06/22/2012 12:38 EDT

Best And Worst MPs: Althia Raj On The Politicians Who Shone And Stumbled During The Session


As MPs head off for their summer break, HuffPost's Ottawa Bureau Chief Althia Raj has taken a look back at the politicians who performed best and worst during the Parliamentary session.

See who we thought shone and stumbled and make sure to vote for who you think were the very worst and very best using the stars on the right side of the two slideshows below.

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Worst MPs Of The Session
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Photo gallery
Best MPs Of The Session
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Rob Anders: Anders said a car accident was to blame after video of the Calgary MP sleeping in the House of Commons went viral. Then he was accused of falling asleep again, this time during a Veterans Affairs committee meeting. Instead of apologizing to the veterans he'd greeted with a snore, Anders accused them of being NDP hacks. They said they were card-carrying Conservatives. Anders apologized soon after, but he was booted from the committee.

Dean Del Mastro: If he hadn't been so sanctimonious about the robocalls scandal, Canadians might feel a bit sorry for the guy. In court documents, Elections Canada seems to suggest Del Mastro committed electoral fraud by over-contributing to his campaign by writing a personal $21,000 cheque for, you guessed it, robocalls. It is alleged his campaign overspent it's allowed limit and tried to hide it. Del Mastro initially appeared genuinely shocked by the allegations but more than two weeks later, as more evidence mounts, he still can't provide answers.

Jonathan Tremblay: This NDP MP from Montmorency--Charlevoix--Haute-Côte-Nord opened mail marked for Liberal MP Marc Garneau and then kept the contents, toy spaceships, for his own purposes. Seriously, he stole mail. And what was with that rat-tail

Peter Kent: This minister needs to tone down the rhetoric. Accusing charities of laundering money is not only a criminal allegation, it doesn't help his argument. Why doesn't Kent come up with rational reasons to justify the government's actions on the environment? It's one of the reasons no one believes the Conservatives care about the file.

Peter MacKay: It isn't the expensive hotels but the F-35 procurement fiasco that really lands this minister in hot water. Did MacKay allow officials to sneak something past him without appropriate scrutiny? Did he knowingly mislead Canadians about the cost of the fighter jets? This minister needs to take control of his department.

Pat Martin: The loose-lipped New Democrat from Winnipeg not only dropped a few F-bombs on Twitter this year but was also too quick with his vocal criticism of the robocalls scandal. Now he finds himself the subject of a $5 million lawsuit that won't go away, no matter how many times he apologizes.

Bev Oda: $16 orange juice. Hundreds more for fancier hotels. Thousands more for limousines. She's the minister in charge of helping starving children. Need we say more?

Vic Toews: First the Public Minister said Canadians who opposed the government's desire to spy on the public whenever it wishes were standing with child pornographers. Then, in a radio interview, he appeared to have little knowledge of what his bill actually contained. His comments created an uproar and the bill has been shelved -- for now. This week, Toews also had to back down from a CBSA plan to spy on travellers in Canadian airports. The government now plans to talk about its proposal with the Privacy Commissioner before moving forward.

Lise St-Denis: This rookie MP from Saint-Maurice--Champlain announced in January that she was switching parties and joining the Liberals after spending ten years volunteering with the NDP. She told reporters she ran for the New Democrats but never expected to be elected and infamously declared, in one of the year's least tactful comments: "They voted for Jack Layton. Jack Layton died." St-Denis said she didn't want to spend three years listening to a party defend policies she disagreed with. She pointed to the NDP opposing the mission extension in Libya, opposing public-private partnership for large-scale infrastructure deals and its desire to abolish the Senate. We can only ask, did St-Denis read any of the NDP's policies during her 10 years as a volunteer? We're not sure the Liberals got the best of the batch here...

David Wilks: This B.C. MP from Kootenay--Columbia told his constituents he agreed with them that there were problems with Bill C-38, the Tories' omnibus budget legislation, and said he was prepared to oppose it if other Conservatives joined him. But as soon as the story, and his comments, hit the Web, Wilks did a complete 180, saying he supported the Conservative government's budget bill. Although he recently told CBC's Julie Van Dusen he now thinks the bill is "great for Canada," after reading and studying it better, we think he either misled his constituents or sold them out after being disciplined by the Prime Minister's Office.


Rona Ambrose: The Edmonton MP and Public Works Minister didn't have an easy time as environment minister a few years back but now everything Ambrose touches seems to come out smoothly -- at least, that's what the government hopes. After successfully managing a $33-billion shipbuilding contract that didn't split the country apart, she's now entrusted with ensuring another billion-dollar procurement, the bungled F-35 jet deal (through the national fighter procurement secretariat), goes smoothly and fairly.

Charlie Angus: The NDP MP for Timmins--James Bay drew international attention to the plight of the Attawapiskat First Nation in his northern Ontario riding after writing a blog about it on The Huffington Post Canada this fall. The blog and the public pressure it garnered forced the federal government to take action on a situation it had largely ignored.

Nathan Cullen: The former NDP leadership contender may have lost the leadership race but he earned a lot of respect. His willingness to reach across party lines and work with Liberals may come in handy later on. Watch for him now in his more visible role as NDP house leader.

Stephen Harper: After two minority governments, the prime minister is now taking the long view on Canada's future. While he tends to appear more statesmanlike abroad than at home, his speech in Davos this January signalled his willingness to make tough decisions to ensure long-term economic growth. Harper's suggestions: pension reform, new free trade deals, more intense development of Canada's natural resources, lower health care spending and major immigration reforms.

Jason Kenney: He may have taken his lumps for calling the deputy premier of Alberta an "asshole," but one thing we appreciate about Kenney is that he says what he thinks and doesn't mince words. He maintains a delicate balance between currying favours with immigrants and taking a hard line on would-be refugees. While it may appear the hard-working MP sometimes lacks compassion, his focus on ensuring immigrants serve Canada (rather than the other way around) is good for the economy and should help new immigrants by giving them easier access to quality jobs.

Megan Leslie & Michelle Rempel: The NDP's environment critic and the environment minister's parliamentary secretary are two smart women who make question period worth watching. Leslie, left, asks intelligent questions and has a knack for baiting her older Conservative colleagues into saying something stupid. Rempel has outshone her minister, Peter Kent by managing to deflect opposition attacks in clever ways without ever putting her foot in her mouth. These are two rising stars.

Elizabeth May: The Green Party Leader has shown what one MP can do with a team of volunteers and a lot of heart. Canadians with any knowledge of C-38, the Conservative omnibus budget, likely have May to thank. May has been ferocious in her attacks on the bundled bill and ger ability to work with opposition parties resulted in the longest series of marathon votes Canadians have seen in a long time.

Bob Rae: It's always difficult for politicians to put their personal ambitions aside. In stepping away from the Liberal leadership race, Rae took another one for the team. Highly regarded by colleagues in and out of his party, he's an effective communicator who kept the Liberals alive in the Commons despite third place status.

Justin Trudeau: Not only did the Liberal MP for Papineau shame Conservatives across the country when he pummeled Tory Sen. Patrick Brazeau in a nationally televised boxing match, but he re-energized Liberals into believing former goals were possible. Trudeau doesn't yet have the experience, but he's smarter then many people give him credit for and he could cause the NDP headaches if he decides to throw his hat in the leadership ring.

Nycole Turmel: Quiet and unassuming, the rookie NDP MP from Aylmer, Que., was thrown into a leadership role she didn't want last August and steered the official opposition through months of difficult polling and stories about her ineffective leadership. Turmel doesn't get enough credit for keeping the NDP caucus (mostly) together after the death of Jack Layton and through the subsequent leadership race.