The Backbench Top Ten

Our weekly, and wholly arbitrary, ranking of the ten most worthy, or at least entertaining, MPs, excluding the Prime Minister, cabinet members and party leaders. A celebration of all that is great and ridiculous about the House of Commons. Last week’s rankings appear in parentheses.

1. Jack Harris (1)
Never mind this merger nonsense—at least until someone can demonstrate that it’s based in something approaching practical reality—especially because it ignores the perfectly symbiotic relationship the Liberals and NDP have presently settled on. Witness the detainee document negotiations wherein the NDP is the bad cop, the Liberals are the good cop: the two sides able to take those positions because the other side is willing to do the opposite. So it goes. When the Liberals are willing to capitulate to the government, the NDP loudly proclaim their opposition to Stephen Harper. When the Liberals decide to oppose, the NDP are only interested in “making Parliament work.” When one zigs, the other is sure to zag. It might seem a bit silly at times, but it might also make for a more fulsome democracy.
2. Michael Chong (2)
For the sake of drama, let’s say the future of our democracy depends on the ability of Mr. Chong to see his motion to some kind of change. No pressure, sir.
3. Maxime Bernier (4)
The latest from Mr. Bernier: a call to war against inflation.
4. Siobhan Coady (3)
5. Bob Rae (5)
6. Michelle Simson (6)

7. Mark Holland (-)
He’s still a bit like a pitcher who can only hope to overpower the batter—Bob Rae would be an example of one who has speed, touch, placement and cunning—but that’s periodically necessary and effective. And he does seem to actually listen to the government’s answers. Or at least prepare retorts ahead of time to their predictable explanations.
8. Francine Lalonde (8)
9. Daniel Paille (9)
10. Jim Maloway (-)
Demonstrating an ability, or at least a willingness, to speak to any given topic, Mr. Maloway has somehow managed,
at last count, to commit 149,235 words to the official record in this session of Parliament—more than three times the number of the next most verbose MP. Whether this is admirable or merely weird, the people of Elmwood-Transcona have at least received their words worth.

Previous rankings: March 12. March 19. April 3. April 10. April 25. May 1. May 9. May 16. May 23. May 30. June 6.