QP Live: Leaders mourn Mandela, MPs get feisty

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Stephen Harper and Tom Mulcair are in South Africa today with dozens of other world leaders, mourning Nelson Mandela. Their absence means parliamentarians will serve up their typical mix of partisan fury, dawdling questions, meandering answers, snipes and counter-snipes and counter-snipe rejoinders, and probably a couple of worthwhile exchanges.

The Tory benches had experimented with civility for a few days, but the back stretch of yesterday’s session seemed to render that approach a thing of the past. Now, Speaker Andrew Scheer is experimenting with lowering the boom on questioners who don’t stick to government business. Will the Speaker continue to tut-tut with some frequency? Will the opposition change tack? Oh, the drama.

Maclean’s is your home for the daily political theatre that is Question Period, when MPs trade barbs and take names for 45 minutes every day. If you’ve never watched, check out our primer, which we produced with J-Source. Today, QP runs from 2:15 p.m. until just past 3. We tell you who to watch, we stream it live, and we liveblog all the action. The whole thing only matters if you participate. Chime in on Twitter with #QP.


The Wright-Duffy affair will continue to hog the ball, at least some of the time, during Question Period. But the government’s handling of its claim that the north pole is Canadian turf will also earn the ire of the opposition benches.





QP Live: Leaders mourn Mandela, MPs get feisty

  1. I’m confused. I thought the Conservatives had formed the government, and that the NDP was the official opposition. To hear the Conservatives “answer” questions, you’d swear it was the other way around.

    • The whole thing does seem to descend down a rabbit hole occasionally, with the government acting as though the role of Canada’s government is to hold the opposition to account.

      What’s also fun is when the Tories act as though their agenda is being slowed and/or thwarted by the opposition, and/or the courts. To hear them speak sometimes you’d think that members of the government were somehow unaware of the fact that the Tories now hold a majority in both the House and the Senate, and that the majority of the Supreme Court consists of Stephen Harper appointees. On some files (like Senate reform) the Tories actually go so far as to slow down their own bills, while acting as though it’s the opposition that’s getting in their way.

      It’s ludicrous.

      For all of the time the Tories pined for a majority government they do seem determined at times to make everyone forget that they have one now.

      • It doesn’t even make sense from a tactical point of view, to me. It’s one thing to keep the spectre of the opposition taking power alive in a minority parliament, but why on earth keep planting the seed in voters’ minds that the NDP could form government some day – particularly when that party is trailing in third place?!

        • Asked and answered.

        • You’re assuming a tactic has to be rational. The CPC define everything they are by what they are not. It’s an ad-hoc construction of identity driven by fear. It has gotten them this far, so it obviously works. A self-affirming identity doesn’t drop the tactic just because it has succeeded.