Contrary to widespread belief, some politicians actually manage to do a good job. Whether it’s through the gift of the gab or making moves on the Hill, these five MPs are the best Canadian politics currently has to offer.
5) Megan Leslie, Halifax, NDP
On reading the name Megan Leslie, some readers may be bothered by a complete absence of ringing bells, but give it time; this Halifax MP is on the rise. Not only was Leslie voted “Rookie of the Year” by her Parliament peers in 2009, the Dalhousie Law School grad took second place in a “Who is the Hippest MP?” poll in 2010. Among the reasons: she promotes and hosts exhibitions in her constituency office for local artists. That’s one way to ruffle some comb-overs on Parliament Hill.
4) John Baird, Ottawa West-Nepean, Conservative
Granted, Baird’s comments regarding “Toronto elites” and the gun registry probably weren’t the best way to ingratiate himself with folks who aren’t into four-wheeling and taxidermy, but there’s no denying that he’s been the go-to guy for the Conservatives as of late. For his effectiveness in fielding (or dancing around) innumerable questions as House Leader in 2010, Baird was named “Parliamentarian of the Year” by his political colleagues. That’s gotta be worth something.
3) Bob Rae, Toronto-Centre, Liberal
Although things aren’t exactly going swimmingly for the Liberals these days, they have at least one MP who continues to display some serious moxy: Bob Rae. It wasn’t long ago that Rae stuck his chin out for U.S. Iraq war resisters, and this past year he was named Parliament’s “Best Orator” as well as “Most Effective MP in Question Period.” Now, who said what about “Rae Days”?
2) Gilles Duceppe, Laurier-Sainte-Marie, Bloc Quebecois
OK federalists, take a big breath and put down your double-double; while you may dislike Duceppe because of his sovereignty agenda for Quebec, there’s little denying that the Bloc leader continues to be a formidable force in Canadian politics. Not only has Duceppe been an MP since before Mark Wahlberg was better known as “Marky Mark” (yup, nearly 20 years and counting), last year he was named Parliament’s “Most Knowledgeable” person. Just admit it; you’d take him on your team.
1) Jack Layton, Toronto-Danforth, NDP
While many of us have been known to dial in sick with some sort of imaginary, “the doc says it’s super, super, infectious” ailment, Layton continues to serve effectively as NDP leader while battling prostate cancer. In fact, despite his illness, Layton was named one of The Hill’s “Most Influential” politicians in 2010 and declared “Hot” in a November Toronto Sun editorial. Perhaps most importantly, Canadian has picked Uncle Jack as the party leader they would most like to crack a beer with. Now if that doesn’t impress you, what will?
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