Nathan Cullen and Joe Oliver warm up

The exchange you can’t miss from this afternoon’s Question Period


This could be fun to watch. Nathan Cullen is the NDP’s new finance critic. Joe Oliver is the new minister of finance. Today, they faced off over income splitting. Cullen wants very much to drive a wedge through the Tory caucus, and he hoped to trip up Oliver’s talking points. The last #2, Jim Flaherty, questioned the effectiveness of spouses splitting their income at tax time. Does Oliver feel the same, Cullen wondered?

The exchanges that followed revealed that, for the time being, Cullen and Oliver can at least smile as they disagree fundamentally about almost everything. Cullen goaded Oliver, Oliver laughed, threw his hand in the air, and then snapped back with a joke. He mentioned Cullen’s “pink slip,” which is a reference to the $40,000 pay cut the former NDP House leader took to land his new gig as finance critic.

As the Conservative side roared, and Treasury Board President Tony Clement taunted Cullen, watch as the NDP critic leans in mockingly to listen to whatever Oliver has to say next. Everyone basks in the attention.

At least they’re smiling, right?

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