Briefed by the Boxer: OLIP meets Trudeau
It was more than justinformative
As we waited around a conference table in a sun-drenched but deserted corner of East Block, we began to worry that unexpected House votes had thwarted our plans again. Justin Trudeau’s sweeping and unaccompanied entrance put our worries to rest.
Sporting an urbanely draped scarf, Mr. Trudeau floated from intern to intern offering a firm handshake and fleeting intense gaze to all before sinking jauntily into chair and asking us what we wanted to know. Appropriately for a politician who identifies himself as a voice for youth, he appeared very at ease in our company and set a very informal tone. If you’re wondering whether OLIP’s hard-hitting questioning softened for any of the luminaries we met in Ottawa, fear not: OLIP is no stranger to celebrity – after all, we did meet Polkaroo. Mr. Trudeau was clearly in his element talking about youth engagement in politics, but was also happy to answer all our questions about his goals, his family and much else. We learned, for example, that his proudest achievement is his three electoral victories fighting for his seat in Papineau.
As one of the most discussed newsmakers of the year, there probably isn’t much groundbreaking insight I can provide about the beliefs or ideas of this aspiring Prime Minister. What I can definitely offer you, reader, is confirmation that Justin Trudeau is a charming dude. I can’t vouch for the rest of OLIP, but I found Mr. Trudeau’s mellifluous timbre and immersive gaze sort of hypnotizing. We’ll see in a few months whether the federal Liberal party finds the prospect of his leadership equally appealing.
Take Me to Your House Leader
Peter Van Loan Tells All
Although he perhaps does not possess the same star-power as Mr. Trudeau, OLIP’s meeting with the Hon. Peter Van Loan, Government House Leader, was among the week’s most candid and informative. 2012 was an eventful year in terms of procedure and strategy in the House of Commons. Two hefty budget implementation bills faced determined opposition, with the second of these only coming to a final vote during the week of our visit. We therefore saw first-hand the frequency with which MPs rushed to the house when the vote bells summoned them.
As Government House Leader, Mr. Van Loan’s job is to navigate government business through the House, getting bills passed and advancing the party’s overall agenda. The level of detail and planning that goes into this house strategy surprised me. Every day that the legislature is sitting is planned for and scheduled months in advance. With this amount of forethought, it is easy to see why the opposition parties choose to register their displeasure with government legislation using procedural tactics. Delaying the passage of a bill by, for example, introducing thousands of amendments and forcing hundreds of votes can throw off the Government’s legislative plan and temporarily confound their agenda.
As well as discussing his current job, Mr. Van Loan frankly answered our questions on topics ranging from backbench unrest to the opposition’s electoral prospects to the roots of the united right. In a week that featured relatively few meetings with members of the government, meeting Mr. Van Loan gave OLIP a fascinating window on Canada’s ruling party.