POLITICS

Justin Trudeau Questioned About Poor Attendance Record

12/11/2013 12:08 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 01:38 EST
CP

As it turns out, Justin Trudeau is just not that into question period.

According to the National Post, the rookie Liberal leader had the worst attendance record in the House of Commons of any federal leader and did not show up more than two days a week during the fall session of Parliament.

But Trudeau told the Post's Lee Berthiaume he makes no apologies for his absences and believes he is getting more done by meeting people in their communities.

"This government, and unfortunately this House of Commons, tends to be focused on attacks and insults much more than on the service that Canadians are expecting of their parliamentarians and their representatives," he said told the newspaper.

"People are struggling. And they want people who are listening to them, who are proposing solutions."

In the final analysis, Trudeau missed 22 of 34 question periods since Oct. 16, while Prime Minister Stephen Harper skipped 19 and NDP Leader Tom Mulcair was absent for 14.

It's worth noting, though, that federal leaders often skip question period on Mondays and Fridays.

But the discussion over the Liberal leader's absences feels awfully familiar, doesn't it?

Back in the 2011 election, late NDP leader Jack Layton eviscerated former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff during the leaders' debate over his spotty attendance record.

Layton said Ignatieff missed 70 per cent of the votes.

"If you want to be prime minister, you better learn how to be a member of Parliament first," Layton said in arguably the biggest moment of the night. "You know, most Canadians if they don’t show up for work, they don't get a promotion."

The line was described as a "knock-out punch."

And NDP campaign director Brad Lavigne told the Toronto Star that Layton's jab was crucial in building momentum for New Democrats and sinking the Grits.

"At that moment we knew our guy had just scored a home run," Lavigne said.

The NDP also doubled-down with an ad campaign painting Ignatieff as MIA.

Based on the comparison between Trudeau and Mulcair's attendance, the NDP may be in a position to play the same card in 2015.

But as pointed out by Andy Radia at Yahoo! Canada News, interim Liberal leader Bob Rae didn't exactly have a sparkling attendance record either.

Rae told The Globe and Mail last year that it's less pressing to be in the House when a Tory majority government means voting is "largely symbolic."

What do you think? Does Trudeau's poor attendance record make you any less likely to vote for him or do you agree with the Liberal leader that he should be out meeting Canadians in their communities instead? Tell us in the comments.

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