Members of Parliament sometimes get a bad rap for behaving like kids in question period. They shout. They taunt. Sometimes there’s almost a schoolyard tussle. Heck, every once in a while they even fall asleep.
But Pierre Poilievre, parliamentary secretary to the minister of transport, took things to a different level on Monday.
Poilievre has been earning his bucks lately by being one of a handful of Tory MPs consistently rising to defend the government on the Senate expense scandal and reports of a Conservative party fund run out of the Prime Minister’s Office.
CBC reported last Thursday that Stephen Harper’s former chief of staff, Nigel Wright, controlled a secret, partisan fund in the PMO when he cut the infamous $90,000 cheque to embattled Senator Mike Duffy.
Conservatives slammed the report as “shoddy journalism” and released a statement saying Tory party expenses are paid by one account, controlled by the Conservative party. Tories demanded — but did not receive — a retraction.
Toronto MP Craig Scott took Poilievre to task for saying on Friday that no such fund existed — comments apparently contradicted a day later by another parliamentary secretary, Chris Alexander, who said “no one is denying the existence of a separate Conservative party fund controlled by the prime minister’s chief of staff.”
“So, Mr. Speaker, can the parliamentary secretary who was not telling the truth stand and explain this contradiction?” Scott wondered.
Though the question was obviously pointed, Poilievre evidently thought the best way to respond to the jab was to behave like an eight-year-old with a crush.
“Mr. Speaker, can I tell you a secret?” he asked sheepishly, to some laughs. “Promise you won’t tell anybody? Don’t tell the NDP. Don’t tell the CBC. The prime minister of Canada is the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. And when there are Conservative Party of Canada expenses, including from its leader, it’s paid by the Conservative party. I’ve been meaning to get that off my chest for a while. Please don’t tell the CBC. Please don’t tell the NDP.”
Though Poilievre scored some laughs from his fellow Tories – a few of whom helped his shtick with a “what?” here or a “this just in” there – not everyone was laughing.
Deputy NDP Leader Megan Leslie took to Twitter shortly after the exchange.
“Yeah, Pollievre, Canadians really love being talked to like that,” she wrote.
It was certainly an unconventional response from the young Tory MP who has earned the nickname "Skippy" on Parliament Hill.
But with Parliament wrapping up at the end of the week it’s entirely possible Poilievre, like millions of other Canadian kids, is just excited for summer break.