Inside Politics

'McCarthyism' at Commons finance committee?

This YouTube video, posted Thursday morning by United Steelworkers economist Erin Weir on his Progressive Economics Forum blog, is making the rounds in Ottawa.

It's an edited excerpt of the committee testimony on the budget implementation bill from late Wednesday, and features a rather persistent line of questioning from Saskatchewan Conservative MP Randy Hoback, including this question:

"Have you ever been or are you presently a member of the NDP party?"

The line echoes U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy's famous question during the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings during the 1950s meant to root out Communists in the U.S.

As Weir himself acknowledged to the committee, his ties to the NDP are in the public domain and require no big committee "reveal."

One could argue there's merit in hearing from an economist not likely to agree with every aspect of the Conservative government's budget implementation bill, to demonstrate that the committee heard from a true variety of viewpoints as part of a balanced investigation.

It's not clear what Hoback's apparent badgering of the witness had to do with the budget testimony at hand.

Elsewhere today, House Speaker Andrew Scheer says he thinks decorum on Parliament Hill has improved under his tenure.
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