Since we didn't have a chance to chat at
the end of the abbreviated spring session, I caught up with Liberal MP Scott Brison
yesterday by phone.
Xtra: How were those three weeks back in the House?
Scott Brison: We have an important job to do with a
government that feels emboldened to move strongly to the right and an Official Opposition that feels emboldened to remain strongly on the left. There
is an important role for a sensible centrist party, which is the Liberal
Party of Canada.
Xtra: What have you been up to this summer?
SB: I’ve been doing a lot of constituency
work. We’ve been getting caught up with a lot of casework for constituents and
communities since the election. I’m doing quite a bit of work with policy
around finance issues – it’s part of my critic area. And I was in Colombia for
a few days for meetings with Colombian officials to help encourage more
Canada-Colombia trade and investment. I spent some time in Toronto recently,
meeting with economists. I’ve got meetings coming up in Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. It’s been a fairly busy summer.
Xtra: I heard that you tried to get the finance
committee to meet about the American debt situation, but it doesn’t seem to
SB: I thought it would be a good idea to
convene the finance committee and meet with the minister to discuss his plans in
the event of a failure to reach an agreement in Congress before the deadline.
Thankfully, we have an agreement that avoided the default on Aug 2,
but I have lingering concerns about how this deal may prove to be a politically
expedient deal that may not be economically and fiscally sustainable. I’m
somewhat concerned about that.
Xtra: The other parties weren’t receptive
to the idea of a summer hearing?
SB: Strangely enough, the NDP weren’t that
interested in holding the government accountable and ensuring that there would
be a plan in the event of an American default. I don’t understand the motivation, but
in any case, in fairness, I think the NDP was perhaps justifiably distracted by
Mr Layton’s announcement. I think cutting them some slack is appropriate.
Xtra: I heard people saying you weren’t at
SB: I wasn’t there this year because we had the wedding of two dear friends that same day, and as such, I
couldn’t be there. It was a long-term commitment of two of our dearest and closest
friends, and we were at that wedding. Otherwise, I would have been there. I’ve
been there pretty much every other year as a member of Parliament. I’m
anticipating being back next year, but it’s tough to be in two places at one