Mulroney sings for Canada's supper: Ottawa Power Rankings

Who’s up in the nation’s capital? A young Tory and a blast from the past. Who’s down? A probably overburdened Stephane Dion.

The Prime Minister bolsters U.S.-Canada relations with a call to the U.S. President, while the Conservative public safety critic hangs up on the CBC. See who’s up and who’s down in and around Parliament Hill’s corridors of power. And check out the rest of our weekly power rankings.




A new poll shows the former House Speaker’s support among Conservative voters has doubled in recent weeks. The 37-year-old social conservative still lags behind Kevin O’Leary, Kellie Leitch and Maxime Bernier, but he’s gaining ground fast while the top three have seen their support slide. As of the last quarter of 2016, Scheer was third—behind Bernier and Leitch, with O’Leary not yet in the race—in total fundraising among leadership candidates.



It seems the careful politesse of last week’s visit by the Prime Minister to Washington went over well enough—despite President Donald Trump’s Grumpy Cat face at their joint press conference—that the mercurial POTUS will take the PM’s calls on demand. On Thursday, Trudeau and Trump chatted again—the call was requested by the Canadian side, a senior staffer said—about “a range of bilateral relations issues,” including “border cooperation, moving forward on the softwood lumber file and the upcoming G7 and G20 summits.”



Yes, okay, there was something distinctly unbecoming about the former prime minister playing the dancing (or singing) bear at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort over the weekend. But even as Mulroney now insists he only sang “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” for the benefit of a charity, and not his bouffant-of-hair dining companion, think of it this way: Trump and his ego have the equanimity of a toddler who skipped their nap. It is politically expedient to keep him happy, so it’s useful to have a skilled and prominent Canadian who can take on the job.




It turns out the Conservative frontrunner is still a paid commentator on U.S. cable news, using it as a platform to hype his own candidacy and partisan messaging. Recent polls are a distinctly mixed bag for O’Leary, too. On one hand, he enjoys much higher name recognition than his competitors—an especially low-profile bunch—and draws the strongest support, but he’s polarizing and also the most disliked candidate, with one-third of Tory voters saying he’s their last choice.



Aghast former diplomats say the dual appointments handed to the former foreign affairs minister when he was dropped from cabinet are impossibly hefty and conflicting files. Trudeau named Dion ambassador to Germany and the EU simultaneously—a decision that foreign service experts say makes Canada “look like amateur hour” because either post on its own would be “more than a full-time job.” Other observers question whether the cerebral, impassioned and mercurial Dion is the right fit at all.



A tense and absurd exchange with a CBC radio host over refugees crossing the border on foot was not a good look for the Conservative public safety critic. Clement insisted, over and over, that the law had to be applied, while the interviewer asked—over and over—what exactly that meant. Clement offered no real response and finally hung up on the host live on air, then continued the same circular argument in Twitter exchanges, inspiring plenty of ridicule.