Must-see QP: Rodger Cuzner brings the poetic levity

Your daily dose of political theatre

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 runs from 2:15 p.m. until just past 3. We livestream and liveblog all the action.

The must-see moment

If only everyone had as much fun as Rodger Cuzner. Few ministers bothered to show up for this afternoon’s question period. The Tories shouted down NDP MP Peggy Nash three times as she tried to pose a question. The Speaker’s expressed disappointment did little to quell the noise. Aaron Wherry, who has watched more of these afternoon sessions than most, could only shake his head.

So let’s forget about all of that and watch a man read a poem about Christmas. Cuzner, the Liberal MP for Cape Breton-Canso, always recites a few words in the House of Commons before parliamentarians go home for the holidays. It almost doesn’t matter that this year’s effort ran 30 seconds longer than a 60-second statement should. The Speaker happily turned a blind eye.

‘Twas the week before Christmas, and Canadians were keen / To witness a parliamentary nativity scene
There’s lots of bad actors in this political fray / So I took up the task of casting this play

The Prime Minister thought there may be a chance / “But first let me check with the boys in short pants”
The kids all agreed, all our ministers are in / But when you look at the lineup, the talent’s quite thin

[At this point, Cuzner chuckled at his notes]

I said, “Not to be mean, over even unkind” / “But I don’t think three wise men will be easy to find”
And the gifts they would bear; frankincense, myrrh and gold / Will take 50 years to deliver, I’m told
I then got an email from PMO lads / “We’re going to promote it with action plan ads”

So Joseph was a carpenter, a fixer of note / Our honourable speaker would garner my vote
The cranky innkeeper who showed little heart / The Government House Leader might like that part
The good shepherd should be played by a brave and strong voice / Our Sergeant-at-Arms is the obvious choice

[Cuzner gestures to Kevin Vickers, his colleagues applaud]

But who will play the saviour, God’s only son? / How about someone born Christmas Day, 1971

Justin Trudeau as Jesus. Someone had to say it; might as well have been a disciple.

The recap

Where were we?

As a Tory government that wants to talk about almost anything else takes heat for underspending on death and disability benefits for veterans, a new problem emerges: an Afghan vet wants to run for the NDP. Julian Fantino, the veterans affairs minister, must be wondering what headline will frustrate him next.

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