The new line-up

John Baird takes over as house leader for the departing Jay Hill

by Aaron Wherry

We interrupt this vacation to note that the Prime Minister is on television explaining that Parliament depends on the “maturity and wisdom” of its members.

So John Baird fills Jay Hill’s spot as government house leader, Chuck Strahl fills Baird’s spot at Transport and John Duncan fills Strahl’s spot at Indian Affairs.

As Transport Minister John Baird not only handled questions on the federal stimulus program, he took the Prime Minister’s questions when Mr. Harper was absent from QP and defended other ministers (Helena Guergis, par exemple) when the questions became too incessantly uncomfortable.

As house leader, Jay Hill was rarely called upon to take a question. There seemed a relatively straightforward understanding of his mandate, Mr. Hill generally only made to stand when the question applied to house affairs (the government’s decision to withhold its staffers from parliamentary committees). Mr. Hill was subsequently celebrated, upon the announcement of his impending retirement, as a fine student of Parliamentary procedure.

So, at first, it might seem odd that the former would succeed the latter. At the same time, it perhaps serves to recall that Jay Hill’s predecessor as government house leader was Peter Van Loan. And, as house leader, Mr. Van Loan was this government’s most prominent QP performer.




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