Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Memoirs, Part 5, Life After Politics, p. 366
At first glance, the gig of being Canada's Speaker of the House of Commons, looks like a pretty awesome and rich plum to the person who is lucky enough to be able to garner the support of his peers to secure the position. The salary is not un-adjacent to $250,000 a year! There is also a very nice apartment just off the House, with a very nice view. Even sweeter, the post comes with a residence! And that residence has one hell of a nice wine cellar. And just so the august Speaker does not have to drink alone, the position also has an annual entertainment allowance of over (way over...) a million bucks a year! Woo-Hoo! Definitely not a job for a mere Conservative!
|Speakers Chair as viewed from the House entrance...|
And you know it is the start of a another new Parliament when the you hear the perennial bleating in the old media of "we are going to bring respect and good behavior to the House!" These everlasting bleatings are like the sounds of the Canada geese returning in the spring and you know, just like the same sound they make when they leave in the fall for their condo's in Fort Lauderdale! These pronouncements are almost always made by shinny eyed newbies who don't have a clue of what they are in for! And it also shows the level of the ignorance of the history of the Westminister System! Parliament is not meant to be a cordial meeting place. It was designed to be adversarial! That is why you have the Speaker! In times of old when the House was allowed to even meet, there was no time or patience for niceties! You were there to get yours! And if getting yours meant heckling a weakling to hide under his bench in a fetal position, so that he did not rise to the vote which helped you get what you came for, well and good. If you don't realize that before you step into the House you are doomed! You will notice that as the session advances, the seats in the house will start to thin...Many people after a while, and usually a short while, simply can no longer enter the House voluntarily! That is why each party has what is called a "whip". You should have no problem figuring out what his job is...
|Parliament in the time of Edward...|
|The Farm - The Speakers Residence...|
What's that? Who does the Oracle of Ottawa like for Speaker? Strange that you should ask! And the Oracle of Ottawa does have a most excellent candidate in mind... What qualities are the most important? Well, the Oracle really likes a class guy. I just loved Peter Milliken. He was damned good at his job. He was the longest serving Speaker in Canadian history! So you can see why the next choice of Speaker will be so important. So, who has all the qualities of a Peter Milliken? Who has the knowledge, the probity and most importantly the calm warm disposition to hold court in the pit of jackals? Who has the presence, the internal stability, who would stand independent of partisan interest, in the thickest of fire? Who would give that wine cellar at " The Farm" a jolly good work-out? Who has the big feet, that would give at least a 50 - 50 chance of filling the empty shoes left behind? Well, may I suggest that you could a lot worse than David McGuinty. Check out the track record! Check out the resume! Ottawa South holds the Daver in very high esteem. Residents from Ottawa South are always greeted by the whispered sigh, that they would give anything to vote for a "high profile" candidate in their riding... Oh well, I always reply, we in Ottawa South wont accept anything less...and neither should you.
How prophetic was this? How prophetic will it continue to be? Hmmmm...