I had an interview with Scott Brison after Question Period today (which should be up in the next day or two), but we also touched base on a couple of other issues.
Q: How’s the fall sitting going, in terms of the work you’ve been doing?
A: I think the government is in a scandal-of-the-day mode, and the Harper approach to white-collar crime seems to be put them away – in the Senate. They’ll put them away for a very long time – in the Senate. The Harper government on ethical issues, these guys look like the patron saints of hypocrisy. This government is less than four years old and they have achieved a sense of arrogance and rot that typically takes governments much longer – so they’re fast learners. The snideness of the government – when I see my colleague Carolyn Bennett ask very serious questions about the H1N1 pandemic and the health risks around the vaccine, and to see them openly mocking her – and frankly the Conservatives openly mock women when they ask questions in the House of Commons, and there is a knee-jerk misogyny in the Conservative party that just won’t quit.
I think that we’re working hard on the issues. The Conservatives are negotiating a deal on Buy American – they’re working on something that will give them a photo op but will not do anything to protect Canadian jobs. We’re doing our work. We’re holding them to account and we’re going to continue to do that.
Q: You’ve been especially busy with the Buy America/Buy American provisions – and I know they’re different. Also on the Colombia bill you’ve been really busy with that. How’s that progressing?
A: It’s at committee now. We’re hearing from witnesses. We’re asking important questions. We’re the party of the Charter of Rights – we’re strong on rights, and we believe in economic engagement and trade. Bringing them together, we need to be sure that trade agreements help improve living standards, labour standards, and environmental standards ultimately. Canadian companies overall have a very good reputation in the world in terms of corporate social responsibility, so Canadian companies playing a greater role, and investing more in developing economies I think is good for those people in those countries, both in terms of labour and environmental progress.