Sunday, June 07, 2009

Favorite MP's

Paul Wells column, which laments the state of discourse in Ottawa. Wells makes one assertion, which gets lost in the "madness", and it's largely true:
This doesn’t get said often enough, but your members of Parliament are good people. They are decent men and women who upend quiet lives, endure the indignity of electoral campaigns, leave their loved ones at home and jet weekly to Ottawa. They bring big hearts and steady purpose. They want nothing better than to help their constituents.

On the "good people" front, I'd thought I throw out a few names of MP's that I see as sincere, genuine, representing all the best attributes we desire from our elected officials.


Paul Dewar is quite adept at making his arguments, without turning any discussion into a "scoring political points" affair. Always on issue, always demonstrating class, Dewar seems to have his priorities straight. I would peg Dewar as "the" star within the NDP caucus.

Nathan Cullen can throw some elbows, but rather than political posturing, you always get the sense it's more about defending core beliefs. Cullen comes across as tireless, and he is always well versed on any topic. On the environment, Cullen is probably the best MP in Parliament, always sifting through the spin to make accurate arguments, factually based and honest.

Libby Davies seems the perfect character for NDP House Leader. Whenever she makes an appearance, Davies generally comes across as dedicated to getting things done, moving things forward and trying to find common ground. Her tone is disarming, and while the nature of the job demands partisanship, Davies looks like somebody who wants to roll up their sleeves and get to work.


Quite simply, the conscience of the Liberal Party. Some would argue that Gerard Kennedy has made some questionable political moves, but I think that really speaks to putting principle above self interest. I heart Gerard Kennedy, he's in it for all the right reasons.

If I had to describe Martha Hall Findlay in one word it would "refreshing". Martha speaks in plain language, she cuts through the bull, but she's a smart cookie. Very effective in focusing on the real issues that matter, rather than parroting party spin.

If we measure things in terms of respect, then Bob Rae has no peer. People will note a curious anomaly in Parliament, when Bob Rae rises to ask a question or speak, the catcalls and background noise evaporates, the room turns silent and people actually listen.


Although nuttier than a Snickers bar, Stockwell Day has afforded himself quite well since the Conservatives took power. Day is always serious and he tends to argue the government position without reverting to partisanship. Day is a sincere advocate, and his demeanor is all the more noteworthy, given the company he keeps.

Michael Chong would be a prominent player in this government, but he's been handicapped by not towing the party line, when it conflicts with his principles. Chong has been punished in the past, but I've always been impressed with him in Committee, trying to find resolutions rather than grandstanding.

One of the few Conservative MP's I can listen to, because he comes by his views honestly and he tries to keep any debate high signal. I don't have to agree to recognize a certain amount of integrity.

Any other suggestions welcome...


KNB said...

Good post. I'll give a think about who to add, but totally disagree with you on Dykstra.

He's been below the belt nasty throughout the Dhalla affair, even throwing in comments in committee days later, speaking to unrelated witnesses.

That's just one example, but I've not seen him raise the debate with anyone.

Just my opinion...

Steve V said...

You think it was easy finding 3 Con MP's ;)

√Čric said...

The Bloc has some good ones as well. Meili Faille often does English interviews and is always very respectful.

Bernard Bigras is an extremely hard working MP, and usually has a bit of an edge to him but you can tell it is because he really cares about the issues (he is environment critic).

I've met Mario Laframboise a few times and he was always very nice, but I'm not too familiar with his political behaviour.

Real Menard is also very good. During some of the debates on same-sex marriage he was very present, as he is gay.

Jennifer Smith said...

If you've ever been to Chong's website, he's got a whole stack of in-depth articles he's written dealing with rural, agricultural and sprawl-related issues. Well worth a read no matter what party you belong to.

Makes me want to move north of the border into his riding.

sjw said...

There are nuts in a Mars bar? I think you mean Snickers. Anyway, insightful post. If you decide to do a 'worst' MP list I'd like to offer up my own Greg Kerr. This man will not return emails or phone calls and when I finally did receive a very late reply to a question on water rights the manufactured letter unbelievably said, "we have not received direction as to where our government is heading on your question of water rights".
Not an independent thought in his head apparently.

KNB said...

sjw, THAT is hilarious!

RuralSandi said...

I looked throught the list of parliamentarians - good grief, the Con caucus is shallow. Dykstra is a partisan goof.

The only 2 Cons I could come up with are Michael Chong and James Rijotte.

In all the other parties I could think of several.

The NDP should consider Dewar as leader of their party. He actually discusses things with the usual BS rhetoric - kitchen table, making parliament work, etc.

Libby Davies - oh so sanctimonious. She reminds of the kid in class that brings the apple to the teacher. Joe Comartin is smart and decent guy who doesn't play the put down game all the time - if only he'd smile once in a while.

BLOC - Menard, Miele.

I read where Duceppe and Libby Davis were both card carrying members of the Communist party at one time.

Libs - what can I say - so many to choose from, so much talent and brains and capability it's a hard question. We can't leave out Dion - hard working, integrity and brains.

Steve V said...

"James Rijotte"

Actually, I forgot about him, not bad at all.

Yes "Snickers", I'll make the change.

Ward of the State said...

NDP: Charlie Angus, Jean Crower
Liberals: Todd Russell

This is fun. We can build a "super Party"

Next post let's decide who we vote off the island. :)

Anonymous said...

Anthony Rota for the Libs, Judy Wasylysia-Lies(hope this is spelled right) for the NDP, definitely Bernard Bigras - and several others of the Bloc. And I'd vote for James Riojotte if he wasn't a conservative.

Anne Peterson said...

Oh yes, and Stephane Dion and a big vote for Joe Comartin.

RuralSandi said...

Rijotte is not so partisan. I saw him in an interview wherein he said that his parents were NDP - so he has a tolerance for a different point of view.

NDP need to get rid of Layton/Chow/Mulcair.

sjw said...

You didn't really need to make a change. I think there may be a Mars with almonds. ;-)

Jennifer Smith said...

Peter Julian of the NDP has been great on the water / SPP front. And I'm sure Steve was just being coy not mentioning Guelph's own Frank Valeriote. I got to hang out with him at a rather noisy pub party during the Lib convention, and he impressed me as a very bright, straightforward guy. Funny as hell, too.

Anonymous said...

I've met Libby Davies on a number of occasions and she's really quite nice. I'm definitely no NDP'er, but I just find it so hard not to like her.

Joe Comartin is also quite respectful, I found.

For the Liberals, Bob Rae is definitely the top of the list. His past aside, he's an elder stateman in every sense of the word and, whether you agree with him or not, he's always stood up for what he believes him.

Martha's also a gem. She's got "future leader" written all over her. Plus, she's not impossible to look at. ;-)

For the Conservatives, Michael Chong is probably one of top in the caucus when it comes to integrity and respectfulness. Chuck Strahl used to be on that list, but his attitude lately tore him off in a big way.

I also like Peter MacKay, despite his sometimes partisan rhetoric.

Steve V said...

I'll do a "biggest scumbag MP" edition later ;)

No, Snickers is better...

Mike said...

I'll do a "biggest scumbag MP" edition later

That's going to be a big post...

Raphael Alexander said...

I would add Peter Stoffer for the NDP. He is on the ball with military families and affairs and he doesn't seem to get mixed up in partisan issues.

Anne Peterson said...

And what we would have would be a 'wait for it' coalition government.

wayupnorth said...

Ken Dryden and our own Larry Bagnell deserve some mention for their quiet behind the scenes working in human rights issues. Larry is honest enough to publically proclaim that our riding is solidly against the gun laws and sat out the origional vote in protest. But after endless attacks and patiently explaining that outside of caucus as an independent he would have no say, he has been elected handly three times as even hard core reformers hold their nose and vote for his honesty.

burlivespipe said...

I second Julian. Although he's not above putting in a partisan snap on occasion, the fact that his father is a long-time Liberal (was the hard-luck candidate in 1984 and until recently remained fairly active as a lifetime member) I always hold out hope that in the right conditions he'll see the light.
I'd also volunteer Keith Martin.

Jen said...

I'd also add Glen Pearson to the list for the liberals, and he had quite a good post a few weeks ago ( about Peter McKay being extraordinarily helpful in a sad situation. I always enjoy reading Pearson's blog as one of his larger themes is bi-partisanship and cooperation, and he's very keen on pointing on when he sees the good in members from other parties.

Demosthenes said...

I'm not sure if you've noticed that all three of your "best Liberals" seem to come from the progressive faction of the party.

But I think it speaks volumes.

Ben said...

Another reason to like Michael Chong:

The guy is straight up honest and if you ever get the chance to engage him in candid conversation, you'll see he has a bold, progressive vision of Canada and politics that redefines modern conservatism.

Jennifer Smith said...

Now all they need are another hundred or so Michael Chongs and maybe my dad will start voting for them again.

Anonymous said...

As a parliamentary intern, I have worked for several MPs and Meili Faille is definitively the best. She's good in transmitting knowledge to us and we do participate in her day to day business. In addition, she's respectful of everyone's work.