Monday, June 23, 2008

The Empty Chair

I've read a few news items today, wherein the Conservatives are deflecting any call for debate with Harper, saying Dion had his chance in Question Period, but he failed to show up. Speaking of not showing up, Harper's attendance record the past two months:
June 20th absent

June 19th absent

June 13th absent

June 9th absent

June 6th absent

May 30th absent

May 29th absent

May 28th absent

May 27th absent

May 26th absent

House off for week

May 16th absent

May 12th absent

May 9th absent

May 8th absent

May 2nd absent

May 1st absent

Harper had an impressive 48% attendance record, maybe Buckler should learn the phrase "when you live in a glass house, don't throw stones". As a matter of fact, I seem to remember a Don Martin column a few weeks ago, wherein he suggested the PMO were purposely keeping Harper away from Parliament, to avoid all the questions of scandal and missteps.

Anyways, I'm sure the Conservatives can come up with better, sometimes their genius just takes a few days to ferment.

On a side note, Harper has apparently already begun the summer barbeque circuit:


Anonymous said...


I think you know the rules of protocol in the House of Commons. The Prime Minister and the party leaders are not usually in on Fridays. Note also the one week European tour the week of May 26-30 and the occasion visit from the foreign head of state (PMs of Ukraine and Iceland etc.) means the PM is away from Question Period.

My belief is that the Cons feed off of Harper's presence in the House and the taunts get louder when the PM is there before Question Period.

I will not deal with the times when Dion did not show up for votes in procedural matters. This is something that party leaders don't usually do.

Back to op-ed pieces. Dion can take on whatever comers there ie. Baird, Layton, Flanagan etc. We know he is game.

Steve V said...


I get that, just a response to the disingenious defence of the PMO. I'm sure Dion wasn't napping on days he was absent either.

Archie said...

You got to be kidding with this stupid spin. He's the PM of Canada and he has duties and meetings to attended to other then sitting in the house answering same stupid liberal question. Lets compare the attendance of the whole liberal party to the attendance of the Conservatives. Even your own Garth Turner was mad last fall about the poor Liberal MP's attendance.

Steve V said...

"You got to be kidding with this stupid spin."

Now, you know how I feel everyday watching you guys ;)

Anyways, your right, enough with the spin, let's debate.

Anonymous said...

Why would Harper bother to show up when the 'official' opposition has been MIA for months. I guess you haven't been to QP (or watched it on CPAC) to see how few Liberal MPs bother to show up for most votes and particularly for any and all confidence motions. It enrages me and I wish I could dock their pay for every session missed.

Of course there should be a debate on how our country moves ahead reduces ghg emissions. All the parties in the HOC should be present so that we can judged which party has the best plan.

A pox on the house of Harper and the Liberal Caucus on the issue of attendance in the HOC both are inexcusable and Harper's lack of attendance in no way excuses the Liberal caucus' track record.

Oldschool said...

At least when Harper is there and is answering a question you can understand what he is saying!!!
If you want to talk about records . . . how about Dion's record as enviro minister . . . . seems his chair is empty even when he is sitting in it!!!!!

A liberal never saw a problem he couldn't fix by taxing it . . . if the problem persists . . . tax it more!!! lol

Steve V said...

"At least when Harper is there and is answering a question you can understand what he is saying!!!"

Which is another reason he shouldn't fear a debate. Good point oldtool.

Deb Prothero said...


Not to support Harper, however I wonder since Don Martin took notice of the situation possibly Harper's attendance does not compare favourably with other PMs.

A valid comparison between PMs in the past would also have had similar experience with state visits etc.

Not sure if this is easily compiled but would make for a more valid comparison to thwart the cheap shots by Cons. No point in giving them ammunition, I say.

My own recollection seems to suggest that Paul Martin showed up and if Harper's record is worse than his then I'd say that would be a fair comparison given the similarities between the size of their caucuses.

Steve V said...


I thought about that too, but it would be pretty time consuming to do a comparison.

This isn't really a serious post, I understand what a PM needs to do, only a counter to the completely non-serious, lame talking points of the PMO.

JimmE said...

"..A liberal never saw a problem he couldn't fix by taxing it . . ."

Um, like the mudoon & harris deficits? - Income trusts anybody?

Just so I have it straight - cutting taxes & putting us into deficit helps, & some stuff - how again?

Love to see the Ditto-heads squirm & popping off with nonsense.

spike said...

have you checked out ex PM Martins attendance lately. guess he's to busy with mo and jean.

eames chair said...

We often have attendance issues here too. But if you watch C-Span there's never anybody there. So I guess it's not abnormal.

Anonymous said...

Harper obfuscates, Dion debates.

penlan said...


Could you do the same thing for how many days Dion wasn't there in the same time period?

I'm just curious & am NOT a CON supporter!

Steve V said...

"Could you do the same thing for how many days Dion wasn't there in the same time period?"

When I did the Harper attendance, I noticed Dion seemed to miss some time too. Guessing, probably comparable, maybe slightly better.