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Michael Chong handles the hecklers: Ottawa Power Rankings

Who’s up in the nation’s capital? A pair of leadership hopefuls in two parties. Who’s down? Liberals looking to become MPs.


 

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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.

WHO’S UP:

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MICHAEL CHONG

With Kevin O’Leary absent from the debate stage this week, the rural southwestern Ontario MP was the target of every other candidate there because of his revenue-neutral carbon tax proposal, which he argues is the most conservative way to tackle climate change. Chong has received similar treatment in earlier debates, along with heckles from the crowd. Through it all, he’s kept a cool head and refused to be cowed by it or back off on his stances.

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CHARLIE ANGUS

The Timmins MP and social cause crusader finally made his widely expected entry to the NDP leadership race. True to style, he launched his campaign with speeches and music in a bar, and a vow to “stir the s–t up.” The leadership contest that’s been in wait-and-see mode for a year has shifted into gear now, with the entries of B.C. MP Peter Julian and Quebec MP Guy Caron; Manitoba MP Niki Ashton is expected to declare herself soon.

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FRANCOIS-PHILIPPE CHAMPAGNE

The newish international trade minister will attend the first-ever meeting of Commonwealth trade ministers in London next week. As the UK prepares to withdraw from the European Union—Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to give notice by the end of March—it’s counting on allies like Canada to collaborate with in drafting its own trade deals.

WHO’S DOWN:

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KEVIN O’LEARY

First, he skipped the Edmonton debate in protest of the “terrible” format but also maybe because the debate was bilingual and he is not. Then a 2011 video surfaced of O’Leary cackling frattishly, clad only in a towel and complaining of CBC, where he was a regular commenter at the time: “The whole place is run by women…it’s ridiculous. So you know how I get back at them? Today when I do that hit by Skype, I won’t have any pants on.” Still: O’Leary remains the frontrunner in the race.

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LOCAL LIBERAL NOMINATIONS

In two by-elections, the Liberal party apparatus has come under fire for perceptions it is yanking strings to install preferred candidates. In Markham, rivals say they’ve been asked to bow out and support former PMO staffer Mary Ng, while in Montreal, borough mayor Alan DeSousa says he was dumped from the ballot. Some party operatives point to his links with a corruption-plagued administration as explanation.

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KELLIE LEITCH

The Conservative leadership candidate released a new video that purported to allow her to speak directly to voters and make the case for her leadership plans and priorities. Instead, the whole affair looked like a 2 a.m. local cable access talk show viewed through the lens of some hefty post-surgery painkillers. The video fuelled a full Twitter cycle of howling derision.


 

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