By Aaron Wherry - Monday, May 13, 2013 - 0 Comments
With 84 of 91 polls reporting, Liberal Yvonne Jones leads Peter Penashue 51.2% o 28.5%. Turnout is already at 53.5%, slightly above the 2011 election.
All things considered, the Liberals should have won here: a traditionally Liberal riding and a Conservative incumbent forced to resign amid election-spending unpleasantness. But the Liberals gain a new voice and the Conservatives suffer another bit of bad news. The real test for Justin Trudeau will come if, as expected, Denis Coderre resigns and a by-election in Bourassa is called. That would put in play a Montreal riding where the New Democrats finished a strong second in 2011.
Update 10:59pm. A statement from the Conservative party, celebrating a victory in Labrador.
As we know, majority governments do not usually win by-elections.
In fact, Liberals have won the riding of Labrador in every election in history except for two, so we are not surprised with these results.
What is surprising is the collapse of the Liberal support during this by-election. When this by-election was called the Liberals had a 43-point lead in the polls. Since electing Justin Trudeau as leader and having him personally campaign there, they have dropped 20 points in Labrador. That’s a significant drop in only a few weeks. Labradorians were able to see firsthand how Justin Trudeau is in over his head.
I’m not sure how the Conservatives can claim the Liberals dropped 20 points in the riding. The final count gives Yvonne Jones 48.2% of vote, which is about 15 points off what Abacus gave her a month ago.
In terms of actual votes, Mr. Penashue lost 334 votes between election day in 2011 and today, this despite Stephen Harper’s assessment that Mr. Penashue was “the best member of Parliament Labrador has ever had.” Yvonne Jones, conversely, received 1,637 more votes than Todd Russell did in 2011.
Total turnout increased by 1,315 votes.
One possible explanation for tonight’s vote: a decent number of Liberal voters who stayed home in 2011 came back to the party tonight.
Update 11:58pm. Of course, given their previous comments on this by-election, Stephen Harper and Pierre Poilievre will be terribly disappointed in the Conservative party’s response.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, May 13, 2013 at 9:52 AM - 0 Comments
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, April 16, 2013 at 11:04 AM - 0 Comments
Despite his boast that he held up funding for elsewhere in the province for the benefit of Labrador and in spite of government assurances that he “delivered” for his riding, Peter Penashue seems to trail badly in Labrador.
Abacus: Yvonne Jones 63%, Peter Penashue 20%, Harry Borlase 17% Sample: 399
Forum: Yvonne Jones 57%, Harry Borlase 21%, Peter Penashue 20% Sample: 260
Meanwhile, the former Liberal MP in Labrador is, in his new capacity, is praising the NDP candidate.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, April 12, 2013 at 10:20 AM - 0 Comments
“I attained and pushed for managed to get $85 million for the road, on the Trans-Labrador Highway. I will tell you this. If I was not there, that road, that money would not be spent there. The money would be spent somewhere else,” Penashue said. “I will tell you a secret. I did not sign the approvals in Newfoundland until I had my $85 million for the road in Labrador, and I held their project for six months,” Penashue told a cheering crowd.
Alas, his campaign manager and the Conservative party weren’t willing to explain which project he held for ransom.
Newfoundland Premier Kathy Dunderale is unimpressed.
Premier Kathy Dunderdale says if Peter Penashue had been a member of her cabinet, he would be ejected for comments this week in which he boasted about holding up a project in Newfoundland to help his own constituents in Labrador … Dunderdale said Penashue was supposed to have represented all of Newfoundland and Labrador, and not just his own riding. “You’re not just a minister for a certain region of the province. You’re a minister for Newfoundland and Labrador, and you have to represent all of our interests fairly,” she said.
By The Canadian Press - Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 7:48 AM - 0 Comments
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Pre-writ spending by the Conservatives ahead of a federal byelection…
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Pre-writ spending by the Conservatives ahead of a federal byelection in Labrador adds up to an unfair advantage, says the Liberal candidate.
“They can spend all the money they want right now and it doesn’t go into the campaign,” Yvonne Jones said from Happy Valley-Goose Bay. “I’m starting out, I don’t have all that kind of money to spend.”
Jones, a feisty breast cancer survivor who was back on the job as a provincial Liberal member while still under radiation treatment two years ago, will resign after 17 years in the legislature as soon as Prime Minister Stephen Harper calls the byelection.
She said she’s getting organized and feels good about her chances to replace Conservative incumbent Peter Penashue whenever the race officially starts.
Harper can wait until mid-September under federal election laws but there are hints of an earlier move.
By Emily Senger - Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 8:33 AM - 0 Comments
Liberal candiate Yvonne Jones has voter support
There is bad news for former Conservative MP Peter Penashue in a poll conducted by Forum Research in his riding.
The Conservative candidate, who resigned in March amid an admission that he accepted ineligible campaign contributions in 2011, will likely be defeated by Liberal candidate Yvonne Jones in an upcoming byelection, the poll says.
The poll, which was conducted between March 30 and April 2, asked 274 respondents who they would support in the byelection. Of those, reports the Globe and Mail, 57 per cent said they would support Jones, 20 per cent said they would vote for Penashue and 21 per cent said they supported NDP candidate Harry Borlase.
Jones is a long-time member of the provincial legislature for Newfoundland and Labrador and is taking a run at the federal seat. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 12:20 PM - 0 Comments
Tim Powers considers the importance of Peter Penashue and the Labrador by-election.
But there are other things at play here for Team Harper. This is also a caucus strengthening exercise. Many MPs will, if they haven’t already, take notice of how the Prime Minister has stood by his man Penashue in tough circumstances. That breeds loyalty and that matters when times get tough. Eventually they will for this Prime Minister and backing a vulnerable team member buys him some insurance when the worm turns on him.
Given the 2011 result and the NDP’s burgeoning strength in the province, it’s a by-election that three parties will think they can win—see Alice Funke’s analysis for more insight.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 5:57 PM - 0 Comments
Shortly after Conservative Brian Jean had stood to accuse the New Democrats of advocating for a “job killing carbon tax” and Conservative MP Scott Armstrong had stood to say that “the policy of the NDP is to go south to recruit foreign criminals to come to Canada” and Conservative MP David Wilks had stood and claimed to possess “a long list of attacks on Canadian interests from the NDP” and Conservative MP Robert Sopuck had stood and ventured that the NDP leader “leader rejects sound science and works hard to kill Canadian jobs” and Conservative MP James Bezan stood and said Thomas Mulcair had “attacked Canadian jobs, attacked Canada’s national interests and took up the cause of a convicted cop shooter” and shortly before Justice Minister Rob Nicholson stood and declared that “New Democrats are never on” the side of victims of crime, Stephen Harper stood and declared himself quite disappointed with Mr. Mulcair’s tone.
“Mr. Speaker, Peter Penashue broke… the… law,” Mr. Mulcair had enunciated, now pausing for effect. “If our law and order Prime Minister considers Peter Penashue, a known lawbreaker, to be the best Conservative MP, what does that say about the rest of his caucus?”
In fairness, Mr. Harper had not said that Mr. Penashue was the best member of the Conservative caucus, rather that he was the best MP that the riding of Labrador had ever had. Though perhaps that description too raises questions about how the Prime Minister measures quality.
Regardless, Mr. Harper was now profoundly saddened. “Mr. Speaker, obviously, I disagree with that categorization,” the Prime Minister sighed. “I am sad, but not surprised, to hear that kind of negative campaign from the—”
He could not finish because the New Democrats had burst out laughing.
The Speaker called for order and returned the floor to Mr. Harper.
“Mr. Speaker, in Labrador, Minister Penashue,” the Prime Minister continued, apparently still struggling to come to grips with the reality of Mr. Penashue’s resignation, “will be able to point to a record of respecting his promises, working against the federal long gun registry and for such things as the Trans-Labrador Highway, the Lower Churchill project and obviously for the strong record that he has presented to the people of Labrador.”
So Mr. Penashue might not have rightfully won a seat in the House of Commons, but at least while he had it, some things happened that the people of Labrador might have reason to be happy about.
The House proceeded to other matters, but after Rob Nicholson had declared his concern for the victims of crime, Bob Rae detected a segue back to Mr. Penashue.
“Mr. Speaker, the victims of the latest Conservative crime are the people of Labrador. Those are the victims we need to stand up for,” Mr. Rae ventured. “It is now clear that there was a completely orchestrated-from-central-casting resignation by the minister. Peter Penashue held press conferences. He used government money to hold press conferences. He placed ads. The Conservative Party transferred money to the riding association in Labrador. The entire thing was orchestrated by the Prime Minister of Canada and orchestrated by the Conservative Party of Canada.”
There was not a question here, but the Prime Minister stood anyway.
“Mr. Speaker, the member for Labrador has taken the correct action,” Mr. Harper said. “The people of Labrador will decide.”
But, once more, the Prime Minister was besmirched.
“They will have the difference between that kind of negative, ugly campaign,” he said, drawing laughs from the Liberals, “and, on the other side, a record of positive achievement for the people of Labrador by minister Penashue and, obviously, we will respect the decision of the people of Labrador.”
Mr. Rae saw another segue.
“Mr. Speaker, if the Prime Minister wants to see ugly, he and his cabinet colleagues should simply look in the mirror and assess their own conduct—”
The Conservatives groaned their displeasure. The Speaker called for order.
“I do not think we need to make those kinds of personal characterizations,” Speaker Scheer suggested. “It is certainly not adding to the debate today.”
Mr. Rae pleaded innocence. “Mr. Speaker, if looking in the mirror produces unacceptable results,” he offered, “it is hardly the fault of the people who are asking the questions.”
The interim Liberal leader again failed to register a question, but the Prime Minister stood again nonetheless.
“Mr. Speaker, I think the real problem is the positions that the Liberal Party of Canada has on issues that matter to the people of Labrador,” Mr. Harper ventured. “The people of Labrador value the seal hunt; they value investments in their infrastructure and in their Internet; and they certainly value the Lower Churchill hydroelectric electric project.”
The questions about the former minister persisted and it was Pierre Poilievre who took up the cause of defending his honour.
“Mr. Speaker, in anybody’s mind, writing cheques for nearly $50,000 is a clear admission that Conservatives broke just about every law in the book during the Labrador campaign and that they knew they broke them,” Liberal MP Gerry Byrne charged. “With that said, the Prime Minister also knows that sanctions with serious consequences remain inevitable against Mr. Penashue and his party. With absolutely nothing left to lose under those circumstances, a byelection is about to be called to try to dull some of that reality. Does the Prime Minister really feel that holding a byelection could ever trump the rule of law in Canada and that the process of justice might actually be able to be turned off for a byelection?”
Somewhere in this distance, or perhaps only in Mr. Poilievre’s head, a string quartet began to play the national anthem.
“Mr. Speaker, there they go, launching a nasty, negative campaign full of slurs,” he sighed. “Never did a slur create a job. Never did a slur protect a traditional aboriginal way of life that Peter Penashue has fought for.”
The anthem swelled. Watching at home, mothers gathered their children to listen. In office towers, business halted. In the fields, plowing ceased. Tears trickled down the cheeks of grown men.
“Never did a slur help a school child in a remote community have access to the world through high-speed Internet, the way Peter Penashue delivered. Never did a slur protect CFB Goose Bay,” Mr. Poilievre continued. “Slurs do not do that, but Peter Penashue did.”
And lo was the nation stirred and lo did all who heard Mr. Poilievre now rush to Labrador, cheques in hand and the Elections Act in mind, to donate the maximum allowable funds to Mr. Penashue’s re-election campaign.
For sure, Mr. Poilievre was so very right. And thus it is to wonder why so many others waste so much of their and our time with such empty words.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 6:46 PM - 0 Comments
Thomas Mulcair wanted to talk about tax havens and about how Kevin Page had been blocked from studying the issue and how the Canada Revenue Agency has apparently identified more than 8,000 “offshore tax cheats” (to use Mr. Mulcair’s phrasing). The Prime Minister wanted to talk about what a terrible thing Mr. Mulcair had done.
“I am rather surprised to be getting a question like this on the economy from the leader of the opposition after he travelled to Washington to fight against Canadian jobs,” Mr. Harper pleaded with a shrug and a shake of the head after offering a perfunctory sentence in response to the actual question asked.
“Shame!” called a voice from the Conservative side.
“The NDP can oppose Canadian jobs,” Mr. Harper concluded, “but on this side we are for Canadian jobs.”
The Conservatives stood to applaud their man’s clarification.
Mr. Mulcair ad-libbed a retort. “ Mr. Speaker, his project includes the export of 40,000 Canadian value-added jobs,” he declared, proceeding then to jab his finger toward the ground. “We will keep standing up for Canada.”
The New Democrats stood to applaud.
So we are split on the precise value to Canada of the Keystone XL pipeline—one of these men is categorically in favour, the other has his concerns; about half of the country sides with the former, a little less than that sides with the latter. Perhaps cap-and-trade, which both of these men have supported at one time or another and which the American president also happens to prefer, truly is the reasonable solution to this concern. If only Republicans didn’t control the House of Representatives and Mr. Harper hadn’t decided that what he once supported was the same as what he once opposed.
Instead, we come to what seems a defining fight for these two men.
Mr. Mulcair, now en francais, returned to his concerns about tax evasion. According to the main estimates, he noted, the budget of the Canada Revenue Agency was due to be cut by $100 million. Mr. Harper, in response, managed two sentences in French, before switching back to English, his preferred language for haranguing. Continue…
By John Geddes - Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 4:38 PM - 0 Comments
Today the Prime Minister declared Peter Penashue—who recently resigned his seat in the House as Elections Canada continues to probe illegal contributions to his 2011 election campaign—the “best member of Parliament Labrador has ever had.”
I’m the furthest thing from an expert on Newfoundland and Labrador political history, but Harper’s bold historical claim got me wondering. So here’s a very brief comparison of Penashue and Thomas G. W. Ashbourne, the first MP for northeast Newfoundland and Labrador, who won his seat in the House as a Liberal in 1949, the first election after Newfoundland and Labrador joined Canada, and again in 1953 and 1957.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 12:31 PM - 0 Comments
With his last campaign’s ineligible donations paid off on March 4 and his resignation announced on March 14, but before a by-election has officially been called, Peter Penashue has begun his re-election campaign.
Kady O’Malley notes that Mr. Penashue’s campaign website was registered on March 11.
Interestingly, the deliveringforlabrador.ca domain was registered on March 11, 2013. Not only was that four days before Penashue’s resignation was ostensibly submitted, but it was also the very same day that he was in North West River to present $1.35 million in new federal funding for “broadband improvements,” which would turn out to be his final appearance before stepping down.
Whatever Mr. Penashue’s campaign does before the writ is dropped won’t be subject to spending limits. A source tells the Canadian Press that the Prime Minister will officially call a by-election in the the next two weeks.
By Nick Taylor-Vaisey - Monday, March 18, 2013 at 6:27 PM - 0 Comments
Two highlights from this afternoon’s post-Question Period scrums:
1. NDP Leader Tom Mulcair on illegal donations to former cabinet minister Peter Penashue’s election campaign: They’re called illegal contributions. I know that the Conservatives have that one stuck in their throat like a bone but we’re going to keep reminding them that these were illegal corporate gifts to one of their candidates. So he’s done the decent thing, he’s stepped down. But then on Saturday, he said he’s stepping down but he didn’t do anything wrong. The Conservatives stood up in the House today and said he’s admitted he’s done something wrong. Both of those statements cannot be true.
2. Liberal MP Scott Andrews on Penashue’s resignation from cabinet: The Conservative Party never admits defeat, never admits wrongdoing, and this is just another example that they don’t—even in his apology, ‘I’m sorry but I didn’t do nothing wrong.’ He didn’t even come out and apologize for what he did wrong. He’s still letting his financial agent take the blame. They never say I’m sorry.
By The Canadian Press - Friday, March 15, 2013 at 7:20 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – Elections Canada documents show that Peter Penashue, the Conservative cabinet minister who…
OTTAWA – Elections Canada documents show that Peter Penashue, the Conservative cabinet minister who resigned his post over campaign spending irregularities, has refunded almost $50,000 in improper donations.
An amended return for the 2011 campaign has been posted to the Elections Canada website that shows Penashue’s campaign accepted 28 separate illegal contributions.
The Labrador MP has paid the federal Receiver General $47,660 in four separate instalments, meaning the donations were non-monetary contributions that can’t be refunded to the donors.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, March 15, 2013 at 4:27 PM - 0 Comments
Laura Payton tallies the questions that are still to be answered about Peter Penashue’s campaign spending.
The NDP, meanwhile, takes aim at Mr. Penashue’s time in the House, tallying all of the times he didn’t respond to questions they asked that they think he should have.
It’s probably difficult to confirm that Mr. Penashue was definitely in the House when each was asked and there is probably some debate to be had over whether it was his place to respond to each and every of questions, but Mr. Penashue’s relative quiet—see here for every occasion on which he spoke in the House—and the precise utility of the intergovernmental affairs portfolio have been a regular subject of some notice: see here, here, here and here.
The latter issue is a curiosity that predates Mr. Penashue’s time in the role. And the portfolio’s lack of purpose is something opposition MPs have exploited in asking questions of the minister that end up being answered by other ministers. (See, for instance, some of Stephane Dion’s questions.)
The other issues is that the Conservatives have tended to let other individuals speak when questions are repeatedly asked about the alleged ethical failings of particular members. So, for instance, a question might be asked about Mr. Penashue, but the response might come from Mr. Poilievre (who has lately taken on the responsibility of handling all questions of an ethical nature). See previously: Bev Oda, Tony Clement.
So Mr. Penashue was doubly limited: both as a minister without anything in particular to speak to during QP and as a minister subject to opposition questions about his campaign.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, March 15, 2013 at 10:12 AM - 0 Comments
Liberal MP Scott Andrews considers the upcoming by-election in Labrador.
Listen, we need a good representative in Labrador, not a crappy person at the cabinet table, that’s what we need right now.
As campaign slogans go, it’s a bit wordy, but it might work.
Liberal MHA Yvonne Jones has already declared that she will seek the Liberal nomination.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 3:36 PM - 0 Comments
Peter Penashue is now neither the intergovernmental affairs minister, nor the MP for Labrador. According to a statement from Mr. Penashue, he has resigned both posts and will now run in a by-election.
Due to mistakes that were made by an inexperienced volunteer in filing the Elections Canada return from the last campaign, I appointed a new Official Agent to work with Elections Canada to make any needed amendments to my campaign return.
During the examination we became aware that there were ineligible donations accepted by the former Official Agent.
Although I was unaware of the inaccuracies in the return, I believe I must be accountable to the people who elected me and therefore I am stepping down as the Member of Parliament for Labrador and will seek re-election through a by-election. I will also be stepping down as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada.
My record as Member of Parliament for Labrador and Minister in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government over the past two years is one that I am very proud of.
I have worked to secure federal support for the development of Muskrat Falls, which will lead to $1.9 billion for our economy and thousands of jobs for Labrador. I have also worked with government and private industry to increase internet speed in Labrador, and delivered federal funding to pave the Trans-Labrador Highway.
There is much more to do for the people of Labrador, including protecting our way of life. We have scrapped the long-gun registry despite the efforts of the NDP and Liberals to keep it, and now we must continue to fight to defend the seal hunt against the NDP and Liberal parliamentarians who want to ban it. I will also continue to lead the defence of the polar bear hunt, something that is very important to Labradorians.
In the by-election I will be asking the people of Labrador to re-elect me so that I can continue to deliver for Labrador.”
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 4:54 PM - 0 Comments
The New Democrats announced this morning that Romeo Saganash has been named the “Deputy Critic for Intergovernmental Aboriginal Affairs.”
The job seems established to focus on relations between the federal government and First Nations as separate governmental institutions and systems, “nation to nation” as the relationship is often described. And perhaps this raises a question about the ministerial portfolio of intergovernmental affairs itself: namely, should the intergovernmental affairs minister be newly tasked with acting as an envoy to First Nations?
At present, it is unclear—at least to me—what the intergovernmental affairs minister does, or is even supposed to do: see here, here and here for recent reference. The Prime Minister deals with the Premiers and various ministers deal with their counterparts at the provincial level. The precise necessity of an intergovernmental affairs minister to manage relations with other levels of government in that current context is debatable. (Presently in Ontario, for what it is worth, the premier is his own intergovernmental affairs minister.)
There was some questioning of Peter Penashue’s absence from last week’s meeting between the Prime Minister and First Nations given his background, but at the time I thought it would be more interesting to wonder if his portfolio might be a better reason to be involved. (Though the controversies around Mr. Penashue might not make him an ideal candidate to be thrust into the spotlight presently.) There are myriad governance and treaty issues between the federal government and First Nations. Granted, there is already an aboriginal affairs minister. But we have similarly acknowledged a diversity of issues on international affairs, dividing it up between foreign affairs, international trade and international cooperation. And so, if we are to have an intergovernmental affairs minister at all, he or she might be used to provide new focus to the “nation to nation” relationship and negotiations at a governmental level (and, for that matter, such a change might demonstrate the start of something of a new approach to the situation).
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 2:00 PM - 0 Comments
Peter Penashue has released a letter to his constituents.
I was very clear during the campaign that we would follow the rules. I specifically indicated that, in accordance with the law, we could not accept corporate donations. I was not aware of any problems or irregularities during the campaign.
No one is more surprised than I am at the allegations that have arisen since the campaign. No one is more disappointed. That’s why there is a new Official Agent in place to examine all of the paperwork and to work with Elections Canada to correct any mistakes.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 11:07 AM - 0 Comments
“I don’t know anything about it,” said Agatha Ryland, an assistant in Penashue’s constituency office in L’Anse au Loup, N.L. Reached by phone, Ryland said Penashue is travelling the remote Labrador coast handing out several Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medals for community service and achievement. Penashue’s spokesman Cory Hann could not be reached by email or cellphone, and there was no answer at the minister’s Ottawa office.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 4:41 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. It is not necessarily Peter Penashue’s fault that he is the Intergovernmental Affairs Minister. And it is not necessarily Mr. Penashue’s fault that the existence of the Intergovernmental Affairs Minister is something of a mystery. But so long as Mr. Penashue is the Intergovernmental Affairs Minister it is for him to justify that existence.
Indeed, to accept the job is to take on something of an existential crisis. To be the Intergovernmental Affairs Minister is to consider why we have an Intergovernmental Affairs Minister. It has been this way for some years. And it is something Stephane Dion—a former Intergovernmental Affairs Minister, but one who had an identifiable job description—began to ponder a year ago.
“Mr. Speaker, is there a Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs in this Conservative government?” he asked last December.
“Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, if this government even has such a minister,” he sighed last March.
Mr. Penashue might’ve had only to contend with Mr. Dion’s fussiness were it not for the questions about the accounting practices of his election campaign. Such questions have now led to those larger questions. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 11:00 AM - 0 Comments
The Canadian Press considers Peter Penashue’s present predicament.
Embattled Conservative cabinet minister Peter Penashue is facing a double-barrelled opposition attack. He’s been under siege for weeks amid allegations of illegal financing for the 2011 campaign that got him elected to the House of Commons. Now he’s under attack for being missing in action since he got to the Commons.
New Democrats say public records show 79 per cent of Penashue’s ministerial travel has been in his home province of Newfoundland and Labrador, even though he’s the intergovernmental affairs minister responsible for managing federal relations with all provinces and territories.
It took two tries yesterday, but the opposition did a response from Mr. Penashue.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 11:55 AM - 0 Comments
Yesterday afternoon, the NDP sent up Robert Aubin to ask Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Peter Penashue about his portfolio. Mr. Penashue hasn’t been answering questions about his election campaign, but Government House leader Peter Van Loan pointed at Mr. Penashue to take this one. Only Mr. Penashue didn’t seem to get the message and so, after a couple of seconds, Mr. Van Loan pointed to Tony Clement, who then stood and responded.
The NDP tried again and Mr. Van Loan again pointed at Mr. Penashue and this Mr. Penashue got the message and stood and offered an awkward response. A third question about intergovernmental affairs was then directed to Kerry-Lynne Findlay, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of justice. A final question, about Mr. Penashue’s election campaign, was taken by Pierre Poilievre, the designated government spokesman on questions of ethics.
Yesterday’s one response from Mr. Penashue was the first time he’s spoken in the House this fall and just the tenth time he’s spoken this year.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 6:53 PM - 0 Comments
I will be explaining my situation and I think it’s very important that I speak with my constituents … we have an official agent reviewing the file and hopefully we’ll be in a better position by then. But I want to speak with my constituents and I think it’s very important that I do that … There’s lots going on and I want to speak with my constituents and explain what happened during the election and I think once they hear the explanation I think they will be in a better position to understand how things unfolded. But, in the meantime … once this week is over, I’ll be flying to Labrador and I want to speak with my constituents.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, November 2, 2012 at 8:58 AM - 0 Comments
And then there’s Penashue himself. While all this plays out he sits in the Commons, taking the heat, but taking no questions. It’s a difficult position to be in. Attacked, but muzzled. Apparently unable to defend himself, or to explain, which is the essence of parliamentary accountability … The Conservatives clearly believe the best tactic is to let others answer for the weakened members of the herd, and to turn the focus back on past opposition breaches whenever they can. It certainly muddies the water. But it doesn’t allow people like Penashue to see their own way clear of a controversy, even in cases when it could be of their own making.
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.