And for all you parliamentrivia nuts out there ...

… who may, like ITQ, already be bored by all things shuffleological, here’s an equally fascinating, if far less frequently asked question: If the PM meant what he said about working with – and not against – the opposition – will he make the ultimate symbolic gesture, and replace the permanently perturbed Peter Van Loan with someone a little less … Pavlovian, as far as controlling his partisan reflexes?

Which, really, would seem to include pretty much anyone else in the Conservative caucus, but ideally, it would be someone with at least a passing knowledge of the mechanics of the House — and the reality of running House business as a minority government — even one that has ostensibly been strengthened by an additional sixteen members — and especially if the government plans to make a pitch for more control at committee.

Jay Hill – currently the Government Whip, but who was House Leader back when the Conservatives sat on the other side of the Chamber  – might be a better choice to play legislative point man for the government. At the very least, he seems capable of working with his opposition counterparts on logistical issues, which is considerably more than can be said for the existing title-holder. Another good candidate would be Scott Reid, who was Van Loan’s deputy house leader, but is, more importantly, a Marleau-and-Montpetit-toting procedural wonk after ITQ’s own heart.

Come to think of it, why not give Diane Ablonczy the House Leader’s job? It’s a cabinet post, although not one that comes complete with its very own department, but neither did her current gig, and it arguably plays a far more significant role as far as the government’s medium- and long-term future. Plus, she’d be good at it, if that counts for anything. If he has to get something, make Democratic Reform a separate portfolio, and let Van Loan keep that – or give him Intergovernmental Affairs, just in case the provinces get out of line.

Thoughts? Oh, and bonus points – redeemable for nothing but bragging rights, but still – for anyone who can name the current dean of the House — without Googling. (Or Wikipeding. Or anything else that constitutes cheating.)