Liberal MP Scott Brison has recently changed critic portfolios from international trade to finance. I spoke to him after Question Period yesterday, on a day where he was still suffering a little from a red-eye flight after a speaking engagement in Vancouver.
Q: How was the rest of the summer? I know you’ve been to Colombia and China since we last spoke.
A: We had a very productive trip to Colombia. We met with the new government – President Santos, his Vice-President Garzón, the new trade and foreign ministers to continue the dialogue on both economic and human rights engagement. We’ll continue to build that relationship on a personal and a bilateral basis on behalf of the people of Colombia and the people of Canada. I was at the inauguration of President Santos as well, and was very impressed with his focus on economic and social reform in that country, and also particularly with Vice-President Garzón, who is a labour and human rights leader.
I was also in China with Michael Ignatieff in July, and then in China more recently for the World Economic Forum “Summer Davos” conference in Tianjing, and I was also in Beijing, Shanghai and Nanjing for the Canada-China Parliamentary Association – I’m doing both. So it was a very busy summer. I did a lot of travelling within the country and spent some time on the bus with Michael Ignatieff, and it was a very productive and invigorating summer.
Q: You’ve now changed portfolios – what was the thing you took away from being trade critic?
A: I enjoyed being trade critic. I enjoy economic portfolios particularly. I’ve done finance before, and I enjoy fiscal, economic and trade areas. So I enjoyed trade very much, and I’m enjoying finance very much.
Q: I guess your big challenge for finance critic is how to sell the Liberals’ economic platform?
A: We have to first demonstrate that the Conservatives have a bad fiscal record – they inherited the biggest surplus in the history of Canada, and they turned it into the biggest deficit in the history of Canada. They put the country in a deficit even before the economic downturn. They’re the biggest spending, biggest deficit government in the history of Canada, and they have no economic vision, plan or ideas for the future. So we have to not only attack their fiscal record, but also present our ideas for the future, and contrast them for their lack of ideas.