The Backbench Top Ten

by Aaron Wherry

Our weekly, and wholly arbitrary, ranking of the ten most worthy, or at least entertaining, MPs, excluding the Prime Minister, cabinet members and party leaders. A celebration of all that is great and ridiculous about the House of Commons. Last week’s rankings appear in parentheses.

1. Bob Rae (10)
This week in review, Part 1. Let’s allow that Bob Rae and Michael Ignatieff promoted an extension to the mission in Afghanistan—a position made clear months ago—for no other reason than a conviction that it was the right thing to do. Does that assuage any of their critics? Are we not always moaning that our leaders don’t stand up, no matter how popular or unpopular, for what they believe? Were all those Liberals who now are complaining about the extension just assuming that the Prime Minister would never change his mind and thus the Ignatieff-Rae proposal was moot? Or is the complaint merely one of process: that this should have been debated in the House and voted upon? If so, would they all now be fine if the proposal had passed?
2. Glen Pearson (-)
This week in review, Part 2. Looking back, was this perhaps the dumbest week in the history of our democracy? And does this dispatch from Mr. Pearson make you feel any better or simply worse?
3. Michael Chong (4)
It’s surely now time to add the abolishment of members’ statements—the 15 minutes before QP reserved for MPs to stand up and celebrate local bake sales or impugn one another’s reputations—to Mr. Chong’s proposed reforms, no?
4. Larry Miller (2)
5. Maxime Bernier (3)
6. Keith Martin (5)
7. Jack Harris (6)
8. Serge Menard (7)
9. James Rajotte (8)
10. Ken Dryden (9)

Previous rankings: March 12March 19April 3April 10April 25May 1May 9May 16May 23May 30June 6June 13June 20September 26October 3October 10October 17October 24October 31November 7. November 14.

The Backbench Top Ten

  1. Re: #1
    Be careful what you wish for….

  2. AW, you do realize that as you beef up the commentary on the top three, we will eventually ask you to drop the remaining seven, and instead rank and comment on the three backbenchers who are "not hot".

  3. I attended a Liberal meeting on Saturday. I meant to ask Glen Pearson at the meeting how many emails he'd received about Rights and Democracy, but I never had the chance. Thank goodness for that, since when I came home I read his blog. I felt terrible–just awful–that he spent all afternoon with us instead of with his family on one of the two days he had 'off'. And some of us (including me) were complaining, a bit, that he wasn't there in the morning! I sincerely hope he doesn't know how many emails he received on Rights and Democracy until tomorrow.

  4. Looking back, was this perhaps the dumbest week in the history of our democracy?

    Case in point.

  5. Sorry you feel that way Jenn. I was in Sarnia on Saturday morning, speaking at a fundraiser for the Liberal candidate there. Glen

  6. Thanks for the reply, Glen. And I don't feel that way, now that I read the blog and discovered you were off to an even earlier meeting than I was!

  7. Mr. Pearson's dispatch leaves me deeply appreciative of our MPs, and more than a little worried that the long-time "lifers" who actually do enjoy a couple decades of absentee parenting are very much the wrong people for the job.

    Also, if the federal government would mind its own damned constitutional business, there would be blessedly less nonsense to occupy the MPs time in Ottawa. Just sayin'.

  8. What a whiner! Just sayin'.

  9. Whoa. Read The Honourable Mr. Pearson's blog. That fellow has a nice turn of phrase.I caught myselt thinking "he's too smart to be an MP" than stopped, looked at what i had just read and realized that's exactly what he was talking about.

    Sometimes, we're all to quick to reach for the flippant.

  10. I know Windsor is near the USA, I didn't know it was actually part of it.

  11. It was indulgent.

    And it would have been nice if he mentioned everyone who works in the oil sands, away from their families for weeks at a time.

    Plus his comments on Joy Smith in an earlier post were completely unacceptable.

    To be honest when I read most of Pearson's work I get the following impression:

    I'm earnest and i'm a good guy!! So i'm going to use that as a foundation to relentlessly attack the partisanship, lack of seriousness, and poor behavior I find in others!

    Even though sometimes my attacks kind of make me sound like all those bad things !! But its ok 'cause I really, really, really am earnest and a good guy!!!!

    Don't judge others. You become your enemies. Good advice Cats.

  12. Re. 1. Completely false.

    a) Country, party & caucus long on record as opposed.

    b) Country, party & caucus reiterated opposition after Riggy floated balloon.

    c) C, p & c have reiterated opposition whenever debate has arisen.

    c) "Policy" adopted not by membership at policy convention, not advocated by Country, not adopted by caucus after free and fair debate. "Policy" simply imposed by Riggy.

    d) Cowardly, not brave, since Riggy knew would lose in debate with Country, party & caucus. A fair debate and vote, in party, caucus and parliament would have been noble principled leadership. They were most distinctly not.

    e) Riggy made secret deal with CPC, unbeknownst to Country, parfy and caucus, through kind offices of American ambassador. Honduras much? Democracy much, Wherry?

    f) Beyond deal, as exposed now, there is also stage direction-timing. Parliament breaks. Weekend means leak, Soudas. Plays out. Harper confirms, "with regret", on R-Day. Next week, thurs oppo day is LPC, so no inconvenient Bloc/NDP motion possible, which might have permitted some party-caucus-country democracy. Off to Nato. Done and dusted. None of this was accidental. Think on that.

    g) How many times has Wherry lamented for Canadian democracy, within parliament, caucuses, parties and country? Now it's incidental? Re. WAR, life and death?

    h) Turn Wherry around. Where were his or others' articles calling for caucus, party, parliamentary and country debate of and vote on Riggy policy, when announced? After? Recently?

    i) How did Iggy become leader, and Rae named foreign affairs critic? Legitimacy? Fix repeated.

    j) In summary, fix put in to install Iggy as Oppo Leader, instead of fellow dip kid, uni chum and roommate. Chum made foreign affairs critic. Country, party & caucus against Riggy Afghan policy. So Riggy bypasses country, party and caucus. Does secret deal with government, contrary to role as Official Opposition. Deal brokered by envoy of foreign power (should be sent home immediately, for interfering in affairs of sovereign state. Course, said same for Wilkins and Cellucci). Play timed and rolled out so as to prevent any time for uprising in country, partry and caucus, with connivance of Riggy and government. LPC uses Oppo day for motion on F-35s. GoC goes to Lisbon. Gets pat on head. All worth it?

    k) Wherry, chronicler laureate of democracy, praises Riggy for their bravery, their principles, and admonishes critics. Bravery…hiding from debate, fixing secret deal? When you know you can't win debate, can't win vote, brave to do secret deals and fix game? Principles…Wherry now also bravely dismissive of country, party, caucus, parliamentary democracy? Critics were critical all way through, at every chance…where was Wherry? What did he write? Did he call for debate and vote? No. And now, Wherry dismisses democracy and critics, defends foreign interference, imperial-brokered backroom deal committing Canadians to war for another three years, minimum, with consequent death and injury, a process that even Guatemala would have found shameful, back in the day (more sovereign democracy than us, now, perhaps).

    l) Principles, democracy, mean respecting legitimate processes even when odds against one. Opposite of secret deals, fixes, and running from debates and votes. Harper and Riggy are the opposite of principled democrats. And so too, apparently, is Wherry, whose personal affections seem to outweigh his affected principles.

    m) Don't force majeure me, and my country, and expect me and mine to play along, or pretend to like it. No. We're taking numbers.

    n) Enough of this sickery. Waste of time. Just thought better of Wherry. More fool me. This is Canada.

    o) never again.

  13. Hate to sound like a Reformer, but the real power over important things is already in the provinces. Perhaps it would be a good idea of dismantle a lot of the distant Ottawa power centre and get some more power down to the provincial level where politicians can live closer to the capital and have a more sane lifestyle, and see more of their family and constituents.
    Get Ottawa down to foreign affairs and trade.
    Some of the emptiness in Ottawa, disfunctional House, QP, horse race media coverage etc may be the result of the important issues, health education etc, being discussed at provincial capitals. The media focusses too much on Ottawa and not enough on local capitals. The actual importance is the reverse of the coverage.

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