Five highlights from this afternoon’s post-Question Period scrums:
1. Treasury Board President Tony Clement on cooperating with the Parliamentary Budget Officer: We have cooperated with the Parliamentary Budget Officer and carloads of information has been conveyed to him based on his questions to the government so I think we have been virtuous in that regard.
2. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney on a court challenge of the government’s change to asylum claimant rules: It’s just part of an ongoing ideological campaign. Some of these are hard core pressure groups and they have an ideological commitment to this. And they’ll have their day in court, of course. This is a dog-bites-man story. But polling has indicated that 70 to 80 percent of Canadians support these sensible changes and these changes have helped to result in a massive reduction in the number of false asylum claims.
3. NDP Leader Tom Mulcair on household debt: The high debt levels remain a concern. It’s one of the deepest concerns everyone has about the Canadian economy. The cooling housing market we’re quite concerned is the canary in the coal mine for some rather worrying trends on the horizon. With the impending debt problems in the United States, we’re in lockstep with the Americans. It’ll have an effect on us, a negative effect on us.
4. NDP MP Peggy Nash on an American economic downturn hitting Canada: This government’s approach to try to deal with the economy has been to make further cuts in services and programs, to take money out of the economy at a time when our trade balance is already seriously weakened, we’re at a trade deficit. Consumers are tapped out. Business isn’t spending. It’s sitting on half a trillion dollars of so-called dead money according to Governor Carney. And so what we’ve been advocating is government needs to have a plan to get industry to start spending some of that money.
5. Liberal MP Scott Andrews on transparency in the Senate: With regard to [Senate] expenses, listen, we need to make sure that it’s open and accountable and we see the expenses. And we’ve been doing that in the House of Commons. We changed a few of our rules, so maybe the Senate needs to have a look at the way that they structure their expenses.