Andrew Leslie and Charlie Angus on the rise: Ottawa Power Rankings

And we can’t forget about Kevin O’Leary, who made some news this week in the nation’s capital


A new parliamentary secretary’s military past could pay off for Canada-U.S. relations. A veteran New Democrat’s riding wants him to run for leader. Kevin O’Leary is in. See who’s up and who’s down this week in and around Parliament Hill’s corridors of power. And check out the rest of our weekly power rankings.



Andrew Leslie

As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau buttressed the aspects of his cabinet that will deal with our southern neighbour under an unpredictable President Donald Trump, he appointed Leslie parliamentary secretary to new Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland. He will have have “special responsibilities” for Canada-U.S. relations; the retired lieutenant-general has ties to some of Trump’s key advisers by way of shared military backgrounds. The Ottawa MP, first elected in 2015, immediately travelled to Washington along with Freeland for the inauguration.


Charlie Angus

His hometown paper says that local riding association members are “begging” the Timmins–James Bay MP to run for the NDP leadership. No one is yet declared in the race, but Angus is the closest thing the party has to a populist figure as it attempts to rejuvenate itself. On Thursday, he joined with First Nations leaders at a press conference in Ottawa to address the suicide crisis in First Nations communities, which Angus blamed on “systemic discrimination” in Canada.


Kevin O’Leary

It took an absurdly long time and his teaser campaign was the opposite of coy, but the brash entrepreneur finally launched his bid for the Conservative leadership this week. O’Leary’s Dragons’ Den co-host, Arlene Dickinson, immediately penned a blistering critique that declared him too self-interested and opportunistic to be a political leader. Still, he’s poised to suck up all the attention in a jammed field short on frontrunners; it’s worth noting that no one mentioned his name in the debate the night before he declared, as though they were enjoying one last O’Learyless moment in the spotlight.



Justin Trudeau

As Trudeau continued his cross-country tour, it emerged that the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner has opened an investigation into his holiday visit to the Aga Khan’s private island in the Bahamas. When his tour hit Sherbrooke, Que., on Tuesday, Trudeau was asked a question in English by a voter and responded, “We are in Quebec, so I will answer in French,” leaving the woman visibly annoyed. His awkward handling of the moment was all the more puzzling and tone-deaf given the question he’d been asked: how could anglophones get better access to mental health services?


Deepak Obhrai

His debate performance did nothing to elevate his status above that of awkward also-ran in the crowded Tory leadership race. His French was so, uh, pas bon that it descended to the level of gibberish at times, stranding the CPAC translator in confused and horrified silence for long stretches. Obhrai staggered awkwardly through repetitive prepared remarks, following his text with a pen like a schoolkid, and his trademark scarf made it look like he was ready to make a panicked exit stage left at any moment.


Kellie Leitch

The Prince Arthur Herald acquired audio of Leitch sneering to a Tory supporter, “I do have 22 letters at the end of my name, I’m not an idiot.” She was gleefully and savagely mocked on social media; it’s a particularly rich comment from a candidate waving the anti-elite flag, to say nothing of the fact that she doesn’t actually have 22 letters to her credit. On the debate stage in Quebec City, Leitch’s French was stilted and wonky. And now, with O’Leary in, Leitch—who has willed her candidacy to relevance by chasing controversy—may suffer from acute oxygen deprivation.