Who are these guys?


Amid concern over some of the candidates rounding out the furthest reaches of the NDP campaign, Les Perreaux offers a short history of the unlikely MP.

Old hands in Quebec political coverage recount the legend of 1962, when 26 Social Credit MPs from Quebec were elected in an unexpected breakthrough. The story goes that instead of heading to Ottawa to Parliament Hill, a couple of the newly minted MPs showed up for work at the National Assembly in Quebec City. Sympathetic workers at the provincial legislature were said to have corrected the MPs on their political geography and sent them on their way toward Ottawa.


Who are these guys?

  1. I really liked the story's conclusion:

    Brian Mulroney had more than 100 rookie MPs among the 211 elected September 4, 1984. Among them was a Purolator driver enlisted to run by party activists when he was delivering a package. Some went on to infamy in the many scandals that plagued Mr. Mulroney's government.

    Others, such as school principal Benoît Bouchard, went on to become one of Mr. Mulroney's most reliable ministers.

    They, and many others, have proven having real people rush into the ranks of the professional politicians is not necessarily a bad thing. But pounding the posts into position is one of the big challenges for any party leader, once the wave has crested.

    • You skipped the part about "car salesman Don Mazankowski". According to Mr. Perreaux, Mr. Mazankowski was a surprise winner in 1984, despite having been a sitting MP since 1968 and a minister in Joe Clark's government.

      • That part was removed when I read the story. There's an editor's note at the bottom:

        Editor's note: An earlier version of this analysis described Don Mazankowski as a rookie MP in 1984. Mr. Mazankowski was, in fact, first elected in 1968.

        • I thought that might be the case. Perreaux was pulling his punches anyway. If he wanted to be serious he would have started with Jag Bhaduria.

      • Yeah, imagine a Tory getting elected in Alberta in 1984. Surprise!

    • Turnip trucks arrive on Parliament Hill every election. The only question is, "How many, how full"?

  2. There's one NDP candidate in Toronto with no riding office,no signs, no website , no attendance at candidate meetings and the only way to reach her is a hotmail account. So far she has not returned any inquirers from reporters. How many of these phantom candidates are actually out there for all the parties? Do they receive money from their national party for running no campaign? Elections Canada should fine parties running virtual candidates. Maybe this a new twist ot in and out.

    • You should really click links when they're provided:

      Placeholder candidates are nothing new at all. They're not getting paid to run, although they would get their costs reimbursed. Eventually.

  3. If by any chance T. Jack became PM, and the Dippers had ministers in charge of say some of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Public Safety, can you imagine the reductions in, and cut off of in some cases of, defence–and esp. intelligence–exchanges by our closest allies? Not to mention the security problems for Canadian organizations.

    These considerations would also obtain if the NDP occupied some such offices under a coalition with a Liberal PM.


    • You mean like the break with the UAE prompted by Harper’s unwillingness to negotiate over passenger jet landing slots?

      Seriously, now – you’re talking about the NDP, not the NSDAP. The social-democratic European states aren’t going to drop Canada because some social democrats landed in Cabinet, and the US needs the oil too much to freak out about pinkos. At most, we’ll end up with a social democracy-light government and a lot of demands to balance the budget from the conservative wing of Parliament. The left will come out disappointed in a few years, the economy will stumble along with the rest of the Americas and Europe (check the tea leaves; something from weak recovery to recession part II is coming), and the world will not have ended.

      The stuff Harper is coming out with now borders on frantic. He was much calmer during the debates. I’m actually a bit surprised he’s going for really blatant fearmongering at this stage – people do tend to gravitate toward positivity.

      • Harper has to be careful, or he'll end up performing a re-run of Martin's 2006 campaign.

  4. I guess I should have put my name in the hat to run as an NDP in Quebec. A back bencher NDP sounds like a great way to get myself a big fat public pension. Does living in Alberta disqualify me?

    • Only from running with the NDP and having a chance in hell. You could run as a Conservative in Alberta for the desired outcome, though – better odds of winning the seat!

      I’m cracking jokes about going on vacation to Vegas and coming back an MP, or at this ludicrous stage a Cabinet minister.

      • But if you just need to be a name up on a website, why can't Turd_F run in Quebec for the NDP and live in Alberta? I doubt Jack would see a problem.

    • Sorry, you have to live in the riding when the election is called.

      • There is no such requirement. You need to be nominated by 100 people who are on the voting list in a riding, but there is no residency requirement for candidates. There never has been.

        • I was sure I had read that recently, but just checked the act and you appear to be right. Mea culpa. Still TF has left it too late for this time.

  5. I took French in high school, and got my 1 required second language credit in French in University (The only class I almost failed!)! Hurray for forced bilingualism!

    • you sound over-qualified.

      • Definitely over-qualified', sorry ;)

  6. Do you have a link to her? She's my new hero if she wins!

      • Wha, wha, wee, wha!

        Je chier sur le plancher!

      • Wow, that gets better all the time. Vacationing in Vegas during the election, doesn't speak French and lives and works in Ottawa – 300km from her riding. But, hey, she says that she is really good with stray animals. Sounds like NDP cabinet material.

      • If "hottest" refers to her picture, don't be fooled. The NDP candidate for Don Valley West hasn't been seen and the picture up on her NDP website is actually a picture of someone else. Not that it matters since she doesn't give any contact info, isn't attending any events, and media attempts to contact her have failed. So no one knows what she actually looks like.

        • sounds like a tory candidate to me!

          • And Layton is doing his Harper imitation as well:

            The leader of the NDP made a stop in Edmonton on Wednesday where he attempted to turn Alberta from blue to orange. Jack Layton took the time to address his supporters at a rally, and even posed for some pictures, but he refused to answer questions from reporters for a second time in our city.

            Layton's refusal to speak to media now has critics on the attack.

            I assume he doesn't want to deal with the message he gives in other parts of Canada about the oil sands and his cap and trade. Kind of like Layton liking to give a different message inside and outside of Quebec. Not a very admirable trait. Whatever one thinks of Ignatieff, his willingness to try to answer tough questions anywhere is admirable.

          • I heard tonight on As It Happens (CBC) words that I never thought to hear.

            "We requested an interview with Jack Layton, but he was unavailable."

            Did we just slip into a parallel universe?

          • He's doing a lot of this. In Alberta he allowed a photo op only, no questions. It is a strategy meant not to mess up his rising polls. If he opens his mouth, there is the chance he could cause the polls to drop.

  7. What do you mean 'who are these guys'? There no different than a Harper MP who is not allowed to speak, not allowed to debate, not allowed to answer a question, etc., etc…they are ALL just sitting back and waiting to collect a pension, on Harpers orders no less!

  8. "Most of them are here." — Layton responds to questions about why some of his candidates are taking vacations during the campaign.

    Well, if most of them are here, that's not too bad — it's not like all the NDP candidates are on vacation this election.

    Actually, I'm surprised. Isn't Layton usually a bit better on the snappy responses than this?

    • The reality is, all the parties have candidates running in ridings in which they have no organization, and ordinarily no chance of winning. Traditionally parties have wanted to run candidates in all ridings to make a claim as "national" parties (the Bloc and pre-1993 Reform parties being exceptions). Now that parties receive a subsidy per vote it is even more important that they have a name on the ballot, even if they haven't the means to actually campaign. It is only in odd circumstances, like this NDP boomlet, the Tory sweep in 1984, or, provincially, the BC Liberals showing in 1991, that some of these candidates actually wind up having to serve – occasionally much to their dismay, and sometimes to the dismay of the party for which they were elected.

      • Kind of hypocritical for Layton to say it is okay for a number of his candidates to be on vacation during the election though, isn't it? And he blamed it on Harper's fixed election date law, forgetting that he had actually voted no confidence in the government himself only a few weeks ago. Bad memory Layton has!

        • Well, yes, the "fixed election date" argument is clearly nonsense, since it wasn't the government that called this election. And even place-holder candidates should try and be in the country.

    • Headline:
      "Layton, running on 'personality politics', now irked it works".

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