By Julie Smyth - Monday, January 14, 2013 - 0 Comments
Young MPs challenge attitudes about relationships between politicians and staffers
It has always been taboo for MPs to date staff, but the orange wave that brought a slate of young female politicians to Ottawa has changed the dating dynamic on Parliament Hill.
Rosane Doré Lefebvre, a 28-year-old Quebec NDP MP, is expecting a baby with her partner, George Soule, 32, a press secretary in the Opposition leader’s office. They kept the relationship quiet for a while, then got the party’s blessing for their continued romance—even though there are no specific rules mandating political staff or MPs seek approval to date within the NDP, or any other party for that matter. “Initially it was, ‘Okay, this thing happened,’ and then it became more serious. I spoke to the chief of staff. We wanted this to be more than just something that we hid and I didn’t want to do anything that would be a problem for the party,” Soule said during an interview in Doré Lefebvre’s office. “I think at the beginning I was a little bit nervous just in general about even dating an MP and what that would mean.”
Such relationships have been discouraged in the past because Parliament Hill has traditionally been dominated by older male MPs and young female staff members. Continue…
By Paul Wells - Friday, March 30, 2012 at 6:30 AM - 0 Comments
Paul Wells: Get ready for Beethoven vs. Nickelback in federal politics
Tom Mulcair is the most experienced opposition leader Stephen Harper has faced. Between Quebec’s national assembly and the federal Parliament, he’s been in elected politics for 18 years. Unlike Paul Martin, who had been in Parliament for nearly as long, Mulcair has been in an opposition party, Jean Charest’s Quebec Liberals, that fought its way to government. He is an effective interrogator of witnesses in parliamentary committees, a skill he should keep using. He’s smart and hungry.
For now, he’s more a danger to Bob Rae than to Stephen Harper.
Some of my colleagues have been tut-tutting Mulcair for reading from notes in his victory speech at the NDP convention and in his ﬁrst performances in the House of Commons. Here in the Parliamentary press gallery, we like our political leaders spontaneous. It’s why so many of us thought Michael Ignatieff’s town-hall free-association sessions were the highlight of the 2011 election. It helps explain why apparently nobody in 30 years has ever taken Bob Rae aside and said, “Bob? Edit.”
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, May 13, 2011 at 12:24 PM - 17 Comments
Jack Layton promises a measured opposition.
The NDP will ask “tough” questions but will not resort to “antics.” “That certainly is my commitment. Our party didn’t have a reputation of being mad dogs in the House of Commons. We tended to be, I think, pretty well-controlled when it comes to the heckling that goes on. I feel that it is vitally important that the whole tone of Parliament change. I think Canadians are fed up with the kind of juvenile behaviour that we were seeing.”
Presumably this means no more puppet shows.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, January 3, 2011 at 3:02 PM - 124 Comments
Bruce Anderson sees little political advantage to be found for Michael Ignatieff in the economy.
To move the polls, the Liberal leader needs to be more viscerally connected to both the deepest frustrations and the most stirring aspirations of a broad middle class. As simple as it seems to make a “we should be doing better” case, it is increasingly falling on “we could be doing worse” ears.
To create desperately needed forward momentum, Mr. Ignatieff needs to hammer away at other, weaker flanks of the Harper Conservatives. And, because that alone may not be enough, he needs to convince Canadians to help him achieve something bigger and more inspiring than the agenda they have been seeing from the Conservatives.
In case you didn’t notice and thus neglected to buy him a present, Mr. Ignatieff officially surpassed Stephane Dion in tenure as leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition last month. He has now served 755 days (just more than two years) in the thankless job.
For the sake of comparison, Stephen Harper spent 1,286 days (three and a half years) as opposition leader before becoming prime minister, while Jean Chretien served 1,039 days (a little more than two years and ten months). Wilfrid Laurier and Robert Borden went more than nine and ten years respectively before becoming prime minister. Robert Stanfield spent nine years on the other side of the House without ever winning the top spot.
By Scott Feschuk - Thursday, October 14, 2010 at 4:20 PM - 0 Comments
And our Prime Minister won’t ever let us forget it
Some leaders rule with an iron ﬁst inside a velvet glove. Stephen Harper rules with the mask from the Scream movies.
Like many Canadians, I love being terriﬁed of people and issues—it’s way easier than making the effort to understand them. But Harper wants us to be afraid of so much stuff that it can be hard to keep track. Here’s a useful primer of things the PM wants us to fear:
By Andrew Coyne - Tuesday, January 26, 2010 at 10:51 AM - 48 Comments
ANDREW COYNE: The government has a choice. It can either break its promise not to raise taxes. Or it can break its promise not to cut transfers.
The Great and the Good have come down from on high, and delivered their decree: there shall be tax hikes. The deficit that was once our friend is now our enemy, no longer “stimulative” but “structural.” The spending spree that gave us that deficit cannot be reversed, or not altogether. If the deficit is to be slain, it must therefore be by raising taxes. Thus sayeth the elders, including former Bank of Canada governor David Dodge, two former deputy ministers of finance, and Jeffrey Simpson.
Well, maybe. What is certainly true is that the fiscal forecast, once an unbroken line of surpluses as far as the eye could see, has darkened considerably. Not only is the deficit headed for $56 billion this fiscal year, but it will still exceed $11 billion even four years from now. And that’s on the government’s cheery numbers. The parliamentary budget officer forecasts the 2014 deficit at $19 billion—after four years of (assumed) steady economic growth. Just in time for the next recession to blow it sky-high again.
By Andrew Potter - Monday, April 20, 2009 at 10:53 AM - 8 Comments
Despite their new leader’s big talk about the Liberal caucus ceasing to sit on…
Despite their new leader’s big talk about the Liberal caucus ceasing to sit on its hands while the Tories steamroll parliament, Ignatieff’s people aren’t exactly fulfilling their constitutionally-defined role of officially opposing the government of the day. As Glen McGregor reports today, this government-in-waiting seems to be still waiting for something to object to:
OTTAWA — Despite leader Michael Ignatieff’s vow that his party would no longer sit on its hands during votes in Parliament, Liberal MPs have missed three times as many votes in the House of Commons as Conservative members so far this year.
The average Liberal MP did not participate in about 12 per cent of the recorded votes on bills and motions in the House of Commons since the parliamentary session began in January, compared to Tory MPs, who on average skipped four per cent, a Citizen analysis shows.
The Liberals posted the worst record for voting of the four parties in the House, standing to be counted fewer times on average than even Bloc Québécois MPs.
And when Liberal MPs did show up, they voted the same way as the Conservatives 79 per cent of the time.