Tag Archives: Question Period

Welcome Back to West Block: The Opposition Parties

QPBy the time all the votes had been counted and 338 candidates had been declared an MPP-elect the House looked far different that it did when the Governor General disolved the 42nd Parliament.  When the MPs last met in the House of Commons the party standings were Liberas with 177 seats, Conservatives 95 seats, New Democrats 39 seats, Bloc Quebecois 10 seats, 2 seats for the Greens, one each for the Peoples Party and the CCF. There were 8 independent MPs and 5 vacant seats.

Following the election, the party results had a different landscape as Canadians woke up October 22nd with a Liberal minority government – some would call it a strong minority with only 13 votes needed from other parties to support the government to pass legislation.  But it was a minority still.  What Canadians also woke up to a regionalized parliament, the rebirth of the Bloc Quebecois and the absence of the liberals in Alberta and Saskatchewan and the question of how the government could possibly ensure that the west was important to the Trudeau.

Heading into the speech from the throne on December 5th the seat standings for each of the parties is:  Liberals 157, Conservatives 121, Bloc Quebecois 32, NDP 24, Green Party 3 and 1 Independent.  These new standings will have impacts beyond the votes themselves.  The NDP fall to fourth place while the Conservatives remain Her majesty’s Loyal Opposition.

Now that there are four parties in the opposition that have ‘official party status’ questions allotted for Question Period are now split between three parties.  In each session of parliament, the number of questions given to each party is based on the proportion of seats in the opposition, in this session Conservative hold 121 of 181 seats.  The NDP will be the loser in QP as they will have to split the number of questions with the Bloc who hold a greater share of the seats than the New Democrats. Conservatives hold approximately 66% of the seats, the same as last session and should be able to ask 24-25 questions each time Question Period takes place.

Through QP and debates each party will have its priorities and will use those priorities to determine how they vote and how successful each party will be in working with the government and their agenda.  The opposition parties will have to find their footing, set their agendas and make hard decisions what they are and are not prepared to support when it comes to Justin Trudeau and the Liberals.  It will be more important for the opposition to know where the line is where they no longer have confidence in the government and will force a new election.   Ultimately though it will be the Liberals that will make that decision, when it suits their purposes best.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress.  I can be found on Twitter @robertdekker & @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

Sometimes the view from the front row is…meh

Empty Seats

You can give me front row seats for an Elton John show, a performance at the Stratford Festival and a seat in the first rows along the 1stor 3rdbaselines at a Toronto Blue Jays game.

I have a front row seat, not to be confused with a front bench seat, every day for Parliament in Ottawa.  For most of my two years on Parliament Hill the words, the shouting and innuendos from the benches have meant nothing to me, but just part of the theatrics of question period.  Recently something changed, and not in a good way – the tone has changed from the government side.

Up until MPs returned from a two week break in April what happened in the house was pretty predictable.  For the last two weeks the government has been particularly spiteful when answering a question from the Opposition Conservatives. It reached a new low on Wednesday (the 25th) on the occasion of Prime Minister’s day in Question period.  I don’t know what got into the Prime Minister; maybe he was still fired up from the Liberal convention the previous weekend.  You might have seen this video produced by the Conservative Party and posted on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/cpcpcc/videos/10156311860774204/, it has a few clips from the Liberal where Justin Trudeau thinks he is still campaigning against Stephen Harper.

TrudeauIt is more than that, on that particular day, the TV in my office almost flew out the window (with a little bit of help) because of Trudeau’s angry and spiteful answers during question period.  Most of the controversy revolved around the discovery that the Canada Summer Jobs was funding jobs to protest and disrupt the Trans mountain pipeline.  This is controversial because the Liberals prevented many good organizations from receiving jobs funding because they don’t agree with the Liberal values attestation.

Back to question period, of the 22 questions asked to the Prime Minister, Trudeau responded 11 times using the phrase “Harper Conservatives” or named Stephen Harper.  If I think back to that recent Liberal convention I would have to imagine that Trudeau thought he was still talking to his Liberal base only this time in the House of Commons.  He probably was, why else would be invoked the name of Harper if Trudeau had to use the trump card he thinks has with Canadians.  It worked in the 2015 election when Canadians were looking for someone else that Stephen Harper.

In 2018, he could only be naming Harper as much as he had in the House because he needs a distraction from pipelines, the cost of a carbon tax on Canadians and the fallout of the Canada Summer Jobs program. He is daring everyone to remember Harper and have them forget his shortcomings. Watching Trudeau that day, it wasn’t what Trudeau said, but the how he said it.  I cannot put into words the anger and spite in how the Prime Minister’s the words came out.  It was not like anything I have heard before, even worse than I heard Kathleen Wynne resurrect the history of Mike Harris in Queens Park.  I cannot put into words that do justice to describe the smugness of the Trudeau grin, the extreme spite of his words and daggers in Trudeau’s eyes in his efforts to deflect from his government’s problems to a Prime Minister he hopes Canadians still like less than him. I will not forget it.

It was during Question Period on that day that Trudeau showed his true self, most Canadians won’t see it, most Canadians will not even know it happened because it is just 50 minutes out of a day of 24 hours. As Trudeau and his team are forced to defend their inactions, lack of success and poor judgement expect to hear more of Stephen Harper after all the 2019 election is only 541 days away.  Trudeau has learned well that it’s easier to campaign using the name of a person who is not running (Harper) than it is to face your true opponent (Scheer).

So call this a promise kept, doing politics differently, because I do not remember any other Prime Minister acting out like a spoiled little boy as Trudeau did this week and blaming it on someone else. For that, this is one front row I prefer to watch from afar, or on mute.

Thank you for reading #RedHeartBlueSign, to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawaand on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net