This week, Maclean’s, in partnership with L’Actualité and the Historica-Dominion Institute, is pleased to present our fifth annual Parliamentarians of the Year awards. Bob Rae wins the top honour. His lifetime of political experience, unparalleled debating skills and intelligent approach to difficult issues belie the current state of the federal Liberal party and his title as its interim leader. When Rae speaks, colleagues on both sides of the House know to pay attention. He joins previous honourees John Baird, Jason Kenney, Bill Blaikie and Ralph Goodale.
From the hardest working to most knowledgeable, these awards celebrate those who represent what is right about Ottawa. To determine the winners, Ipsos Reid asked all 308 members of Parliament to nominate the best MPs from both inside and outside their own parties, in each of seven categories. (Votes were converted to a point system to ensure that larger parties did not have an advantage. The winner of Parliamentarian of the Year was awarded on the basis of the highest number of total points across all categories.)
And this year, for the first time, we are presenting a Lifetime Achievement award, as chosen by the editors. The winner, Jack Layton, made history this spring by single-handedly lifting the NDP to Canada’s official Opposition in a mesmerizing display of campaigning skill and character, before succumbing to cancer over the summer. His presence is sorely missed in Parliament.