Question period is back. Here’s what you missed.

The new House is an awkward, beautiful expression of democracy

Adrian Wyld/CP

Adrian Wyld/CP

Maclean’s is your home for the daily political theatre that is question period. If you’ve never watched, check out our primer. Today, QP ran from 2:15 p.m. until just past 3. We livestreamed and liveblogged all the action.

The must-see moments

Canada got a look this afternoon at the faces, some new and some old, of the cabinet front-benchers who have promised the sort of “real change” that comes with high expectations. Canada also witnessed the opposition’s first attempt at nailing the government to the wall. Question period saw ex-cabinet ministers try to pin down rookie Liberals, first-time MPs go after Chrétien-era veterans, and lots of people getting comfortable in their new office. Moments always stick out. Several exchanges previewed the Trudeau years to come.

Justin Trudeau & Rona Ambrose

One thing that interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose didn’t do, as she asked question period’s first question, was scream across the aisle, arms aflutter. One thing Trudeau didn’t do was blame the former government for the challenges in front of him. These two might even smile at each other once in a while.

Bill Morneau & Lisa Raitt

Lisa Raitt, the Tory finance critic and ex-Transport minister, barely consulted notes while on the government side—and continued that tradition this afternoon. Finance Minister Bill Morneau copied that style in his every answer. There might be meaty policy exchanges in their future.

John McCallum & Michelle Rempel

Immigration Minister John McCallum is a 15-year veteran of question period, including a long stint in government. He exudes confidence, sans notes. Tory MP Michelle Rempel is already proving relentless, asking detailed, pointed questions. Fireworks may lie ahead.

Carolyn Bennett & Charlie Angus

On question period’s first day back, nobody was more respectful to each other than the Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett and NDP MP Charlie Angus. Both gave each other kudos and pledged to work together to improve the lives of Indigenous people in Canada. And they sounded sincere.

The blog

QP’s context

The first question period after a change in government is an awkward, beautiful expression of democracy: rookie cabinet ministers who have powerful jobs for the first time answer to former cabinet ministers who are now reduced to barking out complaints about the newbs who took their jobs. Everyone’s parliamentary life is flipped, turned upside down. The new Speaker, Geoff Regan, might not know where everyone sits. The interpreters, so practiced at translating the last bunch of MPs, have never heard from 197 first-timers. The teenaged pages haven’t yet realized they’ll soon be the most mature inhabitants of the House.

Yes, everything in the big, old room in that big, old building on Parliament Hill feels so refreshed. The traditional pledge for improved decorum, doomed to fail, hasn’t yet vanished, nor has the promise of more answers in question period. Let’s watch this crop, the 42nd collection of elected commoners, try not to screw it up.

Need a quick primer on who Canada just elected? Check our interactives on the 42nd Parliament and all the connections between cabinet ministers. You might also want to consult the House’s seating plan.

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Question period is back. Here’s what you missed.

  1. Trudeau is not going to be rattled today by this new opposition leader, or leaders.

    • Carpet…..

      apparently you weren’t watching. Rona Ambrose pretty much wiped the floor with Trudeau….made him look like a totally idiot. (Granted, that isn’t really hard to do…but you get my point)

      • Ah is it just me or does Justin appear to be a real person or an extremely advanced hybrid mechanical clone ? His eyes and body language kind of betray an eerie scenario of politician-bots sent here to distract us from the simple fact that human governments can’t even solve the basic issue’s like, poverty, crime, injustice, etc. Look closely at Rona too. I tell you the first clue is their hair….very distracting !

  2. I wish we could reform clapping in the HOCs, on every side. It still feels like I’m hearing a tennis match.

  3. So far the Grits are not using notes to read from, not sure how long it will last.

    • Whether you like the answers to the questions or not, but it is quit impressive to see a government read from their mouths and not off a script. Haven’t seen this since the last Liberal government.

      • the only person I saw reading from notes was Justin Trudeau.

        That being said, it is hard for Justin remember everything Gerald has ordered him to say.

  4. Rona…what a disaster. More arrogant, narrow minded, cynical, mean spirited, divisive than even SH. Like the rest of the “con” gang the rhetoric (as in “why did you cancel the F-15….hello….2015…not 1942). She says Sunny Days only lasted 25 minutes…..hmmm….she does realize that she stepped up to that same stage at the same time……perhaps it’s her presence that annihilated our country’s Sunny Days. Not too soon to see the backside of Ro….

    • Vague,

      As I wrote on another thread, sunny days aren’t always good days. They can be warm, comforting, and quite beatiful….but if you stare at the sun too long you just go blind.

      You need someone who talks about the rainy days too……

      • When a government has yet to do anything, other than continue the direction of the former government it is difficult to have real opposition. It was clearly as simple as greeting each other on the street for the first time. One untruth in this article is stating Trudeau did not blame the former government. Not true, the finance minister stated the books (surplus/deficit) from the CPC were much worse then stated, even though this was confirmed only weeks ago by the budgetary office. The liberals have already driven up the deficit by over $10B and havent even started the so called infrastructure spending yet.

        • SILVER SPOON BABY JUSTIN is as flaky as the mother that bore him .Not a spine in his body, from ISIS to the hard working class that he is snubbing cross country. Also send these useless refugees back to where they came, not welcomed.Thee kids and pregnant with another….couldn’t have been that bad there if the kids are still alive. Go away Trudeau just go far far away .You will drag our country to the deep deep areas of debt like we have never seen before. You are as useless as your father,another consciences objector type. You do not represent the country our forefathers fought for. You must go.

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