A bold week for Canadian foreign policy: Ottawa Power Rankings

Who's up? A foreign minister with a bold plan. Who's down? A Tory leadership runner-up.

The defence minister finally catches a break. The Tory leader mocks the PM’s stint on daytime TV. See who’s up and who’s down in and around Parliament Hill’s corridors of power. And check out the rest of our weekly power rankings.

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WHO’S UP:

CHRYSTIA FREELAND

The foreign minister launched one of the most significant weeks for Canadian foreign policy since the middle of the last century when she delivered a comprehensive speech in the House of Commons on June 6 that set out Canada’s priorities in a world in which the United States wields less influence. Freeland’s plan may have its shortcomings, and it might be short on specifics—but it boldly acknowledged that the world order is changing fast, and that Canada must respond.

ANDREW SCHEER

Not typically known for his sense of humour, Scheer’s ability to land a joke was put to the test early in his tenure as opposition leader in Ottawa—and in front of a tough crowd at the annual press gallery dinner. But he pulled off a better routine than the Prime Minister—including a wonky supply-management joke that saw him take a big swig of 2% milk and a self-deprecating gallery of photoshopped images that acknowledged the, er, notable differences between his physique and that of his parliamentary sparring partner. Not a bad start for the new Tory leader, even if it was only the Ottawa bubble that paid attention.

HARJIT SAJJAN

After weeks of bad press, all it took for Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan to score some good-news headlines was a $62-billion promise. That’s the top-line funding number that came out of Sajjan’s long-awaited new defence policy, which he announced on June 7. Military analysts approached the long-term plan with caution—fixing all that ails the Canadian military takes more than simply making a plan and throwing money at it—but it’s an ambitious way forward that, as the National Post‘s John Ivison notes, opposition Conservatives might have a hard time criticizing.

WHO’S DOWN:

MAXIME BERNIER

After Bernier lost the Conservative leadership to Andrew Scheer by a relatively slim margin, some Tories who supported him complained of a discrepancy between the number of ballots cast and the final count of votes. That was first reported by the Globe and Mail on June 2. Former MP Jay Hill, the Bernier campaign’s western co-chair, called the process “a fiasco.” Party officials defended the integrity of the voting process, but Bernier himself remained silent until the evening of June 6, when he confirmed his unconditional support for Scheer.

KELLY AND RYAN

The bubbly hosts of Live with Kelly and Ryan, Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest, welcomed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to a live taping with Niagara Falls as a scenic backdrop. They kicked off the lighthearted interview with a softball about Trudeau’s sexiness before moving on to his penchant for colourful socks and devotion to the Star Wars franchise. Tory leader Andrew Scheer later mocked the PM’s choice of words on screen—Trudeau had made reference to “investigative national security stuff” and keeping Canada from “falling into a bad space.” Trudeau replied that he was glad Scheer’s new gig “hasn’t kept him from his daytime TV watching.” Scheer quipped back: “After a week of avoiding me, that was the only place I could find him!”

ACCESS TO INFORMATION

Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault certainly dispelled any notion that it was only Stephen Harper’s former Conservative government that oversaw a culture of secrecy. Whatever the Trudeau government has promised, Legault’s latest report makes clear that the access-to-information law on the books “continues to be used as a shield against transparency and is failing to meet its policy objective to foster accountability and trust in our government.” She served up “F” grades to the RCMP, Canada Revenue Agency, Correctional Services of Canada and Global Affairs Canada. Treasury Board President Scott Brison is the government’s point-man on access-to-information reform. Mark this as a promise not yet kept on his watch.