By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, March 7, 2013 - 0 Comments
Ed Schmidt, a lawyer with the Department of Justice, is currently challenging the department in Federal Court—see here and here—over the department’s obligation to inform Parliament if a piece of legislation violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The NDP’s Pat Martin has now taken this issue to the House, raising it as a matter of privilege.
Mr. Schmidt alleges the Department of Justice counsel have adopted a policy of interpreting the constitutional duty as meaning “no advice is given to the minister that he or she…has a duty to report to the House” so long as “some argument can reasonable be made in favour of its consistency with the charter, even if all the arguments in favour of consistency have a combined likelihood of success of 5% or less”. If these allegations are in fact true, my privilege as a member of Parliament, indeed the privileges of each member of Parliament, have been breached.
Supposedly, when a bill is placed before the House as government bill, every member can be reassured by law that the bill is not in violation of either the Bill of Rights or the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by the fact that the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada has examined the bill and finds it to be compliant with these fundamental Canadian laws. If the allegations of Edgar Schmidt are true, we members cannot rely on the performance of these statutory and constitutional duties to know that a bill is consistent with the Bill of Rights and charter in deciding our vote as the bill proceeds through the committees and the House. Based on these allegations, the Department of Justice is approving proposed legislation that has only a mere remote possibility of being consistent with the charter or the Bill of Rights. In contrast, Schmidt argues that the statutory examination provisions require the Department of Justice to determine whether the proposed legislation is actually consistent with the charter or the Bill of Rights, not on the possibility of whether or not the legislation could be consistent.
This hinders us as members of Parliament in the performance of our parliamentary duties. It constitutes an interference in the performance of our duties to exercise due diligence of the bills before us. I believe every member of the House would agree that if these allegations are proven to be true, they show contempt for the authority and dignity of Parliament.
Liberal MP Irwin Cotler is due to add his concerns and there will no doubt be a response from Justice Minister Rob Nicholson before the Speaker makes a ruling.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, February 22, 2013 at 9:45 AM - 0 Comments
The parliamentary budget officers of the OECD are meeting in Ottawa this week. NDP MP Pat Martin, as chair of the government operations committee, gave a keynote address to the gathering last night. Here is the prepared text of that speech.
Great to be here with you today.
Sunlight is a powerful disinfectant, and Freedom of information is the oxygen democracy breathes. These are two of my favorite cliché’s and they find their way into a lot of my speeches so I might as well get them out of the way right off the top.
I didn’t write either of those sayings…in fact I don’t know their origins…but they are truths that I have come to know and believe after 16 years in the trenches as a Member of Parliament.
Simply put, The public has a right to know what their government is doing with their money and secrecy is the natural enemy of good public administration…that simple message pretty well sums up my six terms in Parliament and I try to shout it from the roof tops every chance I get. In fact, I’m thinking of getting tattoo to that effect …and it may even make a fitting epitaph on my tombstone when I finally succumb to injuries sustained by banging my head against the brick wall of the vault, where our Government has been hoarding information.
By Mitchel Raphael - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 7:00 PM - 0 Comments
Why they skipped Poutine Week
There is always something to celebrate in the office of government House leader Peter Van Loan. His staff looks up what is special for each day on Hallmark’s theultimateholidaysite.com as well as thenibble.com, which has a food holiday for every day of the year. For National Croissant Day last month, one staffer had to go to two Tim Hortons outlets to get enough for everyone. For International Pancake Day, Van Loan prefers Estonian pancakes that are closer to crepes. On National Gingerbread Day, Van Loan takes matters into his own hands, whipping up batches himself using a Martha Stewart recipe. Last week was Montreal Poutine Week, but the office chose to not observe that one. “We stand in solidarity with the St. Albert cheese factory,” quipped one staffer. The factory, which is just southeast of Ottawa and a major supplier of poutine’s essential ingredient, cheese curds, burned down as poutine festivities got underway.
Ron Paul vs. RuPaul
Calgary Tory MP Michelle Rempel, a rising star in question period, was recently asked by a journalist what she thought of former congressman and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul coming to Ottawa as part of the Manning Centre for Building Democracy’s conference in March. Rempel diplomatically said she respects “a diversity of opinions.” The truth is that Rempel prefers RuPaul over Ron Paul. She is a huge fan of the reality TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race, which has drag queens compete to become America’s next drag superstar. She watched last year’s season, which included contestants Jiggly Caliente, Madame LaQueer and Sharon Needles. The new season began on Jan. 28, but because she has only basic cable in Ottawa, Rempel asked her sister to record the show so she can catch up.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 4:12 PM - 0 Comments
The second last question from QP this afternoon.
Mr. Martin’s mention of Quebec seems to be a reference to this.
By Mitchel Raphael - Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 12:00 PM - 0 Comments
Pat Martin puts on his beaver hat for Idle No More, while Olivia Chow will be looking more serious after partial facial paralysis.
Pat Martin revisits the beaver?
Idle No More protesters greeted MPs for their first day back on the Hill for 2013. When NDP MP Pat Martin went out to support the protesters he put on his beaver fur hat, which he bought 20 years ago in the Yukon. He said it is not often that he gets to wear it. No word on whether the hat was a quiet reference to the infamous time he said in the House, when attacking the Conservatives for dismantling the Canadian Wheat Board, “The Canadian beaver will bite off its own testicles when it is threatened and offer them up to its tormentors.”
Why Chow is not smiling
Toronto NDP MP Olivia Chow has recovered slightly from a viral infection that left part of her face paralyzed. She can now close her left eye with some effort, something she was unable to do before. She still needs to use drops to keep it from drying out. She also has to massage the left side of her face and do blowing exercises as part of the healing process. She quipped that she will be looking more serious for a while because the partial paralysis is mostly visible when she smiles. Why it’s fun in the whip’s office Calgary Tory MP Michelle Rempel has spilled a Conservative secret. During House duty on the first day back, she popped into the office of chief government whip Gordon O’Connor, where she says there is always a stash of chocolates. She managed to score a few individually wrapped Turtles. Continue…
By The Canadian Press - Friday, December 21, 2012 at 5:45 AM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – There are clearly no tidings of comfort and joy between Public Safety…
OTTAWA – There are clearly no tidings of comfort and joy between Public Safety Minister Vic Toews and the NDP’s Pat Martin, two decidedly unmerry gentlemen from Manitoba after a bitter yuletide war of words.
Neither man is known for beating around the bush with opponents, but Martin sparked the battle late Wednesday with a sudden and abusive Twitter tirade against Toews and his Conservative government.
By the following day, however, Martin’s Twitter account — known as an occasional forum for sharp words and casual profanity — was no longer in service.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 1:56 PM - 0 Comments
A statement from the Public Safety Minister.
“Rather than commending Youth for Christ for the exceptional work they do both in Manitoba and around the world, NDP MP Pat Martin (Winnipeg-Centre) launched into a rambling tirade against the organization through Twitter last night.
For a sitting Member of Parliament to attack an organization with blatant mistruths is both irresponsible and disgraceful. The new facility that Youth for Christ operates from better serves the Winnipeg region and allows it to expand its reach and capacity. It is beyond comprehension why he would attack an organization for its religious affiliations while claiming that it funnels money out of Canada and has low enrollment in the Winnipeg area. These claims are patently false. The funding for Youth for Christ was allocated through Infrastructure Canada as part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan and was meant to allow for the necessary upgrades that would better serve the community. Youth for Christ helps countless disadvantaged youths and works to curb gang activity and the violent life it leads to.
In the midst of his outburst, I understand that Pat Martin was upset about being left off the guest list for another announcement I made earlier this week that would see new residential accommodations built for newcomers.
It is news to me that he is suddenly interested in the concerns of his riding. I’ve dealt with many opposition MPs in Winnipeg, including former MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis and current Winnipeg-North MP Kevin Lamoureux, both of whom have contacted my office previously and have spoken with me regarding funding for their ridings – in my seven years as the Senior Minister for Manitoba, Mr. Martin has not made the same efforts.
Given that the bulk of the money was allocated by the provincial NDP Government, I have to wonder why they also chose not to invite him. Clearly even his own party doesn’t want him at events.”
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 12:35 PM - 0 Comments
A statement from the NDP.
These comments were simply inappropriate and unacceptable. Mr. Martin agrees and we understand that he has decided to stop using his Twitter account.
And with that, Pat Martin signs off with one last tweet.
I apologize for my regrettable and inappropriate language yesterday. It seems some people shouldn’t tweet so with this, I sign off.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 12:19 PM - 0 Comments
The Conservative MP reviews Pat Martin’s tweets.
Dec 20, just read about Pat Martin’s tweet, tells you a lot about him, not sure why anyone would elect him!
When Mr. Payne tweets an insult at the other side, he is careful to keep it to a PG-13 rating.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 10:41 AM - 0 Comments
Martin told the Free Press this morning he was angry because he found out last night he had not been invited to an announcement on refugee housing in his own riding on Tuesday. ”I got upset again,” he said. “I just get so fed up with these guys.” Martin said the former Liberal government always invited opposition MPs to government announcements as a courtesy. The Conservatives he said never do.
Martin has been in trouble on Twitter before for telling someone to “F*** off.” He is also facing a lawsuit from an Alberta robocall company who allege Martin slandered the company last winter. Martin told the Free Press he was not officially commenting on the Youth For Christ situation because he had to do more research to find out if what he was being told is really true. ”It was private tweeting to my followers,” he said.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 5:50 AM - 0 Comments
NDP MP Pat Martin took to Twitter last night to express his displeasure with a local infrastructure project and the Minister of Public Safety.
First Nations were concerned ‘Youth for Christ’ would try to steal their children’s souls. Now building is empty…Vic Toews big project.
All the $oney for inner city youth went to USA Youth for Christ. Big building, no benefit. Vic Toews Mr family values. What gives?
All the money for inner city youth went to ‘Youth For Christ’, who are Vic Toews’ donors and buddies, now the bldg is all but empty.
Listen, I would never judge someone who screwed their babysitter for years or knocked up their secretary, so don’t ask me to. Respect…
Not sure the public really knows their Minister of Public Safety who forgot to invite me to announcement in my risding AGAIN!!! RFW
Next time I’m bringing my own folding chair if the Minister ‘forgets’ to invite me to his spending announcements in my riding. Arrogance
When Vic gave the USA Youth for Christ ALL the money for inner city youth, FN’s said they don’t want people to ‘steal their chldn’s souls’
These are truly bad people.They won their razor thin majority by cheating; Robocalls and who knows what else. American style dirty tricks.
@CTVMercedes I’m not ‘worked up’ so much as ‘fed up’ with the rat faced whores in the CPC who neglect to invite me to ancemnts in my riding
Look…Given the parliamentary session we’ve just endured, the term ‘rat faced whores’ is using a great deal of restraint…
The issue of the Youth for Christ’s centre in Winnipeg goes back to February 2010, when Mr. Martin complained about the federally funded project. Mr. Toews responded to Mr. Martin. After city council approved the project, Mr. Martin pledged to support it. (More on the larger controversy here, here, here, here and here.)
The details of Mr. Toews’ personal life harken back to the Vikileaks controversy earlier this year.
Update 2:00pm. Vic Toews responds.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 8:04 PM - 0 Comments
A sufficient number of Conservatives voted against Bill C-398 tonight to defeat the private members’ bill that was intended to make it easier to send generic medicine to developing countries.
A previous version of the bill passed the House in March 2011, but failed to pass in the Senate—Tony Clement set out the government’s objections in a memo to Senators—before the government was defeated in the House. Seven Conservatives voted in favour this evening, but 14 who had supported the bill previously voted against it.
Paul Dewar to MP across aisle after CPC defeats Drugs for Africa bill, “what church do you go to? Got a confessional? You’re gonna need it.”
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
The idea of what constitutes a tax has expanded somewhat over the last few weeks to include measures that create government revenue and measures that raise costs. On that note, here is the statement the NDP’s Pat Martin presented yesterday before Question Period.
Mr. Speaker, a recent report shows the Conservatives collected over $8 billion in government user fees last year alone. In fact, since 2000, user fees have more than doubled, while corporate taxes have been cut in half, shifting the tax burden once again onto the back of the beleaguered Canadian taxpayer. They are not finished yet. Even though Canadians are still struggling from a devastating recession, the Conservatives are hitting them right in the pocketbook with a vast array of new taxes on everything under the sun. Passport fees have gone up, fees for nautical charts and maps, fees imposed on new Canadians, even fees for international youth exchanges. Add it all together and it amounts to a great big fat Conservative tax grab. Canadian taxpayers are sick of bankrolling the Conservatives’ obsequious tithing to their corporate puppet masters. Gouging Canadians for exorbitant service fees is no way to balance the budget.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, October 29, 2012 at 1:34 PM - 0 Comments
The Ottawa Citizen profiles Pierre Poilievre.
Baird’s influence on Poilievre is obvious, Martin says. Not only did they represent the same constituents, more or less, for 18 months — Baird as MPP and Poilievre as MP — Poilievre later served as parliamentary secretary to Baird when he was Treasury Board president. “He’s been groomed and mentored in the dark arts by the master: Mr. Baird. … I think he’s benefited from working so closely with such a competent senior minister,” Martin says. “The main concern now would be not letting himself get arrogant. He’s always been cocky but I think he’s also avoided arrogance. I hope he maintains that.”
Baird agrees that Poilievre has “grown as a Parliamentarian,” but chalks it up to the experience that come with working long hours. “He works like a dog. He will literally email me about issues that we should be pushing at 11:30 at night or on a weekend. I have huge respect for his work ethic,” Baird says.
In addition to being the “Minister of Nepean-Carleton,” Mr. Poilievre is also now apparently the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs—or at least is Mr. Poilievre who is being sent up to answer questions about Peter Penashue’s election campaign.
Mr. Poilievre is an interesting study in politics, specifically how to succeed in politics: both in his understanding of the practical aspects of politics and how he presents himself as a partisan in the House. Here is what I wrote about him three years ago after watching him talk to young Conservatives.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 11:37 AM - 0 Comments
Barring further information, the NDP is apparently compelled to oppose the CNOOC takeover of Nexen. Here was Thomas Mulcair’s assessment on Tuesday.
What we’ve been saying from the start is that we should have public consultations. That’s our position. That’s allowed under the Act and we should consult with Canadians. This is fundamental. This is about whether or not Canadians are going to control their own natural resources. The government says it’s going to have new criteria for looking at investments from other countries. They added a couple of things today. They’re starting to talk about security issues. They’re starting to talk about control over our natural resources when it’s a takeover by a foreign government through a state-owned enterprise of a foreign government. So we think that those things should have been on the table since the beginning. They’ve been talking for years about updating those criteria. They’ve never done it. So that’s the conversation we want to have with Canadians. We think that those are valid issues.
If you listened to Don Davies’ question today, he went a little bit further with regard to the fact that there’s protection for Chinese investing in Canada but there’s not reciprocity. Canadian investors would never be allowed to buy the raw natural resources of China. So there’s something terribly wrong with a government that keeps signing these deals where we pass for chumps, where they get something that we don’t get.
Stephen Gordon considers Pat Martin’s suggestion of “economic treason.”
By Stephen Gordon - Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 9:01 AM - 0 Comments
The conflict among nations that so many policy intellectuals imagine prevails is an illusion; but it is an illusion that can destroy the reality of mutual gains from trade. (Paul Krugman)
In The Myth of the Rational Voter, Bryan Caplan argues that the most important obstacles to implementing sound economic policies are not lobby groups or the ability of other special interests to influence politicians, but certain systemic, irrational beliefs of the electorate. This is hardly an encouraging conclusion, but if we needed any more evidence for at least one aspect of his thesis, the CNOOC-Nexen takeover is providing it.
One of the prejudices identified by Caplan is what he calls anti-foreign bias: “a tendency to underestimate the economic benefits of interaction with foreigners.” According to popular (mis)perception, dealing with foreigners is to be mistrusted: if they want something from us, then they must perceive some benefit from the exchange. And if foreigners are gaining, then Canadians must be losing.
This is nonsense, of course: the gains from trade are not zero-sum. But once you’re locked into anti-foreign bias, a Canadian who sees nothing wrong when foreigners benefit from trade is the same thing as a Canadian who wants Canadians to lose from trade. And so words such as “disloyal” (apparently a favourite epithet among those opposing reciprocity in 1911), “betrayal”, “traitor” and “treason” tend to get thrown around like so much confetti. NDP MP Pat Martin’s accusation of “economic treason” on the part of those who don’t see why the government should forbid a freely negotiated exchange of an asset is simply the latest in a long line of similarly overblown rhetoric.
Now, blocking the deal might well prove popular: anti-foreign bias is widespread, and understanding why it’s wrong sometimes requires a significant intellectual investment. It’s hard to shake the notion that another country’s gain must be Canada’s loss.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 9:03 AM - 0 Comments
Pat Martin thought he heard echoes of Tommy Douglas in Justin Trudeau’s speech last night.
The first line of the speech was “Make no small dreams, they have not the power to move the soul.” (I transcribed it differently last night, but, if I recall correctly, that was based on how the CBC’s translator interpreted it.) It might be reminiscent of Mr. Douglas’ “dream no little dreams,” but it’s actually a quote from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who predates Tommy Douglas by about a century.
“Courage, friends” was the last line of the speech and was apparently ad-libbed. Like Mr. Martin, I thought of Mr. Douglas’ line, “Courage my friends, tis not too late to build a better world.” Jack Layton often cited that quote. I’m told though that the line had nothing to do with Mr. Douglas and was simply an attempt to sum up the challenge ahead.
(Although I’d like to imagine that somehow it’s a Chronicles of Narnia reference.)
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, July 24, 2012 at 10:44 AM - 0 Comments
The NDP MP tweets his thoughts on pawn shops and payday loans.
Let’s be clear, Pawn shops are loathsome parasites exploiting the misery of the poor. TV shows that glamorize them are despicable.
Pay day loans and pawn shops are a scourge on the inner city…make charter banks live up to their mandate and provide financial services.
Every vacant store in strip malls gets filled with another PayDay lender because there is no greater return than preying on human misery.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 at 4:41 PM - 0 Comments
Welcome to live coverage of tonight’s C-38 votes. It was expected that voting would begin around 5:30pm, but some procedural fussing about by the Liberals seems to have delayed those votes by a few hours. Stay tuned throughout the evening (and morning?) as we follow the parliamentary festivities.
4:43pm. If you’re only now tuning in, you just missed a fascinating series of points of order, during which Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux twice asked the Speaker to clarify the rules of the House (Speaker Devolin invited Mr. Lamoureux to read the standing orders) and Bob Rae objected to the Defence Minister’s earlier use of the word “mendaciousness” (Peter MacKay duly stood and withdrew the remark). The House is now at the time reserved each day for the presenting of petitions and will soon move to the final period of report stage debate on C-38.
4:51pm. The New Democrats held a photo op this afternoon to demonstrate how they were preparing for tonight’s votes. Mostly this seems to have involved Nathan Cullen removing his jacket and writing “C-38″ on a giant white pad of paper.
5:04pm. The Liberals have chosen now to discuss Mr. Cullen’s point of privilege. And now there is some discussion between the Speaker, Elizabeth May and Denis Coderre about how long one can speak when responding to a question of privilege.
5:15pm. With Mr. Lamoureux still responding to Mr. Cullen’s point of privilege, Conservative MP Bob Zimmer rises on a point of order to question Mr. Lamoureux’s point of privilege. The Speaker stands and reads the rules pertaining to questions of privilege, specifically that such interventions should be “brief and concise” and that the Speaker has the right to “terminate” the discussion. Liberal MP Massimo Pacetti rises on a point of order to object to Mr. Zimmer’s point of order. Mr. Lamoureux attempts a point of order to respond to Mr. Zimmer, but the Speaker suggests he carry on with his point of privilege, but then Mr. Coderre rises on a point of order to complain about the Speaker’s desire to move things along. The Speaker asserts his impartiality and attempts to straighten this all out, but Mr. Coderre rises on another point of order to clarify his respect for the Speaker, but also to express his desire that Mr. Lamoureux be allowed to give a full response to Mr. Cullen’s point of privilege. Mr. Pacetti rises on a point of order to add his concern that Mr. Lamoureux be allowed to speak fully. The Speaker says he was merely reminding everyone of the rules and gives Mr. Lamoureux five minutes to finish and, finally, we’re now back to Mr. Lamoruex’s point of privilege.
5:30pm. The Speaker stands and calls an end to Mr. Lamoureux’s remarks and attempts to move to the last hour of report stage debate on C-38, but now Mauril Belanger is up on a separate point of privilege.
5:32pm. The Speaker cuts off Mr. Belanger to move to deferred votes on two opposition motions and one private member’s bill. MPs have 30 minutes to report to the chamber.
By Aaron Wherry - Sunday, June 3, 2012 at 2:26 PM - 0 Comments
While the Queen watches the boats float along the Thames, the NDP’s Pat Martin suggests it’s time we move past the monarchy.
Well I think I speak for a growing number of Canadians, Tom, who think that this is the right time to revisit whether we should cut our apron strings to the British Monarchy but I think what jelled it for me most recently was going to a Canadian citizenship ceremony that as an MP I get invited to often and watching these people from 30 or 40 different countries having to swear allegiance not to Canada but to the Queen and all of her heir and successors for time and memorial, it kind of just struck me at that moment that we are way out of touch with this and if anything, new Canadians should be swearing an oath of allegiance to their country Canada and not to this vestige of hangover of the Colonial Era …
Canadians aren’t you know baffled by shiny objects like the wedding of Will and Kate. We have to think beyond that. Your preamble to our conversation here is a good education for Canadians to remind themselves, isn’t it kind of goofy that our currency has the face of a foreign monarch? I mean, wouldn’t you rather have a Canadian as the head of state for Canada? Wouldn’t you like your son or daughter to someday be able to aspire to that goal? We are so wrongheaded that I think there’s a big appetite once Canadians think about it for a minute to severe those ties, there’s no justification and being a Member of Parliament, it kind offends me that we have to ask permission from the Queen to pass a piece of legislation, even though we know it’s just a pro forma thing that we’re going through, it’s just wrong.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, May 14, 2012 at 10:00 AM - 0 Comments
At the end of this Globe report on moves toward greater cooperation among parliamentary watchdogs, Pat Martin concedes a rather large point.
NDP MP Pat Martin, who chairs the government operations committee, expressed concern at how some senior officials view the work of the agents. He said the number of agents should be expanded by making the Parliamentary Budget Officer a fully independent agent.
“Let’s face it: Parliament has become less and less effective by design,” he said. “We’ve been neutralized to such a large extent in recent years that, if it wasn’t for officers of Parliament, the taxpayer would have no friends at all.”
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, April 20, 2012 at 10:08 AM - 0 Comments
Four Conservative MPs go to the Manitoba legislature to take issue with the Manitoba government.
Inside the house, Glover, Smith, Bezan and Hoeppner sat together stone-faced on a sofa on the floor of the chamber behind the Tory benches watching question period, when the immigration issue took centre stage. They either smiled or nodded their heads when their provincial counterparts defended Ottawa’s decision to manage the immigration program. They had to sit in the house because they could not get passes for the public gallery.
Smith said she and her colleagues had no choice other than to come to the legislature instead of holding a press briefing at constituency offices or another location. ”Today the MPs are coming in to straighten the story out,” Smith said. ”The story has been totally misleading. It’s scaring people. We have to get that story straight.”
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…