By Mitchel Raphael - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - 0 Comments
Mitchel Raphael celebrates the season with the Opposition
The NDP held their annual holiday party in the Hall of Honour. Great lighting, booze bars, an oyster bar and food stations were spread over the Hall and and adjoining meeting rooms. It was one of the best parties held on the Hill.
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 8:05 AM - 0 Comments
NDP MPs, staffers and friends gathered for Halloween at the NDP watering hole Brixton’s….
NDP MPs, staffers and friends gathered for Halloween at the NDP watering hole Brixton’s. Outfits included Mitt Romney’s “binders full of women,” Bev Oda sipping $16 OJ (albeit from a plastic container) and NDP MP Niki Ashton as Big Bird.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, April 20, 2012 at 8:30 AM - 0 Comments
Here again is the roster for Thomas Mulcair’s shadow cabinet. What to make of it? Here are several observations.
-First, the obviously big promotions go to Megan Leslie (who stays with environment, but becomes a deputy leader) and Nathan Cullen (who becomes House leader). Both are confident, impressive, fresh-faced MPs who are quick on their feet and under the age of 40 (Mr. Cullen’s 40th birthday is in July). Very interesting to see them put not just in prominent positions, but positions of leadership. Your premature, baseless, futile, wild-eyed “next leader of the NDP” speculation probably starts somewhere here.
-That’s a rather large number of people with titles: 78 out of a caucus of 102. Granted, the Conservative cabinet numbers 39 and the Prime Minister named another 28 parliamentary secretaries, so the sides are somewhat close to even. Put the two teams together and they represent just less than half of the House.
-The shadow ministers of finance, justice, human resources, transport, aboriginal affairs, public works, industry, immigration and the environment—nine of the top files—are women.
-All of the elected leadership candidates—Niki Ashton, Paul Dewar, Mr. Cullen, Robert Chisholm, Romeo Saganash and Peggy Nash—were placed in prominent spots. Of the 13 NDP MPs who endorsed Brian Topp, 10 of them—Charmaine Borg, Jean Crowder, Libby Davies, Chris Charlton, Yvon Godin, Francoise Boivin, Jinny Simms, Jasbir Sandhu, Kennedy Stewart and Alexandre Boulerice—were put in critic roles. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 5:59 PM - 0 Comments
Shortly after 2 p.m., David Christopherson, the fussiest New Democrat, called to order this emergency meeting of the standing committee on public accounts. Around the table sat seven Conservatives, four New Democrats (only three of whom were officially participating in the proceedings) and one Liberal.
Mr. Christopherson proceeded to read aloud the specific standing order of Parliament—106(4) for those of you scoring at home—that allows for four members of any committee to request an emergency meeting of that committee, as had occurred in this case. He asked to make sure that everyone in attendance was in agreement that this is what had happened. There was unanimous agreement—or at least no one audibly objected—and so Mr. Christopherson moved on to explain that there were two motions before the committee.
Here is approximately where the trouble started. Or rather where this place’s latest testament to the vitality of our democracy began. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 10:43 AM - 0 Comments
The Globe finds six NDP MPs who were elected on the cheap.
Another one of the NDP no-spenders is Philip Toone, a lawyer and a first-time MP for Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine. “I had me and my orange tie,” Mr. Toone remembered, saying he relied on word-of-mouth to spread news of his campaign. “Miracles are rare.”
Mr. Toone didn’t put up lawn signs or billboards and recorded no campaign expenses – though he did make note of $12.50 in auditing work that was marked as received in August, four months after the election.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 10:59 AM - 3 Comments
In the current print edition there are a couple thousands words on four of the youngest NDP MPs: Matthew Dube, Charmaine Borg, Mylene Freeman and Lauren Liu. (The video above seems to have been recorded by a CBC interviewer the day after Ms. Borg was elected.)
At one point in the process I had a bracketed note that I ended up deleting which ventured that it was nice to hear more laughter (easy and at no one else’s expense) on the Hill because this place could use more joy. That’s maybe a bit too earnest for print, but I’d probably stand by the general idea if asked now.
Here, for the sake of comparison, is how a reporter from the McGill Daily saw it when he came to visit.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 8:00 AM - 4 Comments
A new crop of young NDP MPs are out to show they can deliver for their constituents
At ten to eight on a Wednesday morning, he is aboard one of Parliament Hill’s small green buses, on his way to the first meeting of the day, the weekly gathering of the NDP’s Quebec MPs. He is wearing a suit and he’s carrying a coffee and a Danish. Around him there are other men. Men in suits on the way to meetings of their own. Only they are all twice his age.
After this meeting there’s another meeting—the weekly gathering of the ofﬁcial Opposition caucus. Then a walk back to his office, down the Hill to the Justice Building beside the Supreme Court. Then back up the Hill for lunch with a reporter in Centre Block’s ornate restaurant. Then a meeting of the all-party arts caucus. Then question period. Then a meeting of the standing committee on public accounts to hear testimony from the interim auditor general. Then dinner at the NDP’s weekly pub night. Then a meeting of the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association. Then back to the pub, where he won’t look particularly out of place among the hordes of young staff who quietly keep Ottawa running.