Maclean’s is your home for the daily political theatre that is Question Period. If you’ve never watched, check out our primer. Today, QP runs from 2:15 a.m. until just past 3. We livestream and liveblog all the action.
The must-see moment
With Justin Trudeau MIA from today’s question period—and Joyce Murray handling the business of using some of his newfound tough talk on the Tories in QP—we turn to what the NDP would do on the file of most note, Canada’s role in Iraq. Mulcair’s first two questions, interestingly, led off with a new claim about how an intellectual-property hang-up may be delaying Canada’s delivery of vaccines to West Africa to combat ebola, a claim we’ll likely hear more about tomorrow with more information. In the interim, Mulcair’s continued doggedness gave way to a new NDP tack on Iraq, where MP Paul Dewar harped—perhaps strangely—on the government’s failure to prosecute ISIS members for their war crimes, the kind of thing that usually comes after a conflict has been won. To which Nicholson retorted that that’s why Canadian advisers were in Iraq at all, to “stop the killing.” But while the question may have had an odd premise, it may have forced Nicholson to misspeak—in a climate where no leader wants to be caught saying they have troops on the ground, the Minister of Defence said that “we are on the ground.” Perhaps, though, they are merely wearing shoes.
After some fairly existential days there, QP is getting back on track. Yesterday’s QP featured questions about CETA trips and forestry and mostly canned answers about the value of free trade and the scourge of tree pests. But Wednesday’s QP, as it likely will today, largely revolved around Canada’s role in Iraq. Thomas Mulcair maintained his attack-dog pose with tough, curt questions, while Justin Trudeau, following Mulcair, asked similar questions that felt too much like wan parroting. That may change yet; as Nick Taylor-Vaisey reports from the Canada 2020 conference, Trudeau delivered a stirring speech this morning that managed to use strong Mulcair-like language against the Iraq mission while simultaneously rebutting the NDP’s assertions of the Liberals’ early support. We’ll see if he’s able to build off that momentum into a fine performance in the House, where he is not particularly known for his star turns. Mulcair has well-earned his reputation as a tough prosecutor in the chamber, and Trudeau could use a few wins in that regard.