In a Member’s Statement on Thursday afternoon, Conservative MP Randy Hoback bashed Liberal International Trade critic Chrystia Freeland for not doing her job.
The newly elected Liberal “star candidate” from Toronto-Centre was appointed trade critic this winter, effectively booting veteran MP Wayne Easter from the position. According to Hoback, Freeland does not sit on the trade committee, and has “missed 39 hours of testimony from 68 witnesses. She has never even asked the minister of international trade a question in [the] House.” The criticism comes a week before Freeland sits on a panel that will criticize the government’s Global Markets Action Plan (GMAP). Freeland did not attend any GMAP meetings.
Gone are the days when Members of Parliament sit around in Ottawa debating bills and keeping government accountable. These Conservatives are so backwards in thinking. This isn’t 1867 anymore… Canada is progressive, and keeping governments accountable is way too old school. Liberals have found the new trend in populism, and no this time it’s not marijuana legalization, abortion, or boxing matches with senators. How dare Randy Horback criticize Freeland? What he doesn’t understand is that Freeland is simply following the latest liberal strategy: not showing up to work.
That’s why Justin Trudeau has missed over 59% of Question Period’s (QP) this sitting, showing up to work an average of twice per week. For a man who champions “Hope and Hard Work,” he certainly seems to be skipping out on the latter half. But don’t fret Liberal supporters and prospective struggling middle class voters! It’s not as bad as it sounds. Justin says he’s out meeting real Canadians, because he can’t be bothered with the childish quibbles that are so common in QP.
Trudeau has a good point. “Debate” is a relative term in the House these days, and MPs from all parties are guilty of hyperbole, hyperpartisanship, and a general lack of respect for the democratic institution. So instead of hanging around and doing something about it (like… oh.. I don’t know… asking real, hard-hitting, provocative questions and engaging in meaningful, respectful debate), Justin has opted for plan B: run away.
To be fair, this isn’t all Justin’s doing. Not showing up for work is a long-standing Liberal tradition. In fact, Trudeau’s attendance record is a large improvement on former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff’s dismal 30% (think about it, seven times out of ten, this guy was nowhere to be seen during QP… yikes). In the 2011 Federal Election English Language Debate, former NDP leader, the late Jack Layton, called out Ignatieff for his dismal attendance record. In one of the most famous lines of the campaign that is often credited as the start of the “Orange Wave” of NDP dominance, Layton told Ignatieff: “Most Canadians, if they don’t show up for work, they don’t get a promotion.” Nowadays, Ignatieff spends his days lecturing students and writing books on how to fail and succeed in politics.
Trudeau and Freeland would benefit from heeding the late great Layton’s advice, lest they want to end up writing books on how they failed in politics like their former leader.