Paul Wells in conversation with Jason Kenney

The employment minister won the POTY award for hardest working

On Nov. 18, Maclean’s honoured the eighth annual Parliamentarians of the Year. Employment Minister Jason Kenney was vote hardest working. Check out the rest of the winners.

Jason Kenney’s primary title these days, Minister of Employment and Social Development, is enough to signal his importance in the Tory government: He’s the jobs minister. But that’s only the start. As Minister for Multiculturalism, Kenney serves—as he has for years—as Stephen Harper’s point man for outreach to ethnic voters. As regional minister for Southern Alberta, he’s in charge of the care and feeding of the core Conservative base in Harper’s heartland. And he chairs cabinet’s powerful operations committee, which oversees day-to-day coordination of the government’s agenda.

You might guess he’s chained to his desk. You’d be wrong. Kenney still tours the country extensively to meet with his provincial counterparts to get agreements on programs like the Canada Job Grant, and to meet (and dine) with ethnocultural communities. In Parliament Hill circles, where workaholics abound, his reputation for keeping punishing hours stands out.

Often in his office past midnight, Kenney spends some of those late hours engaging with critics over Twitter. He has long credited his ability to sleep anywhere for allowing him to put in 20-hour days whenever he needs to. To top it off, in a government known for truncated media availability, Kenney is the lone minister who routinely stretches news conferences until the last reporter’s final question is exhausted. But he, it seems, is not.

— Dale Smith

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