From David Akin: Those the most impressive in the House - and guess who is on the list???

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From David Akin: Those the most impressive in the House - and guess who is on the list???

Some thoughts as 2010 ends, about those I thought most impressive in
the House of Commons this year. (Dec.23)

For this list, I’ve omitted cabinet members:

- Jack Layton — All party leaders lead high-stress lives with
punishing schedules, but NDP Leader Jack Layton did that in 2010 while
fighting prostate cancer. His treatment regimen, which has
appropriately remained a private affair, was clearly taking a physical
toll on him earlier in the year, but as 2010 ends he looks stronger
and healthier, a sign, we hope, he’s slowly gaining the upper hand in
that fight.

- Chris Warkentin — The 32-year-old Conservative from Peace River,
Alta., is so youthful-looking that pundits sometimes tease him as the
MP from “the riding of Macaulay Culkin.” But Warkentin has shown
smarts beyond his years playing defence as the lead Tory on the House
of Commons Government Operations and Estimates Committee, where his
government has come under fire for the Jaffer/Guergis affair, the G20
debacle, public works renovation contracts and other politically
explosive topics. The political damage might have been greater but for
Warkentin’s work.

- Siobhan Coady — This rookie 50-year-old MP from St. John’s, N.L.,
has been the Liberal point person on the same committee as Warkentin
and has shown class, courage, and conviction in advancing her team’s
agenda there.

Case in point: Though she could have won headlines throwing around
terms like “busty hookers” in the Jaffer/Guergis case, she took the
high road. Coady appropriately pressed the government on the important
issue in that matter: Cosy access to the halls of power for
Conservative friends.

- Ted Menzies — I’ve used this space before to argue that Prime
Minister Stephen Harper ought to make Menzies, a farmer from
southwestern Alberta, the next environment minister. One reason why
that would be a smart move is the broad respect he has from MPs on all
sides of the House.

- Peter Julian — One Tory MP said that while “he drives me crazy with
his hardcore left philosophy,” there was no getting around the fact he
works hard and does a great job for the NDP. That opinion is shared by
many on the Hill. Julian, 48, was first elected in 2004 to represent
his Burnaby, B.C., riding, but is widely expected to seek the
leadership of the B.C. NDP party, a decision which could one day make
him a premier. One to watch in 2010.

- Thierry St. Cyr — Another youngster, just 33, who represents a
downtown Montreal riding, is seen by MPs outside his own Bloc
Quebecois caucus as a bright, dependable straight-shooter. If you’re
in a party that’s never going to be the government, the only way you
get things done is by building that kind of personal reputation and
finding those on the government side who will deal with you on a
personal level.

- Bob Rae — Whatever you might think of his politics, the Liberal MP
and foreign affairs critic is what you hope to find in any politician.

He’s principled, fair, patient, enthusiastic for his own cause without
feeling he has to insult or denigrate those with whom he disagrees.
Plus he’s got a great sense of humour.

- Claude Bachand — The dean of defence critics, who matches that
expertise with a certain amount of non-partisan wisdom in his work on
the Commons’ committee on national defence that he’s been part of
since 2000.

Bachand is also one of the longest serving MPs in his Bloc Quebecois
caucus, arriving in Parliament in 1993.

Twitter: @davidakin

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