Must-see QP: Welcome to the House, Minister of Defence!

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

The cheeky, passive-aggressive headline atop our live QP coverage asked which parliamentary secretary would stand out today. This week’s proceedings in the House have provided a stage for three such parliamentary lieutenants: Colin Carrie, at environment; James Bezan, at defence; and Paul Calandra, the headline machine who is Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s stand-in. Each brave soul responded to questioning at the hands of NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, each dutifully recited their scripted lines, and each survived to tell the tale.

Today, they all caught their breath. Mulcair was again on his feet, and again asking about what happens next for Canada’s military involvement in Iraq. He wondered why the Prime Minister would tell an American audience, instead of the Parliament he serves, that Canada was considering an American request for more resources in the region. Rob Nicholson, the Minister of Defence, the minister responsible for Canada’s military, showed up to answer such questions. Nicholson didn’t say much, only that Mulcair should watch Harper’s speech tonight at the UN. But he did stay on topic. Parliament sets a low bar.

The recap

The context

We were digesting Speaker Andrew Scheer’s rare pre-QP statement about questions and answers, his role as the arbiter of appropriate interventions, and the thin ice on which NDP Leader Tom Mulcair figuratively skated when he challenged the Speaker’s neutrality a day earlier. All the fuss was about what would become of MP Paul Calandra, this week’s king of the parliamentary non-sequitur, but he played a minor role yesterday. His replacement as spokesman on Canada’s military involvement in Iraq, MP James Bezan, had some bad moments.