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Following her resignation from the Liberal caucus as an indirect result of the SNC-Lavalin scandal, Celina Caesar-Chavannes will join 17 other MPs in the ‘twilight zone’ of parliament, outside the bounds of recognized parties.
At least some of these MPs get along famously, and will probably be thrilled to welcome Caesar-Chavannes into their ranks.
Here is a look at the 42nd parliament’s ‘other’ MPs.
Drama in the 10 Bloc seats
This parliament has been an interesting ride for our good old Bloc Quebecois. Gilles Duceppe was the leader of the party for as long as I could remember, but after losing his seat in 2015, he resigned and was replaced by Martine Ouellet.
Ouellet’s election as leader caused an outcry in the party’s caucus of ten MPs, and caused seven of them to quit and form their own “party” called Quebec Debout. Ouellet was eventually ousted as leader, and two of the seven breakaways returned to the Bloc.
The last five did eventually return to the Bloc, who are today back to sitting as an unofficial caucus of ten.
Elizabeth May and Maxime Bernier
The leaders of the Green Party and People’s Party are two contrasting “armies of one”, and have a friendly relationship despite not agreeing on any politics. Being in somewhat similar situations, the more experienced May might occasionally be able to offer some procedural tips.
Return of the CCF
Erin Weir was booted from the NDP caucus following a harassment investigation, and subsequently switched his party affiliation to the Cooperative Commonwealth Foundation, the predecessor to the NDP that was dissolved in 1961.
This man is very lucky that his name only got as many negative headlines as it did. This Liberal member of the Finance Committee had to resign from caucus to deal with a “gambling addiction”.
His millions in debts were mysteriously paid off by unidentified “friends and family”. He sure is great at gathering funds, as he made the party $600,000 at a fundraiser last April, which would be a monstrous sum even for a big name speaker.
The OPP said that the MPs debts were discussed on some wiretaps during an investigation on money laundering for terrorists, which makes for some terrible optics. Especially considering that Ontario casinos have previously been linked to “shady” money laundering, and that Canadian politicians have previously been flagged as potentially under foreign influence.
Having avoided what could have been a much bigger scandal, he continues to sit as an independent.
The Liberals lost an entire quarter of their Alberta caucus when a Calgary MP resigned amid sexual harassment allegations. Although he denied the allegations, a subsequent investigation found that he violated harassment rules. He was ordered to undergo harassment training, and continues to sit as an independent.
The Liberal MP for Nunavut and the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard abruptly resigned from caucus and cabinet to seek addiction treatment. He now sits as an independent.