Questioning the existence of the Intergovernmental Affairs Minister

Yesterday afternoon, the NDP sent up Robert Aubin to ask Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Peter Penashue about his portfolio. Mr. Penashue hasn’t been answering questions about his election campaign, but Government House leader Peter Van Loan pointed at Mr. Penashue to take this one. Only Mr. Penashue didn’t seem to get the message and so, after a couple of seconds, Mr. Van Loan pointed to Tony Clement, who then stood and responded.

The NDP tried again and Mr. Van Loan again pointed at Mr. Penashue and this Mr. Penashue got the message and stood and offered an awkward response. A third question about intergovernmental affairs was then directed to Kerry-Lynne Findlay, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of justice. A final question, about Mr. Penashue’s election campaign, was taken by Pierre Poilievre, the designated government spokesman on questions of ethics.

Yesterday’s one response from Mr. Penashue was the first time he’s spoken in the House this fall and just the tenth time he’s spoken this year.

The precise utility of the intergovernmental affairs portfolio is perhaps open to question.