Layton least civil Parliamentarian: study -

Layton least civil Parliamentarian: study

McMaster University analysis rated MPs’ conduct in Question Period


Jack Layton was the most uncivil politician in the House of Commons during Question Period before this spring’s election, according to a recent analysis conducted by researchers at McMaster University. The researchers created a civility index that rated each MP’s behaviour on a scale of one to 100. Included in the scores were factors such as the level of rudeness, aggression and anger. Only politicians who spoke at least 50 times were given a score. Layton, who was pegged lowest on the civility index, was given a score of 39. Conservative MP Rona Ambrose had the highest score for an MP, while Speaker Peter Miliken was rated the most civil person in Parliament with a score of 80. Researcher Alex Sevigny said its not surprising that opposition leaders would have a low score, since they’re often forced into a more combative position by questioning the actions of the MPs in government.

Montreal Gazette

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Layton least civil Parliamentarian: study

  1. Story needs some sort of link to the original research or it’s worthless as an informative story. What, for instance, is their criteria for “rudeness”? What do they consider evidence of “anger”?

    Of course, I’m well aware that the point of the story isn’t to inform but to drive advertising views, but you guys could at least pay lip-service to the idea.

    • I was just wondering…if the study had found that Baird was the least civil..would you be as skeptical of its methodology?

      • Yup. But to be honest, I probably wouldn’t have noticed the article.

        • The original work for the story was done by the communications dept at McMaster University and will be presented at a seminar.  As you can see, this link only provides a small piece of their findings.  I am guessing Macleans and all the Canadian newspapers received a press release.  The entire research work likely won’t be availabe for your perusal until the seminar.

  2. Obviously such studies should be taken with a huge grain of salt, but it’s not insignificant that “nice guy” Layton was rated as the least civil.  I would have expected one of the so-called tory attack dogs like Baird and Pollievre to be last.

    Well, this should help Aaron Wheery and his little (pointless) pet project to restore civility in the HoC, he needs to direct his criticism at Layton (not holding my breath).

    • His name is Wherry. You don’t even have the self-discipline to rise above tedious schoolyard name calling, and you’re blabbing about others’ efforts at civility? 

  3. Did they control for their normal personality? Layton seems pretty fired up and angry all the time, so maybe some adjustment is needed.

    Glad to see the Speaker is the most civil.

  4. Well, yeah, part of the job of an opposition member to point out just how stinky the government’s turd is that day and there usually isn’t a “polite” way of doing so. I haven’t seen anywhere where the precise indicators of the “civility index” are mentioned, but I’m wondering if relevance factors in at all: we want our members to be angry over relevant things – we don’t want them wasting time and energy over meaningless labels and grandstanding.

  5. I googled this McMaster project and although the findings are not all available.  There were a few listed on  They included things like:  how often the opposition speaks: 55% of the time v. govt: 45%.  women MP’s: 7% (even though they make up 21% of the house).  How often are statements made with a calm demeanor: 2/3 (67%) of the time.  It will be interesting to reach through the whole research project when it is presented at a upcoming seminar.  I wonder what Jack Layton thinks of the whole idea that he is perceived as the least civil by a university communications dept. when he just promised to bring civility back to parliament.

  6. Layton is uncivil?… compared to Baird or a party in contempt of parliament? hmmm

  7. Why should we be surprised by this?  Layton is the guy who accused Paul Martin of killing homeless people.  Stay classy, Jack!

  8. Good for Jack.  The opposition lost the recent election because they weren’t mean enough.  By now it should be obvious that a large amount of uncivility is needed to deal with the thugs – Harper, Baird, et al. – who have hijacked the Government of Canada, oops, sorry, the Harper Government.