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. Jack Harris (2)
Mr. Harris seems like just the sort of negotiator you’d want on your side: insistent, thorough and somewhat indignant, with just a hint that, if necessary, he’d step outside and settle matters the old-fashioned way. Maybe he’d rather not fight, but he’s not afraid to do so. Anyway. One could easily overstate with hyperbole the significance of this week’s deal, but we also shouldn’t understate the accomplishment or reduce it to a simple election calculation. What happened this week was impressive and it will have, one imagines, lasting consequences. That it was driven in part by Parliamentarians like Mr. Harris is heartening and should go some way to undermining the reflexive, lazy cynicism that is often employed when discussing this place.
Maxime Bernier (1)
3. Michael Chong (-)
4. Pat Martin (4)
Mr. Martin, on Thursday, attempting to link the tales of Helena Guergis and Lisa Raitt. “Mr. Speaker, the member for Simcoe—Grey was thrown to the wolves on the flimsiest of allegations by “Magnum B.S.”, yet when a big shot lobbyist buys 40 $250 tickets to a fundraiser for a minister and then successfully lobbies that cabinet minister at her own fundraiser, that is just business as usual for the Conservative lobbyist daisy chain. How can the Prime Minister tolerate what amounts to a $10,000 bribe of one of his ministers? And whatever happened to the idea of getting big money out of politics?”
5. Francine Lalonde (5)
6. Michelle Simson (-)
That we can know how much Ms. Simson spent on printing holiday cards—$4,200—one wonders what everyone else is afraid of.
Helena Guergis (5)
Well, if nothing else, she’s got Alf Apps’ sympathy.
8. Shelly Glover (8)
9. Daniel Paille (9)
This week’s episode of Paille v. Flaherty was typically entertaining.
10. Candice Hoeppner (-)
The Globe thinks she’s found a “clever” way around the ban on out-of-riding mailings. By Globe standards this makes her a potential future prime minister.

Previous rankings: March 12March 19April 3April 10April 25May 1. May 9.


The Backbench Top Ten

  1. "heartening and should go some way to undermining the reflexive, lazy cynicism"

    It really helps when we are reminded that there are indeed some Parliamentarians who work to ensure positive things are accomplished. One hopes others will notice and copy their examples – to provide a legacy which Canadians may admire in the future.

    Rather than the high school newspaper favoured format of 'hot/not' … you give us the opportunity to reflect on the member's work and to determine where they belong on the continuum of notorious to noble. You always present interesting choices on this list.

  2. Aaron – I agree with your placement of Jack Harris – he has – without self promotion – vaulted over Mr. Layton and his two usual alternates – Libby Davies and Thomas Mulcair – the first who is usually too preachy and indignant with partisan zeal and the other who too often appears to be talking down to his interviewers and fellow Parliamentians.
    As for Ms. Hoeppner and Ms. Glover – they are both likely to disappear back into backbench purgatory once the dust of Gun Registry grandstanding has settled!

  3. Hoeppner – being used because her specialty is communications.

    Hoeppner was born in Morden, Manitoba. She previously worked in the financial planning industry and later ran her own successful political consulting firm. In 2004, she was the Manitoba campaign manager for Stephen Harper's leadership bid for the Conservative Party of Canada. She has acted as an advisor to several Members of Parliament, and served as chief organizer for the Conservative Party in Manitoba.

    In otherwords, she's doing Harper's communications work on the long gun registry issue – whether she has any expertise on the issue I don't know but she's good at the spin

  4. Hoeppner has stated that she has never used a gun, and didn't grow up with them in her home. So yes, you're correct, they are using her, or she is allowing herself to be use.
    How brave of this government: after four years in power their promise to get rid of the gun registry is being handled by a backbencher's bill.

  5. Where's Pablo Rodriguez on this list? He has helped to remind us all that the Liberal sense of entitlement is still alive and well.

    • That was my question as well two yen, you forgot to mention that it seems the "neutral" media sat on the story as well while we were entertained with barrels of ink (photons/electrons?) devoted to Conservative short-comings and moral failings.

  6. Re. Jack Harris and you comment "with just a hint that, if necessary, he'd step outside and settle matters the old-fashioned way."

    He and Danny WIlliams are former law partners so parhaps he does have some exprience of settling things "the old-fashioned way."

    • And Danny Boy and Bob Rae were Rhode's scholar classmates…who'd'a thunk?

  7. Hoeppner recently visited the Timmins-James Bay riding for a little chat at the Annual General Meeting:

    I wonder if it has anything to do with that being Charlie Angus' Riding, one of the NDP twelve who will decide this thing. Angus will be voting for abolishment. The registry is dead, and so are the Liberals in Northern Ontario.