Friday, March 11, 2011

Rebel MPs

Maybe we should start a - because there's more dissension in Parliament than you think.

Here's some fun statistics from the 3rd session of the 40th Parliament - and Liberals may want to look over these numbers twice:

What you're seeing here is a basic graph of the number of dissents and plain absences we've seen so far in the 362 days of the 3rd Session of the 40th Parliament. As you can frankly see, the Liberals top the other parties in both cases.

For dissents, on average, meaning totalling together the entire amount of dissents Liberal MPs have committed in this session (that's basically voting against the party line), our MPs have dissented on nearly 26 bills, or 12.8% of this session's total. It may not seem like a lot, but it is, especially when compared to the other parties, the closest being the Conservatives, who average out to rebelling on one bill. The Bloc whips are the most in control.

Who are the culprits, you ask? Well, imagine this: the top 18 dissenters in Parliament are all Liberal, the 19th being Lawrence Cannon. Of those 18, 16 have had above 10 dissents this session, which no other party can match. The top 16, just so everyone is aware, account for 212 of the 422 dissentions this session - over half. For everyone's notebooks, these MPs are:

Dan McTeague (16)
Paul Szabo (15)
Geoff Regan (14)
Raymonde Folco (13)
Jim Karygiannis (13)
Scott Simms (12)
Larry Bagnell (12)
Keith Martin (12)
John Cannis (12)
Mario Silva (12)
Bryon Wilfert (12)
Anthony Rota (12)
Maria Minna (12)
Ujjal Dosanjh (12)
Hedy Fry (11)
Dominic LeBlanc (11)
Bernard Patry (11)

This is a telling list. The Rebel 16, as I'm going to call them from now on, are mostly members that are either a) ideologically to the right; b) backbench members; or c) come from close ridings. The only ones that don't really fit this mold are Dominic LeBlanc and Geoff Regan, who are both relatively centrist, are in fairly safe ridings, and are well-known faces on the Liberal frontbench. Ujjal Dosanjh can be explained because of his riding and his status as a former Dipper. The rest are relatively centre-right, or are backbenchers no one cares much about.

Why are LeBlanc and Regan rebelling so much? LeBlanc is in a rural riding, so that's one reason, though he's also a prospective leadership candidate, which can also explain a bit. Regan, however, is an unknown quantity to me. Curious, though. Very curious.

Also interesting is this: Sukh Dhaliwal, who rebelled 24 times under Dion, has only rebelled once under Ignatieff. The same sort of split goes for Wayne Easter (9 times under Dion, 0 under Iggy), and Shawn Murphy (12 under Dion, 3 under Iggy), and some others.

Consistent rebellers are Dan McTeague (18 under Dion, 17 under Iggy), John Cannis (13 under Dion, 15 under Iggy), and Keith Martin (13 under Dion, 17 under Iggy).

And rebellers who have increased their dissent from Dion to Iggy are Paul Szabo (6 under Dion, 18 under Iggy), Raymonde Folco (6 under Dion, 14 under Iggy), and Geoff Regan (2 under Dion, 14 under Iggy).

On the flip side, the MPs that have never dissented is also kind of interesting, as it includes Bob Rae, Joe Volpe, Anita Neville, Glen Pearson, Justin Trudeau, and some others. Essentially, people that Iggy has kept close to him, Rae included. These guys are generally the folks that drive a lot of the caucus policy.

All in all, it highlights a problem that the Liberal caucus direly needs to face. I would point out that, of the 76 voting Liberals, 28 have dissented on over 2 bills this session, or nearly 37%! That's not as bad as the nearly 50% rate featured under Stephane Dion during the 2nd session of the 39th Parliament, but still. Our caucus isn't necessarily divided among its leadership, but our backbenchers, our right-wingers, are clearly not necessarily comfortable working with us a good portion of the time. This does need to be addressed, eventually.

For those interested, the Conservatives most prolific rebels are Lawrence Cannon (5), John Baird (4), Gerald Keddy, James Bezan, and James Moore (all 3). It's actually not a surprising list. However, a fun thing to point out is that Christian Paradis holds the highest number of rebellions during a single session at 18 - before he was made a cabinet minister.

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