Stephen Harper resurfaces: Ottawa Power Rankings

Rona Ambrose continues to impress amid the Tories’ divisive leadership race, while Maryam Monsef continues to tumble

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A former prime minister emerges, behind the scenes. A Liberal MP gets hoisted with his own giant-cheque petard. 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.

From our podcast: Shannon Proudfoot on this week’s rankings




The former prime minister surfaced this week from an obscurity one senses he’s enjoying greatly in a story about how he remains popular enough with the Tory base to constitute a fundraising draw. It turns out that in his post-House of Commons life, Harper has taken on an “unprecedented” role as a board member for the Conservative party’s fundraising arm, and the first appeal to members of 2017 went out under his name.



Kevin O’Leary has declared that in order to walk away with a majority in 2019, the Conservatives have to make a major push with voters aged 18 to 35 (the demographic slice is traditionally the 18-to-34s, but anyway). That’s an odd and maybe impossible strategy for the Tories for a number of reasons, but might young adults finally escape the gobbling shadow of the Baby Boomers and have political parties fighting to represent their interests?



With her party’s approximately 47 leadership contenders tearing each other apart at the seams, the interim Conservative leader looks more polished, smart and measured by the day. The trickle of chatter about how maybe with this loophole or that amendment, she could still run for leader (she can’t, she won’t, and she doesn’t want to) just keep coming. And with Ambrose hosting her party’s caucus strategy session in Quebec City ahead of the return of Parliament next week, chances are good she’ll keep looking like the grown-up at the front of the room.




What’s worse than a politician called out for an ethical breach? A politician called out on an ethical breach of truly goofy proportions involving a giant novelty cheque. Ruimy, a B.C. Liberal MP, proudly tweeted a photo of himself presenting a huge cheque, featuring the Government of Canada’s arms and his own name, to fund recreation facilities in his riding of Pitt Meadows–Maple Ridge. Conservative MP Mark Strahl chastised him, and indeed, the Treasury Board doesn’t like politicians using the government’s official logo for personal or partisan purposes.



It’s not that the rookie cabinet minister has made any missteps in her short tenure as minister of democratic institutions; it’s just that the bright rising star has inherited a tough file for this government to stick handle. This week, the results of the much-touted survey landed in a distinctly less-touted way that might reflect the muddled results that will make it difficult for the Liberal government to get its preferred outcome and save face.



First, it emerged that the status of women minister skipped the Women’s March in protest of Donald Trump, which mobilized tens of thousands of people across Canada and around the world last weekend. And, while the government’s plan to tackle gender-based violence won’t be released for several months, it’s already been declared a “massive disappointment” by some women’s groups, and Monsef’s is the name attached to it, even though she only just took over the file from Patty Hajdu.