Canada

Parliamentarians of the year

A MACLEAN’S EXCLUSIVE: Gruelling hours, angry calls, so-so pay. If you think MPs have it easy, then you haven’t been one.

In this jaded age where politicians are assumed to be dishonest unless proven otherwise, it’s popular to complain of being governed by a den of thieves. But most Canadians don’t really believe this. If you dig deeper, you find that we are also quick to say that we live in one of the best countries in the world, and we have one of the fairest and most open systems of government ever created.

In our hearts we know that much of the credit for that goes to the members of Parliament who make our government work. And the truth is that most MPs are devoted public servants who spend much of their time toiling away in committee meetings, fielding angry calls from constituents and attending community fundraisers.

PHOTO GALLERY:  Mitchel Raphael at Maclean’s Third Annual Parliamentarians of the Year awards

To celebrate those MPs who best represent what’s right about Ottawa, in 2006 Maclean’s created the Parliamentarians of the Year Awards. The winners are chosen through a rigorous process that includes a survey of every member of the House (this year 69 per cent took part), asking them to nominate the best MPs in each of seven categories. Their votes are then weighted to ensure that no one party has an advantage, and the MP with the highest score in each category wins.

This year, the House chose Jason Kenney as Best MP Overall, along with six other MPs in various categories. Their stories are a worthy reminder that within the hallowed halls of Ottawa, greatness does exist. It is our hope that by recognizing it, we are helping that greatness to flourish.

THE WINNERS

How we did it: To determine the winners, Ipsos Reid asked all 308 members of Parliament to nominate the best MPs in each of seven categories. This year, 214 MPs responded, casting votes for fellow MPs within and outside of their parties. The votes were then weighted and converted to a point system to ensure that larger parties did not have an advantage. The MP who received the most points in each category won.