Maxime Bernier expands his war chest: Ottawa Power Rankings

Who's up? Bill Morneau on the world stage. Who's down? The environment minister and her slickly produced videos.

A Justin Trudeau commemorative doll unites the country. Sen. Lynn Beyak digs herself a deeper hole. 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.

LISTEN: Shannon Proudfoot on her picks this week:




Know how you can tell when the PMO is jazzed about a possibly flattering, but mostly weird, posable, talking collectible doll in the likeness of their man Justin Trudeau? When they say this: “We were not aware of this item, nor were we involved in any way in its creation or distribution.” The real winners here are all of us, because whether you’re a Liberal partisan inclined to pose this $129.99 ersatz PM on your mantle surrounded by maple-scented votive candles, or if you think it would make a mighty fine voodoo pin-cushion, we can all agree that this is hilarious. See? The country is united!



There’s a Seinfeld episode in which Jerry and Elaine each want, with hyena-like eagerness, to date one half of a freshly divorced couple. They call up their targets to warmly assure them, “I’m there for you,” anticipating that after a grieving interval, they can transition to being simply “there.” Canada’s finance minister is headed to London to execute a presumably much more subtle and less sociopathic version of this right now. Morneau is there to talk up Canadian businesses and the opportunities this country presents, as Britain prepares for its incredibly messy Brexit divorce.



The Conservative leadership candidate says he’s ahead by a mile in fundraising. His campaign provided figures this week showing he raised $1 million in the first three months of 2017, virtually tying Kevin O’Leary, who enjoys a slight edge in the polls. But that quarterly total would make Bernier’s overall war chest the biggest in the race, at over $2 million. That’s in part because Bernier entered the race nearly a year ago, while O’Leary spent those months in a less than convincing performance as a man who really isn’t sure if he wants to wade into the pool and go for a swim.




Also this week, the Tory leadership frontrunner pulled a neat trick that may have caused Donald Trump to gnash his teeth in envy. In service of his “balls to the wall” attempt to save this country from itself, O’Leary said it was all or nothing for him. “I’ve said to the caucus, I’m going to deliver a majority mandate or fire me,” he said. “I can’t cast out the virus of Trudeau without a majority mandate.” Of course, that principled stand would provide an ejector seat from a job that may turn out to be less fun and more drudgery than he wants. But that’s probably just a coincidence.



The environment minister came under fire for slickly produced videos in which she touts the 2017 budget; the opposition says the spots are partisan advertising that break rules the Liberals themselves introduced. In opposition, the Liberals howled about the previous Conservative government’s habit of blanketing the country in ads for its infrastructure program, or trying to make former prime minister Stephen Harper a YouTube star on the public dime. McKenna’s office, however, insists her videos don’t break the rules brought in last May because, while departmental staff produced them, they did not post them on Twitter or Facebook.



You picture the senator backing her car up as someone behind her offers direction, and when they signal that she should stop, she instead stomps on the gas and plows through everything in her path. Since she suggested everyone was being a bit of a downer to focus on the negative instead of the many “well-intentioned” aspects of the residential school system, Beyak has refused to apologize and even insisted that she has “suffered” too. Now, interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose has—reasonably enough—removed Beyak from the Senate’s Aboriginal Peoples committee. When Beyak was asked for her response, she moaned, “It never quits, does it?”