Peter Penashue: The unanswered questions and the quiet minister

The former MP's resignation doesn't silence the criticism

Laura Payton tallies the questions that are still to be answered about Peter Penashue’s campaign spending.

The NDP, meanwhile, takes aim at Mr. Penashue’s time in the House, tallying all of the times he didn’t respond to questions they asked that they think he should have.

It’s probably difficult to confirm that Mr. Penashue was definitely in the House when each was asked and there is probably some debate to be had over whether it was his place to respond to each and every of questions, but Mr. Penashue’s relative quiet—see here for every occasion on which he spoke in the House—and the precise utility of the intergovernmental affairs portfolio have been a regular subject of some notice: see here, here, here and here.

The latter issue is a curiosity that predates Mr. Penashue’s time in the role. And the portfolio’s lack of purpose is something opposition MPs have exploited in asking questions of the minister that end up being answered by other ministers. (See, for instance, some of Stephane Dion’s questions.)

The other issues is that the Conservatives have tended to let other individuals speak when questions are repeatedly asked about the alleged ethical failings of particular members. So, for instance, a question might be asked about Mr. Penashue, but the response might come from Mr. Poilievre (who has lately taken on the responsibility of handling all questions of an ethical nature). See previously: Bev Oda, Tony Clement.

So Mr. Penashue was doubly limited: both as a minister without anything in particular to speak to during QP and as a minister subject to opposition questions about his campaign.

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