The Commons: Of taxes, toplessness and Justin Trudeau -

The Commons: Of taxes, toplessness and Justin Trudeau

The Second Trudeau Era begins


On the matter of RBC, Thomas Mulcair leaned forward and loudly conveyed his indignation. The Prime Minister stood and accused the New Democrats of hypocrisy, reporting that NDP MPs had previously advocated for temporary foreign worker permits. Mr. Mulcair returned to his feet and sketched a thorough denunciation of the government’s attitude toward the working class. And Mr. Harper stood and ventured that it was the NDP who needed to explain.

Not that much of anyone was here to see any of this.

In the moments before Question Period, the man on the front page of today’s newspapers sat in his new spot along the front row at the far end of the room. Wearing a high white collar, his wavy hair parted to the side, Justin Trudeau resembled somewhat the fellow who played John A. Macdonald in that movie. The press gallery was nearly full to capacity, as was the front row of the Prime Minister’s gallery. On the floor, Joyce Murray stopped by to give Mr. Trudeau a hug. Tony Clement and Randy Hoback and Pat Martin and Nathan Cullen shook his hand. On his way to his new seat, Bob Rae stopped in front of Mr. Trudeau and presented him with a small wooden box, within which was a pen that once belonged to Wilfrid Laurier. Liberal MP Rodger Cuzner stood and, as is his habit on special occasions, read aloud an original poem.

And then everyone waited for the sixth, seventh and eighth questions of the afternoon.

When the Speaker finally called on the member for Papineau, Mr. Trudeau stood straight and tall and his caucus gave him a good cheer. His question was straightforward and his delivery unaffected, but his necktie was tied an inch or so short.

“Mr. Speaker, in terms of international trade, this government lacks judgment, particularly in regard to the new $350-million tax on the middle class,” he said, en francais.

There was a problem with the House translation and the Speaker had to interrupt. Service was quickly restored and the floor returned to Mr. Trudeau.

“Does the government not understand that to increase the price of hundreds of commodities represents a heavy burden for Canadians who suffer?” he asked.

Over then to the Prime Minister.

“Mr. Speaker,” he said, “I wish to begin by congratulating the new leader of the Liberal Party on his election.”

In lieu of a present, Mr. Harper had already made a donation to the nation’s television networks in Mr. Trudeau’s name.

“The government has reduced tariffs for Canadians by over half a billion dollars per year, which is one of our reduction in taxes for Canadians,” Mr. Harper now explained. “Of course, the Liberal Party voted against all these reduction measures for Canadian families.”

Mr. Trudeau tried again, a bit more demonstrative with his hand gestures this time. “Mr. Speaker, because of these new tariffs on imports, middle class Canadians will pay more to buy tricycles, school supplies and clothes for children,” he reported. “How can the government justify this insane new tax to the millions of Canadians who have a hard time making ends meet?”

Mr. Harper now tried to turn this all around. “Mr. Speaker, the government has greatly reduced tariffs for Canadians. In addition, we do not think it is effective or just for firms in emerging countries like China to earn special cuts from Canadian taxpayers.”

For his third intervention, the new Liberal leader appealed to the authority of the dictionary.

“Mr. Speaker, according to Collins English Dictionary, a tariff is a ‘tax levied by a government on imports.’ ”

As rhetoric, this was lazy. And for a man whose substantiveness is subject to question, it seemed unwise.

“So the Prime Minister can couch this in any terms he likes,” Mr. Trudeau continued, “but the fact is when middle-class Canadians go to a store to buy a tricycle, school supplies or a little red wagon for their kids, they will pay more because of a tax in this government’s budget.”

Blessed with the advantage of facts, Mr. Trudeau ventured a confident question. “Now that the PM knows what is in his budget, will he show good judgment, admit it is a tax and repeal this tax on middle-class Canadians?”

He jabbed his finger and the Liberals stood to applaud.

“What the Liberal Party seems to stand for is that somehow we should give special tax breaks to emerging economies like China,” Mr. Harper offered by way of response. “We think that is inappropriate. That is why we will make sure there is fair taxation for all companies and lower taxes for Canadians.”

For at least this first day, it seemed that of these two it was Mr. Harper who had talked himself into a spot of trouble.

In the foyer afterwards, a crowd awaited—more reporters than there presently are Liberal MPs crowded around the middle microphone. Shortly after 3pm, Mr. Trudeau strode out of the opposition lobby, past the portrait of Mackenzie King and toward the whir of a dozen cameras. The first question concerned those attack ads.

“I made a commitment last night to spend—to start to spend, to end every day focused on the concerns of Canadians, particularly middle class Canadians,” Mr. Trudeau said. “That’s what I did in the House. That’s what I will continue to do, talking about the issues that Canadians are sharing with me. If Mr. Harper and his Conservatives want to change the channel like that, want to talk about anything other than their record, it’s no surprise, but I’m going to keep talking about what matters to Canadians.”

Eventually someone summoned the courage to ask the question that hung over all of this: Why had he taken his shirt off in that video?

“The What a Girl Wants Charity is a charity that features … firefighters from a calendar here in Ottawa to raise money for the Canadian Liver Foundation particularly and for women’s issues. And I hope that all the attention drawn to that today and my willingness to have a little fun with it will actually lead them to receive more donations today. I hope people are donating to the Canadian Liver Foundation and I was glad to offer them my shirt.”

If there was history in this day it was surely in that a leader of the Liberal party had to account for this much.


The Commons: Of taxes, toplessness and Justin Trudeau

  1. Justin says: “I made a commitment last night to spend—to start to spend, to end every
    day focused on the concerns of Canadians, particularly middle class
    Canadians,” Mr. Trudeau said.

    Being worried about a $3 tariff on ‘little red wagons’ is quite the worry. What was Justin’s worry when he charged Canadian schools $20,000 a pop to deliver a speech while he was drawing an MP wage? Was he worried then what such fee would mean for the average middle class families who already pay high taxes to school boards?

    • $350 million in tariffs. Not $3.

      • Surely you are not attempting to imply a 350 million tariff per wagon. Clearly the post you responded to, in my opinion, was attempting to state three bucks per wagon.

      • It’s not a good idea to interrupt her in mid flow. Now she’ll demand you account for the change…i hope you can do that?

      • Please read my post. $3 per ‘little red wagon’ .

        May 9, 2008 – Children of Hope. $10,000 charged by Justin.

        • If you want to be literal, I did read your post. You said ‘$3 tariff on little red wagons’. Not ‘wagon’.

          • Give it a rest while you are losing. It is unbecoming.

          • The only ones losing are dyed in the wool conservatives. Those who believe in free trade and low tariffs.

      • $3 per red wagon. Sorry, ‘little red wagon’.

        • Just for reference the GST cut saved us $0.27 on the same little red wagon.

          Yet that was a triumph, and paying 10x that amount is no big deal.


          • You really lack in understanding. Tariffs are not applied to all red wagons. Only certain imported red wagons have a tariff applied to them.

            GST is applied to all goods and services (excluding some items such as food etc). Therefor, the 2% drop in GST applies to ALL goods (except exclusions as mentioned).

      • How much is the tariff on a little red wagon. Think my friend think before you type.

        • Red wagons. And bikes. And trikes. And school supplies and baby clothes. And rugs. And coffee makers. And another 1290 product classes from 72 countries.

          I am thinking, Merv – the question is, are you? I thought you were a conservative. Free trade and such. We used to think these were good things. What happened to you?

          • There are no free trade agreements with the countries who have tariffs applied to their goods coming into Canada, otherwise the rate of tariff would be regulated by the free trade agreements.

          • Makes sense. We only apply tariffs to goods from countries we don’t have free trade agreements, except for the countries we have free trade agreements with.

            Thanks for the informative comment.

    • Trudeau was a motivational speaker before becoming an MP. After getting elected (and before announcing his leadership bid,) he took on about 4 speaking engagements a year. He cleared these with the ethics commissioner beforehand. So he certainly did nothing wrong.

      He was hired by various organizations to draw in the crowds and raise funds. They turned a profit by hiring Trudeau to speak at their fundraisers.

      It’s utterly hypocritical for a conservative to claim that the amount of money a person can make should be limited if they are a politician. Many MPs run businesses and have other sources of income.



        As disclosed by Trudeau’s leadership campaign.


        January 14, 2006 – University of British Columbia. $5,000

        January 19, 2006 – University of Guelph. $7,500

        January 24, 2006 – Wilson Young & Associates Inc.. $7,500

        February 17, 2006 – Mastercard Canada. $10,000

        March 7, 2006 – Toronto District School Board. $7,500

        April 6, 2006 – Toronto School Administrators Association. $7,500

        April 20, 2006 – Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association. $7,500

        May 3, 2006 – Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario. $10,000

        May 10, 2006 – Professional Administrators of Volunteer Resoucres. $7,500

        May 10, 2006 – Toronto District School Board. $5,000

        May 12, 2006 – Toronto School Administrators Association. $7,500

        May 13, 2006 – The Learning Partnership. $10,000

        June 1, 2006 – Burlington Economic Development Corporation. $10,000

        June 7, 2006 – Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies c, 20o Meeting Management Services. $7,500

        August 23, 2006 – Incentive Works. $7,500

        September 30, 2006 – Friends of MacGregor Point Park. $5,000

        September 30, 2006 – Waterloo Region Ditrict School Board. $7,500

        October 14, 2006 – Nova Scotia Nature Trust. $7,500

        October 16, 2006 – Ministry of Education. $3,000

        October 20, 2006 – Canadian Parks & Recreation Association. $10,000

        October 21, 2006 – The Victoria Foundation. $7,500

        October 23, 2006 – Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers. $10,000

        October 24, 2006 – Municipality of Chatham-Kent. $10,000

        October 26, 2006 – Ministry of Children & Youth Services. $8,000

        October 26, 2006 – Ridley College. $7,500

        November 2, 2006 – Making Connections. $10,000

        November 3, 2006 – Wakamow Valley Authority. $7,500

        November 7, 2006 – Ontario School Counsellors’ Association. $7,500

        November 7, 2006 – Ontario Hospital Association. $10,000

        November 9, 2006 – Federation of Portuguese Canadians Business & Professionals. $7,500

        November 10, 2006 – Georgian College. $10,000

        November 15, 2006 – Association of Fundraising Professionals. $10,000

        November 17, 2006 – Alberta Teachers’ Association. $7,500

        November 21, 2006 – Canadian Water Network. $9,000

        November 22, 2006 – Carleton University. $10,000

        December 6, 2006 – Ministry of Community & Social Services. $7,500


        January 24, 2007 – University of Manitoba – Student’s Union. $10,000

        February 9, 2007 – Ottawa Carlton District School Board. $10,000

        February 11, 2007 – Meridican Incentive Consultants. $10,000

        February 15, 2007 – London Convention Centre. $10,000

        February 16, 2007 – Reading for the Love of it. $7,500

        February 16, 2007 – Association Franco-Ontarienne des Conseils Scolaires Catholiques. $7,500

        February 16, 2007 – Toronto Board of Trade. $10,000

        February 17, 2007 – Eventful Times. $10,000

        February 27, 2007 – George Brown College. $10,000

        March 5, 2007 – University of Waterloo. $10,000

        March 15, 2007 – Alberta Teachers’ Association. $10,000

        April 3, 2007 – Rapport Youth & Family Services. $10,000

        May 4, 2007 – New Brunswick Teachers’ Association. $10,000

        May 5, 2007 – South Huron District Secondary School Council. $10,000

        May 8, 2007 – Community Safety & Crime Prevention Council of Waterloo. $10,000

        May 13, 2007 – Blessed Events. $10,000

        May 14, 2007 – Canadian Association of Healthcare Philanthropy. $10,000

        May 16, 2007 – Leadership Windsor, 20Essex. $10,000

        May 17 & 18, 2007 – Niagara Catholic District School Board. $15,000

        June 4, 2007 – Educational Computing Network of Ontario. $10,000

        June 5, 2007 – London Interfaith Counselling Centre. $10,000

        June 7, 2007 – Nova Scotia Co-operative Council. $10,000

        June 10, 2007 – Rivers West c, 20o Ugly Duckling Productions. $10,000

        June 18, 2007 – Baker Schneider Rugierro LLP. $11,000

        June 25, 2007 – American Water Works Association. $10,000

        June 25, 2007 – Municipal Finance Officers’ Association. $10,000

        July 3, 2007 – Canadian School Boards Association c, 20o Alberta School Boards Association . $10,000

        August 21, 2007 – First Nations Water Conference – Smith’s Landing First Nation . $6,000

        September 7, 2007 – Human Concern International. $10,000

        September 10, 2007 – Canadian Society of Safety Engineering. $10,000

        September 16, 2007 – Treasury Management Association of Canada. $10,000

        September 24, 2007 – Sudbury & District Health Unit. $10,000

        September 27, 2007 – York University. $10,000

        October 4, 2007 – Sony Computer Entertainment Canada. $10,000

        October 16, 2007 – Ontario Community Support Association. $10,000

        October 20, 2007 – Rotary Club of Etobicoke. $10,000

        October 24, 2007 – Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation. $10,000

        October 25, 2007 – Toronto Law Office Management Association. $10,000

        October 27, 2007 – Society of Management Accountants of Ontario. $15,000

        November 6, 2007 – City of Mississauga. $10,000

        November 8, 2007 – Certified General Accountants Association of Ontario. $10,000

        November 16, 2007 – Latornell. $10,000

        November 18, 2007 – Canadian Tamil Youth Development Centre. $10,000

        November 18, 2007 – National Council of Jewish Women of Canada. $10,000

        November 22, 2007 – Toronto Eaton Centre. $10,000

        November 28, 2007 – Peel District School Board. $10,000


        January 25, 2008 – Ontario Camping Association. $10,000

        February 4, 2008 – Canadian Association of Food Service Professionals. $10,000

        February 5, 2008 – Peterborough Victoria Northhumberland Clarington Catholic School Board. $10,000

        February 9, 2008 – Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association. $10,000

        February 11, 2008 – Edmonton Public School Board. $10,000

        March 28, 2008 – Charity of Hope. $10,000

        March 31, 2008 – Centre for Education & Training. $15,000

        April 8, 2008 – Avant Strategic Communications. $15,000

        April 9, 2008 – Youth Environmental Network of York Region. $10,000

        April 10, 2008 – Canadian Real Estate Association. $15,000

        April 15, 2008 – Planners Plus Inc.. $15,000

        April 22, 2008 – Packaging Association of Canada. $15,000

        April 22, 2008 – First Canadian Place c, 20o Brookfield Properties Corp.. $15,000

        April 23, 2008 – The Regional Municipality of Halton. $10,000

        April 23, 2008 – University of Ottawa. $5,000

        May 6, 2008 – Canadian Mental Health Association – Grey Bruce Branch. $15,000

        May 9, 2008 – Children of Hope. $10,000

        May 21, 2008 – Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School. $10,000

        May 22, 2008 – CIBC Wood Gundy c, 20o The Wynford Group. $20,000

        June 3, 2008 – National Healthcare Leadership Conference. $10,000

        June 5, 2008 – Humber College. $10,000

        June 12, 2008 – Uniter Way of Northhumberland. $12,500

        June 13, 2008 – Community Living Ontario. $10,000

        June 15, 2008 – Canadian Investors Relations Institute. $15,000

        September 8, 2008 – SYSCO Canada. $15,000

        October 20, 2008 – London Health Sciences Centre. $10,000

        November 5, 2008 – Marketing Magazine – Rogers Media. $20,000


        January 31, 2009 – Ontario Library Association. $10,000

        November 2, 2009 – The Learning Partnership. $10,000

        November 6, 2009 – Waterloo Catholic District School Board. $15,000


        March 5, 2010 – Ontario Public Service Employees’ Union. $20,000

        April 23, 2010 – Charity of Hope. $15,000

        May 7, 2010 – Algonquin & Lakeshore Catholic District School Board. $15,000

        September 23, 2010 – REED Construction Data. $20,000

        December 6, 2010 – Certified Management Accountants of Ontario . $20,000


        January 25, 2011 – Rain 43 (Canada’s National Advertising Week), Toronto, ON. $20,000

        June 9, 2011 – Kincardine District Secondary School, Kincardine, ON. $10,000

        June 15, 2011 – Credit Institute of Canada, Ottawa, ON. $20,000


        April 25, 2012 – Queen’s University, Kingston, ON. $12,000

        April 30, 2012 – Literacy for Life, Saskatoon, SK. $20,000

        June 26, 2012 – Canadian Mental Health Association – Halton Region, Burlington, ON. $20,000

        June 27, 2012 – Grace Foundation, Saint John, NB. $20,000

        • Thank you Billy Bob

          • Your welcome, I always find it somewhat troubling just how many Liberal supporters can’t handle reality or the truth.

          • What surprises me even more is the fact that journalist Aaron Wherry has not done more intensive research or postings on the subject of speeches given by Justin and fees received. If it had been Harper, it would have been posted on Wherry’s site for weeks, if not years.

          • Are you kidding. Wherry is a left leaning socialist who loves Liberals.

          • If he was a left-leaning socialist wouldn’t he be an NDP lover? Forget I asked. Suffice it to say, you have no idea of what you’re talking about.

          • Why would a socialist love the Liberals?

          • I think you should go with commie -it makes no sense, but it sounds much more dramatic. Everyone’s a socialist these days.

          • You are letting your rabid partisanship blind you to the simple facts. Trudeau cleared his occasional speaking engagements with the ethics commissioner beforehand. Therefore he broke no rules and did no wrong. You are grasping at straws in a desperate attempt to trash Trudeau because of the threat he poses to the Harper Conservative party. Mr. Wherry holds no such bias.

          • Well, who knows. Wherry could be a saint.

          • I now know which nonprofits never to donate to. If they can spend money on speakers fees in this range they don’t need my money!

          • “I now know which nonprofits never to donate to. If they can spend money on speakers fees in this range they don’t need my money!”

            They hire famous speakers to bring in the crowds and *raise* money at fundraising events.

          • LOL. Clearly you’re the one who can’t handle reality. (Either that, or your reading comprehension skills are deplorable.)

            I stated Trudeau held about 4 speaking engagements a year from becoming an MP until running for Liberal leader. Justin became an MP on Oct 14, 2008. He declared he was running for leadership on Oct 2, 2012.

            So let’s count the speaking engagements during this time (you can count, can’t you?) 2008: 2; 2009: 3; 2010: 5; 2011: 3; 2012: 4.

        • Popular speaker, non?

      • Yes and those were mostly taxpayer funded organizations. However, lets not acknowledge that fact right Ron….

        • So Gretzky is what when he speaks at fund raising events for charities? Recently he came to Alberta and it wasn’t out of the goodness of his heart I’ll warrant. Then there is Ezra who speaks at charity events etc. Charities receive tax relief on such events so guess who pays?

          What is it with Cons, they can’t see how their arguments apply just as equally to everyone, but they seem to have such a fear of Trudeau maybe there is something to be scared about?
          Oh and hol I love it when a Reform a Con appeals to facts… it’s so ummm unusual.

          • Pamela Wallin and Mike “The Duff” Duffy do paid speaking engagements and probably charge taxpayers for travel expenses. Of course, when Conservatives do it, it’s a different story…

          • IOKIACDI
            A classic moral by which all Cons live by. If a Con does it then “there’s nothing to see, move along.”
            Do you remember when Conservatives actually were law abiding, decent people? Ah those were the days.. now they are lying, thieving, whining, draft dodging leeches. Why do they call themselves Conservatives again?

        • Whether taxpayer funded or not, Trudeau was hired to bring in the crowds and raise money. Just like any other speaker who would receive a similar payment. It’s called free market capitalism. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the concept…

        • It would seem that those who hired him for a fee felt the ROI would be
          worthwhile. They had the choice of who to hire, or who to ask for
          free. Nobody forced anything on them.

  2. Any politician who continues to call China an “emerging economy” is still living in the last century.

  3. Wow. A conservative government that favors tariffs to “level the playing field”.

    • Sounds a lot like supply management on a global level, doesn’t it?

  4. So essentially, Trudeau’s just going to stick the phrase “middle class” into as many sentences as possible until 2015 and hope that people vote for him. Good luck with that Junior.

    • Judging by where the economy is going that may be all he has to do short of not suffering a complete media meltdown.

      • Yes, the economy is tanking. Keep telling yourself that.