So long Rona, hello Jagmeet: Ottawa Power Rankings

Who’s up? Rona Ambrose, who leaves on a high note. Who’s down? A senator under fire for going to dinner.


 

Jason Kenney sees through his dream of uniting the right. The new Official Languages Commissioner is dismissed as a patronage appointment. 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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RONA AMBROSE

About the closest thing you can get to attending your own wake is announcing your departure from a long political career. The interim Conservative leader did just that this week, saying she will resign her seat before the summer break to work in the private sector—where, she won’t yet say (though she did announce a position as visiting global fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based Wilson Center). The valedictory accolades poured in from Ambrose’s own party and adversaries alike on the floor of the House of Commons, with praise for her genial nature and guidance of her party with such a steady hand that it’s raking in donations even while running a divisive leadership campaign.

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JASON KENNEY

The former minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism ran for and in March won the leadership of Alberta’s Progressive Conservative Party on a platform to unite with the opposition Wildrose Party, and now that marriage is a go. Members of both parties must still approve the merger, and Kenney will have to compete with Wildrose leader Brian Jean for leadership of this new entity in order to lead the charge against Premier Rachel Notley’s NDP. But for now, Kenney can savour the interim victory of having united Alberta’s right, as he planned.

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JAGMEET SINGH

The NDP star at Queen’s Park finally officially threw himself into the race to replace federal party leader Thomas Mulcair. And he immediately stands out from the pack in a number of ways that should make him an instant frontrunner: he’s young, hip, hails from the politically engaged Sikh community and would be the first non-Caucasian to lead a federal party in Canada. In short, he’s impeccably modern. And while he’s a relative unknown outside of Ontario, the NDP’s voting system favours candidates with heavy support from one vote-rich area of the country.

WHO’S DOWN:

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WORK-LIFE BALANCE

Government House Leader Bardish Chagger is seeking to extend sitting hours in the House of Commons until midnight. It’s tough to weep for politicians who get a summer break as long as elementary schools, but that’s a hefty slog of late nights. The move is intended to goose the sluggish legislative agenda for which the Liberals have been criticized, but whether that lack of productivity is due to obstructionist Tories and a cranky Senate or to a government that has poisoned the well depends on who you ask. Bill Lumbergh voice: “Yeah. So, I’m gonna need you to go ahead and work until midnight every night this month.”

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STEPHEN GREENE

The Conservative senator was booted from caucus this week for accepting the wrong dinner party invitation. No, for real: this is not a plot line from a reality show about vengeful socialites. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invited all senators who introduced government legislation to dinner as thanks, and to hear Greene tell it, the choice he was offered by Tory Senate leader Larry Smith was “dinner with him or your spot at our table.” The fact that the legislation he helped usher through was so dull that even its mother would have a hard time applauding it makes the whole thing all the more ridiculous.

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MADELEINE MEILLEUR

When Trudeau announced her appointment as Commissioner of Official Languages, he praised Meilleur as “a tenacious advocate” who would “bring a deep understanding and enormous dedication to this position, and will hold our government to account.” But the NDP and Conservatives are livid about what they see as a partisan appointment shoved through without proper consultation. They argue that the longtime Liberal MPP and Ontario cabinet minister’s cozy history casts doubt on her ability or inclination to hold the government’s feet to the fire, as expected of an independent position that reports directly to the House of Commons and Senate.


 

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