How I spent my summer vacation

Summer vacation lasted a bit longer for MPs than for the rest of us. If you’re just tuning back in now as our parliamentarians head back to the House tomorrow, here’s what you may have missed.


For Justin, this was very much the summer of love. He ditched the suit for a pair of cargo shorts, got his wife pregnant, went on tour, and spent a lot of time talking about pot.

Even though Liberal Party members voted to legalize marijuana at their last convention, I don’t think anyone expected much more than a decriminalization promise any time soon. After all, it was just two years ago that Michael Ignatieff urged youth to dig ditches instead of smoking “marijuana cigarettes”.

In a very good article, Paul Wells admonishes Trudeau for deviating from the economy, but I think there’s a case to be made for burning off the pot issue long before the writ drops.

By itself, I suspect legalization will have a minimal impact in the 2015 election – the stoned slacker vote is notoriously hard to mobilize, and even older Canadians recognize the need to reform marijuana laws. So don’t expect 2015 to go down in the history books as the Gonja Election.

At the same time, this policy will play a key role in helping Canadians form their opinions of Trudeau. The Liberal frame will no doubt be that Justin is “a man of the times”, not afraid to speak his mind and take bold positions. The Tories will counter that Justin isn’t serious and lacks the gravitas to the PM.

Those competing frames will have a larger impact on how Canadians vote in two years than whatever they think about marijuana.

harper gun
It should be no surprise that while the other kids were off having fun and talking about drugs, Stephen spent the summer with his head stuck in a book.

Of course, he also found time to wear a flight suit, fire a gun, and go camping in the north as part of what seemed like a perpetual attempt to change the chanel away from the senate expense scandal. Now Harper knows how the rest of us felt all those years when we lunged for the remote control every time Mike Duffy’s face appeared on TV.

With the Cabinet shuffled, all 14 new Ministers of Immigration in place, and a throne speech on the way tomorrow, Harper will very much be trying to reboot his government. But it’s likely going to take more than photo ops with pandas and cheaper cell phone bills to head off the inevitable “time for a change” sentiment. It may not be there yet, but I suspect it will be by 2015. After all, it’s been over a Century since a Prime Minister won four consecutive mandates.

mulcair mcquaig

Four of Tom‘s MPs were married this summer, so he spent a lot of time browsing the Bay gift registry and mastering the chicken dance. I’m not sure how those weddings went, but you can bet that if the projector broke down before the slide show, Mulcair would have been quick to blame Stephen Harper. And Jean Chretien.

I hope Mulcair had a good time at the weddings, because the rest of the summer was a bit of a drag. He got pulled over by the RCMP and then, without trying to be ironic, uttered the words “do you know who I am?”.

Sadly for Mulcair, polls suggest many Canadians would answer that question with a “no”.

That will change during the 2015 election. The “good” news for the NDP is they’re learning a lot about what not to do during campaigns. The bad news is they’re not only up against a rejuvenated Liberal Party, but a Conservative Party now dishing out consumer-friendly treats directly from the NDP cookbook. Mulcair isn’t going to win on his sparkling personality, so he’s going to have to find some empty turf to paint orange soon.

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