Bob Rae vs. Stephen Harper: Sing us a song, piano men About this time last year, Stephen Harper won praise for singing some classic rock standards at a Tory Christmas party. He also played the piano. In response, Bob Rae mused on his Twitter account about a piano showdown with the PM. It never came to pass, possibly because Mr. Harper would never consort with the enemy in such a manner. But now the Liberal leader has posted his own piano performances on YouTube, which allows the Post’s Scott Stinson to compare and contrast.
Keith Beardsley: Tories choose to defend the indefensible in Cotler rulingSpeaker Andrew Scheer delivered his ruling Tuesday on the Conservative Party’s attempts to undermine Irwin Cotler in his riding of Mont Royal. The ruling referred to the organized telephone program conducted on behalf of the Conservatives, which left the impression Cotler might be leaving politics in the near future (opening the seat for a possible Tory win). This ruling certainly highlights the fine line between right and wrong in modern Canadian politics.
Common sense tells Canadians that what the Conservatives did was wrong. Common sense says that they had an opportunity to admit the wrong and move on, but they blew that opportunity.
No one except perhaps Tory House leader Peter Van loan believes the Conservative defensive talk point that this is about free speech.
The Liberal MP for Papineau said he ‘lost his cool’ after Kent questioned why NDP environment critic Megan Leslie did not attend last week’s climate change summit in Durban, South Africa.(Photo: Jean Levac/Ottawa Citizen)
Already in 2011, a year marked by Harper’s first electoral majority on May 2, the Toronto-born Calgarian who led the reunited Conservative Party of Canada to power in 2006 has topped the time in office of: Nobel Prize-winning Liberal prime minister Lester B. Pearson (1963-68); the country’s first Liberal prime minister, Alexander Mackenzie (1873-78); and Depression-era Conservative prime minister R.B. Bennett (1930-35).
Next Thursday, on Dec. 8, the 52-year-old Harper will complete his 2,132nd day as prime minister — five years, 10 months and two days since he was first sworn in as Canada’s head of government on Feb. 6, 2006.
Kelly McParland: Jack Layton’s passing is a Canadian tragedy Jack Layton’s election night appearance, carrying his cane and enjoying the cheers that came with his achievement, was unquestionably his greatest moment as a politician. It raised so many possibilities the NDP had rarely contemplated, opening doors most thought were locked to them. And he managed it with such personal integrity and a touch of the commonplace, that much of the country referred to him simply as “Jack,” and didn’t begrudge him his moment.
It’s a tragedy that that shining accomplishment should be followed so swiftly by the cruelty of cancer and his disappearance from the scene. Canadian politics is a lot poorer for the passing of Jack Layton, as is Canada as a whole. He will be greatly missed. (Tyler Anderson/National Post)
All Perk and More Play More money? Better accommodations? Being the Official Opposition definitely has its advantages. But are there more goodies to be had? Steve Murray tries to imagine other potential perks that the NDP MPs may now be eligible for.
Cabinet shuffle: Baird to Foreign Affairs Stephen Harper unveiled his new Cabinet Wednesday, promoting John Baird and Tony Clement and bringing Maxime Bernier back into the fold in a junior role. The new Cabinet also brings many newcomers in as ministers of state.
“It’s the right mix of experience and new blood,” the Prime Minister said in a release.
Mr. Baird becomes minister of Foreign Affairs, while Mr. Clement becomes president of the Treasury Board.
The NDP’s volatile voice of experience Thomas Mulcair, deputy leader of the NDP, has promised to take under his wing the raft of New Democrat rookies elected in Quebec Monday. But who is going to keep an eye on Mr. Mulcair?
As the party moved to control its message and shield some of its shakier new MPs from the media this week, it was Mr. Mulcair who committed the first major gaffe.
It could be said that Mr. Mulcair performed a service for his young charges with his puzzling comments on photos of a dead Osama bin Laden — deflecting attention away from them, their thin resumés and, in some cases, questionable nomination papers. But the incident illustrates the dilemma the NDP finds itself in following its unexpected success in Quebec.
Graphic: Cabinet hopefuls in the new government With his coveted Conservative majority in hand as of Monday, one of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s first orders of business will be assembling a new Cabinet. He lost four senior ministers in the election. The new regional dynamics — huge gains in Ontario, several pick-ups in Atlantic Canada, and significant losses in Quebec — will factor into Mr. Harper’s decision-making process. He will have to juggle the expectations of loyal, longtime caucus members looking for promotions with his desire to appoint rookie MPs with stellar resumés. The National Post spoke with a trio of Conservative strategists and Ottawa insiders for a hint of who might be up for which position.
Infographics: How we voted, province-by-province Elections in modern Canadian history in which turnout was below 65% have all come during the past decade. Monday’s relatively dismal (and still unofficial) figure of 61.4% — the third-lowest ever — continued the trend. The federal election of 2011 may have been a turning point in Canadian politics, but it failed to motivate nearly two in five eligible voters.