Some ministers don’t have time for QP

Tease the day: A few key Conservatives don’t focus on the daily antics of Question Period.


Sean Kilpatrick/CP

Joe Oliver, Peter Kent, Diane Finley, Rob Nicholson, and James Moore are faces you see quite regularly if you watch Question Period. When he’s in town, Oliver defends his increasingly controversial remarks about climate change. When Oliver’s not in town, Kent stands on his behalf. Finley speaks to the opposition’s insistence that employment insurance is broken—and, this week, that unemployed youth are going ignored. Nicholson mostly fields backbench lobs about Conservative law-and-order legislation. And Moore is Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s point-man when the boss doesn’t want to answer questions, or is absent from the House. A smattering of parliamentary secretaries—Ted Menzies (ed. note: Menzies is minister of state for finance, not a parliamentary secretary), Gerald Keddy, Andrew Saxton, Deepak Obhrai—address opposition questions about finance, trade, budgetary secrecy and foreign affairs.

Indeed, that’s quite a few people on the government side who do a lot of talking during Question Period. But during that daily theatre, we don’t often hear from the likes of Jason Kenney, John Baird, Jim Flaherty, and Ed Fast. Kenney and Baird have, in the past, been some of the most prolific voices during QP. Not these days. It’s not always clear what they’re doing outside of the Commons, but sometimes it is. And, as it turns out, they’re doing lots of things. Kenney spoke to the House committee on citizenship and immigration yesterday. Baird’s in Europe at a series of NATO and Commonwealth meetings. Fast just returned from a two-week trade mission to China and Japan. They don’t always fill the front benches during QP, these Conservatives, but that’s no accident. They’re just more interested in people who don’t sit on the opposition benches.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with former Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay’s opening testimony at the Charbonneau Commission’s inquiry into corruption in the city’s construction industry. The National Post fronts Christie Blatchford’s column that challenges the conventional wisdom of the Rehtaeh Parsons case. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with a move by local police to hand out receipts after street checks of suspicious individuals. The Ottawa Citizen leads with the alleged misappropriation of millions of dollars that Ottawa residents paid for local residential development. iPolitics fronts a survival guide for Conservative parliamentarians who attend weekend ribbon cuttings in their ridings. leads with Dzhokhar Tsaranev’s transfer from a civilian hospital to a federal medical detention facility. National Newswatch showcases Tim Harper’s column in the Toronto Star about how the last two weeks have changed Canadian politics.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Pipelines. The Alberta government is in talks with the Northwest Territories to build pipelines north to Tuktoyaktuk that would get oilsands crude to tidewater—and exported overseas. 2. Assisted suicide. Susan Griffiths, who left Canada for Switzerland because that country allows assisted suicide, died yesterday in a Zurich clinic—and wished it could have happened in Canada.
3. Poetry. Parliament is looking for a new poet laureate, a position that, following convention, will go to a Francophone writer. Fred Wah, the current laureate, will leave the post in December. 4. Infrastructure. The Parti Quebecois government is moving to introduce more transparency into infrastructure planning by forcing cabinet oversight of a list of proposed projects.

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Some ministers don’t have time for QP

  1. Ted Menzies is a Minister.

  2. I’d call John Baird butt ugly, but that would be an insult to a lot of butts out there. The last time I went to the local embassy, Baird’s picture was there and he was smiling. It looked almost weird.

    Alongside Baird’s portrait was another – Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State (Americas). She used to be my MP. I even voted for her once. I’m not sure why a picture of the Minister of State (Americas) is on display in an embassy in Europe, but there ya go.

    • Since you vote based on appearances, can we assume you’ll be voting for pretty boy Trust Fund Trudeau in 2015 (if he makes it that long)?

      • Nick who is better Emma or Amanda?
        Advance a logical argument.
        I am unable to choose which blog to read.

  3. I disagree with your assertion that “Moore is Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s point-man when the boss doesn’t want to answer questions …”

    What I’ve noticed about QP is that the PM generally answers questions from the leaders of the opposition parties or those standing in their stead. For example, when Mulcair is not in the House, NDP deputy Leader Megan Leslie’s questions are addressed by the PM if they pertain to general government policy rather than to the environment, her purported area of expertise. The same goes for the Liberals. For instance, yesterday Trudeau being absent, the PM rose to answer the Liberals’ lead-off question asked by Joyce Murray.

    If they ever get around to reforming House procedures, maybe MPs, be they leaders or not, could refrain from addressing their questions to the PM when it’s clear he’s not present (usually Mondays & Fridays or when he’s abroad at some summit or other).

    • I used to watch the House of Commons on the telly. I no longer do so. Parliament is just, a one man Dictatorship session. Harper really reminds me of Hitler. I see what they mean about Harper’s dictatorship and, being a control freak.

      Six members of my family served in WW11. Our young Canadian boys were shot and blown into fragments, so we would have a monster such as Harper governing this country. Our young boys died for nothing. Harper is not worth their dying for.

      • “Harper really reminds me of Hitler.”
        Godwin’s Law — look it up.

  4. How dare Joe Oliver not bow down to the god of climate change ! How dare he question. The great Suzuki and the Goreical.

  5. Holy Toledo folks.
    Some Ministers don’t have time for QP.
    Good Lord.
    This is very, very important news.
    Read all about it, read all about it:
    Vaisey says some ministers don’t have time for QP.
    This is groundbreaking stuff.
    Thank you Macleans.

  6. I want Vaisey to report on the doings of the Calabrian mafia in Toronto.
    Why not?
    It is for a good cause.