The Backbench Top Ten -

The Backbench Top Ten


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. Maxime Bernier (9)
How many are impressed with Mr. Bernier not because of what he’s said so far, but simply because he’s been willing to say it out loud? How often are we simply impressed anytime an MP is willing to seemingly speak freely?

2. Francine Lalonde (1)
3. Helena Guergis (10)
If the Conservative go ahead and get another candidate for Simcoe-Grey, what are the chances she runs as an independent and what are the odds she wins? And what happens if neither the ethics commissioner nor the RCMP pursue charges of wrongdoing? How certain are we that she’s not going to end up seeming hard done by here?
4. Shelly Glover (2)
Ms. Glover, asked after QP on Friday if William Shatner would make a good governor general. “I have to admit I’m a Treky. However, I didn’t think that this was what Canadians were seized with frankly. I’d rather talk about the gun registry and how the Liberals tried to force their witnesses in committee onto Canadians and completely disregarded every Canadian who wanted to come to committee and support the repeal of the long gun registry. I  think Canadians are seized with that.”
5. Jack Harris (4)
6. Pat Martin (5)
Mr. Martin explains why, in his opinion, it doesn’t matter if Rahim Jaffer was successful in lobbying the government. “Mr. Speaker, the government’s claim of no harm, no foul because Mr. Jaffer’s illegal lobbying was not successful is laughable. It is like saying if one robs a bank and there is no money in the vault, then no crime took place.”
7. Daniel Paille (3)
Bob Rae (6)
9. Joe Comartin (7)
10. Wayne Easter (-)
Somebody had to ask this question.

Previous rankings: March 12March 19April 3. April 10.


The Backbench Top Ten

  1. I really hope Ms. Glover gets seized out of government soon.

    • Shelly Glover is number one on my list, very down to earth person, a successful police women, a real soccer mum( plays, coaches and sponsors a team), works hard for her community( St Boniface), much better than our previous representative

    • Glover strikes me as a blowhard who thinks her previous life as a Police Officer makes her some kind of "Law and Order" expert. When she starts winning her battles based on facts and not on easily disproved innuendo maybe someone will take her seriously.

  2. Although I suspect it is highly unlikely that Bob Rae will ever succeed as Liberal leader because Ontario voters still brand him with the economic downturn of the early 1990s when he was Ontario's Premier, he is a more compelling figure than Mr. Ignatieff ever could or will be.

    • Fine diplomat, great speaker and probably could make good policy, I agree he is more compelling figure than Ignatieff but he will never get in the west, people don't care about him around here, that will be a tough one .

      I wonder though, if he won the leadership fare and square, if it things will be different now, I know he would be a much better leader but I am talking Canadians connecting with him.

  3. It will be fascinating to see if Bernier can create a conservative movement within the CPC. Of course, it is hard to take his leadership ambitions seriously given his recent past. That said, early on, nobody took Regan seriously either.

    • Ho, ho, ho…damning with faint praise are we? Given the tradition of leaders rotating from one solitude or the other, the pool is not very crowed at Maxime's end (at least among current MPs). That said, are you seriously questioning The Prime Minister's small c credentials? You damn him as an idealouge with a hidden agenda when he governs from his instincts and background and damn him as "not conservative" when he makes concessions to electoral reality on the ground. Worst of all, as Canada keeps its head out of the water as all G7 (and G20) nations are foundering, you give him no, or small credit, for the prudent path he has steered. Imagine if Dion were leading a colalition right now how our nation would be fairing…it would be a race to the bottom and an Obamaesque deficit of nightmare proportions.

      • Most of the conservative commentators that I respect have also pointed out that PM Harper has not even been a conservative much less a small c conservative in terms of fiscal policy. In terms of a social/policy agenda, he has accomplished very little, which many now believe to be an intentional strategy. Yes at times the Senate has modified crime bills etc but more often they have simply not been pushed to conclusion by the government prior to the dissolution of the session.

        I don't damm Harper for being an ideologue, because he isn't. I don't know if he was simply playing a role during his days with the National Taxpayers Coalition or if he has really changed his political, fiscal stance. (By the way, although I do not respect them, the CNTC is one of the groups that do not consider Harper a fiscal conservative.)

        I do blame Harper for being a reckless opportunist who is readily willing to put his own short term political interests ahead of his country. There are many examples. 1) He recognized the national status of Quebec, simply to screw with Ignatieff. He did this without gaining any benefit for Canada (i.e. having Quebec sign the Constitution, or any long term strategy. 2) He tried jacking around with the funding formula of political parties, (without campaigning on it) immediately following an election and immediately preceeding a financial crisis. Yes, he almost created PM Dion which I agree would have been a disaster. 3) He took a never-ending fiscal surplus that was paying huge dividends for the country and eliminated it (in good times) within a couple of years of taking office. 4) By playing fast and loose with parliamentary traditions, he has risked making the Supreme Court much more powerful, and remarkable has people taking about the need for a GG that is willing to stand up to a PM.

        If you are a conservative 1) should bother you, 2) &3) should give you cause to wonder and 4) should give you nightmares.

        • 1) Special consideration for Quebec? oh horror! is that a first in Canadian politics? 2) In my view (with, senior, off the record corroberation) was a strategic strike to reset a coalition agenda (long planned though denied) And had he not acted what would have been the outcome? Even you recognize that folly with hindsight. 3)That surplus was our money, do you wish to volunteer to pay more? If so, make your cheque payable to the reciever general. 4) Prime Minister Harper is a choir boy when it comes to Parliamentary tradition, relative to his two immedate previous office holders…and the media were their friends not intractable foes.

          • Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't "special consideration for Quebec" one of the foundational grievances of The Reform Party?

          • And how did that work out for that now extinct, never in power party? The Prime Minister, unlike others, recognized early on that a protest-based, regional party, though adorable in many repects, was never going to win anything on a national level and adjusted his sights accordingly…and how is that working out for him in his fourth year in the big chair?

          • ummmm…..I'm not sure how this burnishes Harper's conservative credentials. Isn't that what we were discussing?

          • What Peter is saying is " dam it if we have to find a pudgy Jean Chretien think-alike in order to be in power… so be it!"

          • 3)That surplus was our money, do you wish to volunteer to pay more?

            If you asked me if I ever wanted to pay off my mortgage, I'd say yes.
            I was quite satisfied paying my part in reducing our debt.

            It's a twisted Conservative talking point to suggest that if you believe in paying down our debt you should be willing to pay more than everyone else. What a laugh. We're in it together. Unfortunately what we're in is deficit.

          • On #4, you will have to provide concrete examples. I do not recall country-wide hand wringing over parliamentary traditions being foresaken in those two mandates. There have been a number of recent attempts to create that fiction, but I would love to see equivalent contemporary sources cited to correct me.

          • On #4, you will have to provide concrete examples. I do not recall country-wide hand wringing over parliamentary traditions being foresaken in those two mandates. There have been a number of recent attempts to create that fiction, but I would love to see equivalent contemporary sources cited to correct me.

          • #4 wrt the supreme court is not the prorogation issue but rather the Khadr case. Although in the case specifics the government got its way, one of the collateral issues that came out was that the Supreme Court declared that it had the power to dictate foreign policy. In their words, the

            “courts are empowered to make orders ensuring that the government's foreign affairs prerogative is exercised in accordance with the constitution.”

            They wisely chose to be nonprescriptive in the Khadr case, but the statement above is still new ground in Canadian governance.

          • #4 wrt the GG see this week's Hill Times and an article by Macleod.

          • I'm certain you weren't trying to be ironic rad, but you're kind of helping my case about an antagonistic press. I suggest you do some background reading on Francois Beaudoin (sp) and the BDB of Canada, or perhaps the whole adscam affair as handled by Chretien in his majority, or the canceled S&R helicopter deal, or the used submarines…then there's the spiked sidewinder report and JC's current business interests with the PRC, his life-long entaglement in the Desmarais affairs and on and on and on…

          • All lamentable cases, but none in the subverting parliament game.

          • First off, they were not "unfortunate", they were calculated. They failed to rise to the level you condem the Conservatives for because JC and the majority boys controled the House agenda and the all the committee's agendas. With the exception of the NP (and most of the senior writers here are from there) the national media narrative was more excuse making than investigating. Even at the NP li'l Lenny subjected us to a front page editorial, essentialy repudiating his paid staffers and editors and defending JC. Google Coyne's "Why it Matters" about JC and the BDC (circa 2000-01) there is a litany of what you are accusing the Consevatives of aimed square at JC and his homey's.

          • Further, can you imagine the reaction in the media is this prime Minister throttled a protestor? Or, his Cheif of Staff was caught on tape calling Obama an assh**e? They were so crooked and corrupt on so many levels that the ethical bar was set appallingly low. Even the whole Gomery dog and pony show was designed to limit damage rather than expose the real facts of more than a decade of Liberal sleaze. I understand you have good intentions, but the heart is for feeling, the brain is for thinking.

          • One of the difficulties on these boards is to keep threads on topic. Deflections work only if the sleight of hand fools correspondents into taking the bait.

            So, in the interest of holding you to account:

            You still haven't answered #4.

          • Your cognition seems impaired rad. Somehow you have reached a conclusion supported only by inuendo and partisanship about "subverting" the will of a partisan pack of hyenas who mostly have tried to make a mountain out of a molehill, enabled by the same journos who gave JC a pass on far more egregious failings. Do you see the finance committee seeking unredacted bank of canada memos? Gee, I wonder why they don't just defeat the government and force an election if the issue so grave and the consequences so threatening? Oh, that's right, they'll lose…again.

          • ho hum

          • It's a shame peter that you don't subscribe to ID. That way, a casual reader could read your body of contributions to these discussion boards, compare them to others' and come to their own conclusions. In my experience, your main contribution is to cleverly – I'll give you your due – deflect a comment stream down the nearest rabbit hole, sucking well meaning commenters down with you. You have yet to provide a single unambiguous answer to anything I have ever called you on and you have just failed to break your string. As soon as you resort to personal insult it's usually a sign you have reached your limit.

            Your other rhetorical gambit is the bucket defence.

          • I don't really understand the id thing so I don't bother. I used to post under my own name, but that has a tendency to elicit unwanted communicatons at the home front. I've been "outed" by Wells on his blog and threatened with banning for behavior I still am at loss to explain as bad. While I do not enjoy debating yourself and your deluded "thumbs up" minions, I persist because you seem reasonably bright and as you mature there may be hope for you. I strongly suggest YOU review your comments and see if you can see why I would diagnose your condition as projection a la the DSM. Hint, stop posting all your outrage in "have you stopped beating your wife" type context and you may get better responses. Did you google the coyne piece? It supports my argument (and shreds yours) in spades.

  4. Shelley Glover have no sense of humour? Can't she stay away for just one moment from schmoozing Harper? Harper's talking points no matter what. She's looking for a quick cabinet position perhaps?

    Lighten up Shelley – life's too short.

  5. Adam Radwanski on #5 Pat Martin:

    However offensive Jaffer may be, I'm still not sure he can compete with Pat Martin when it comes to demeaning parliamentarians.

  6. Yes, for us to be impressed that a CPC MP is actually speaking beyond the talking points as with Max-B, says something more about SH than anything. But, I guess we could give some credit to Max for his bravery.