University of Toronto
3 min

Scott Brison on the end of the fall sitting

Last but not least for 2010 was my end-of-session Q&A with Liberal MP Scott Brison. Part of the interview happened just before the House rose, some of it after, and I’ve put it all together here.

Q: Your high point and your low point for the fall sitting?
A: In terms of the fall sitting, I think that the Liberal party has strengthened its economic messaging this fall, and we’re offering Canadians a distinct choice between whether they want their government to spend their money on G20 photo ops, and fake lakes, or prisons and planes, or whether they want their tax dollars invested in family care, learning, pensions, and the jobs of tomorrow. I think that’s a very stark message, and it’s one that I think we need to continue to repeat. I gave a speech in Toronto at the Empire Club on the same day that Ralph Goodale spoke to the Canadian Club here in Ottawa and Marc Garneau spoke in Montreal. That triumvirate day was quite effective in getting out a coherent and strong economic message that gives Canadians a real choice and real hope. Another high would be the Victorian Order of Nurses' annual meeting in Ottawa this fall, where Michael Ignatieff spoke, and I spoke as well, and we did a town hall, and that meant a lot. I’ve got a sister who’s a VON nurse, and a mother who’s living with Alzheimer’s, and the launch of the Liberal family-care plan this fall for me, personally, is very important. For our party, I think it’s really important because it’s speaking to the real priorities of Canadian families who are struggling, and it’s something that makes me very happy that my party is aligned closely with the values and the interests of Canadian families, and that family-care plan will be really good for Canada when we implement it as a government.

Q: A low for the fall?
A: I thought the Kelly Block’s office’s leak of the finance committee report affirmed some of the most negative stereotypes of this parliament, and of politicians. That was bad. This government’s positioning on law-and-order issues continues to be divisive and dishonest, and the government’s intention of spending $13 billion on US-style megaprisons is really discouraging, to see a Canadian government doing this. If putting more people in prison led to safer communities, American cities would be the safest communities in the world because no one incarcerates more people on a per capita basis than the Americans. We have a government more interested in pursuing an agenda based on ideology over evidence, and that’s discouraging. It’s not just a partisan observation – it’s discouraging.

Q: And your high and low for the year?
A: The 12-month period, I’d say I was happy to see the passage of the Colombia Free Trade Agreement. It’s tough sometimes in this work to make a real difference, and I think in that one we made a very real important and positive difference for both Colombia and Canada. Michael Ignatieff's incredibly successful summer tour and his Open Mike town hall sessions were a high point of my nearly 14 years in public life. The Liberal leader is showing Canadians that even in this hyper-partisan, cynical environment, there is hope for a better, more open, honest, citizen-based kind of politics.

Q: And a low?
A: Same as for the fall.

Q: Your best accomplishment for the fall?
A: We’re getting our economic message out. We’re putting out substantial ideas and policies, and we’re creating a real narrative and providing a real choice to Canadians for the next election, and I feel good about that.

Q: What are your plans for the holidays?
A: We’ll be spending Christmas Eve with Maxime’s family outside of Drummondville in the country, and then flying from Montreal to Halifax on Christmas morning to spend Christmas day with my family, and I think we’re heading on holiday for a few days right after that. In early January I’m going to Colombia for a couple of days for work, and then travelling the country from British Columbia to Newfoundland in January, and then coming back here for caucus, and immediately after that to the World Economic Forum in Davos for a few days, from the 26th to the 30th – so it’s going to be a very busy January. I’m looking forward to getting some time in my riding for the next little bit as well. It’ll be so nice to get back.

The other thing is I celebrated my seventh anniversary of having joined the Liberal Party of Canada on December 11th, 2003. That’s the second-best decision I’ve ever made in my life – the first being marrying Maxime St Pierre, which incidentally never would have happened if I hadn’t joined the Liberals because I probably wouldn’t have met him. I’m very proud of my party, its values, our caucus, my leader and what we have to offer Canadians, so there’s no seven-year itch. The only seven-year itch I have is to form a Liberal government so we can provide Canadians with a thoughtful, forward-thinking, innovative, socially progressive government.

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