Question Period This Week: The Border, Trans Mountain, Trade

June 1, 2018 4:15pmET


Here’s how some of this week’s top stories in Canadian politics played out across the floor of the House of Commons during question period.

MONDAY: Border Crossings

Conservatives began the week by highlighting the continued political debate over irregular migration and the asylum seekers crossing Canada’s land border — away from official ports of entry, where the Safe Third Country Agreement would apply.

The RCMP has intercepted 8,670 people this year (as of May 22) along Quebec’s border with the United States — with an average of 85 asylum claims per day in April and 62 in May. Nearly 13,000 work permits have been issued to asylum claimaints in Quebec since Apr. 1.

The government has since pledged $50 million to help the Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec governments cope with housing needs and other costs.


TUESDAY: Trans Mountain, Part One

After announcing the federal plan to purchase Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline assets for $4.5 billion, Finance Minister Bill Morneau faced questions in the chamber, including this from British Columbia’s Nathan Cullen (NDP):

WATCH and READ: Ottawa to Buy Trans Mountain Pipeline


WEDNESDAY: Trans Mountain, Part Two

With the prime minister back in the Commons, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer accused the government of using public money to rectify its own poor decisions on the Northern Gateway and Energy East proposals. Trudeau, though, defended Ottawa’s approach to resource development.


THURSDAY: Tariffs and Trade

The United States announced that Canada, Mexico, and the European Union would no longer be exempt from tariffs on aluminum and steel imports.

Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland replied that Canada would consider a list of countermeasures on American products ranging from beer kegs to pizza to whisky.

The prime minister also said the tariffs came after his rejection of a U.S. demand to accept a five-year “sunset” review clause as part of NAFTA negotiations.

WATCH and READ: Canada-U.S. Tariffs Loom as Trade Tension Rises

Trudeau was still fielding questions from journalists on Canada’s response as question period began. That mean Transport Minister Marc Garneau took the lead in responding to the Official Opposition, which accused the government of failing to effectively manage the cross-border economic relationship.


FRIDAY: Tariffs and Trade, Part Two

Freeland repeated the promise to challenge the U.S. tariffs at the World Trade Organization and through NAFTA’s dispute resolution process.

And midst more questions over the government’s handling of the Canada-U.S. file, the minister cited a number of supportive Conservative voices.

-Andrew Thomson

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