Question Period Live

Leona Aglukkaq had new talking points

The exchange you can't miss from this afternoon's QP

Chris Charlton spent a couple of questions on Pierre Poilievre’s Fair Elections Act, a widely detested move to change the country’s election rules. Charlton, an NDP MP from Hamilton, has spent weeks on the file. She’s a dogged critic of C-23. Funny she’s still staring down Poilievre, though. Charlton was recently named her party’s critic for energy and natural resources. That she’s still pursuing democratic reform demonstrates the NDP’s relentless focus on the bill.

Today, Charlton might have considered asking the government side about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report. The IPCC warned, in a dire report, that unchecked climate change threatens all of our various ways of life. John Geddes, Maclean’s Ottawa bureau chief, wondered if anyone would ask about the report this afternoon. His tweet was prescient.

A few minutes after Charlton relented on democratic reform, Liberal MPs Joyce Murray and John McKay rose and asked Leona Aglukkaq, the minister of environment, what the government might be doing to prevent global climate change. The answer, apparently, was lots of little things, all around the world. Aglukkaq’s talking points were notable if only because they were a departure from weeks—even months—of the same lines about Conservatives being world-leading climate change fighters, Liberals being laggards, and New Democrats being carbon taxers. The talking points weren’t all that impressive, and didn’t amount to any comprehensive plan to combat the warming planet. But even veering from trusted lines was refreshing.

The magic didn’t last. When NDP MP Megan Leslie later asked about Tory plans to apply emissions regulations to the oil and gas sector, Aglukkaq retreated to her comfortable arguments about ambitious Conservatives, dithering Liberals and taxing New Democrats. Progress comes in baby steps.