with taupe slacks, a grey striped shirt with a white collar and a burgundy paisley tie, and to Sylvie Boucher for a short-sleeved peach blouse with a pussy bow, a green and brown smock, and black slacks.

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