2017: Highlights in the House of Commons

2017: Highlights in the House of Commons

December 22, 2017 2:26pmET

Relive some of 2017’s most memorable moments and most-watched question periods in the House of Commons.


April 12: Malala Becomes a Canadian

Malala Yousafzai spoke to parliamentarians after receiving her honorary Canadian citizenship in person.

The 19-year-old Pakistan native is a Nobel Peace Prize recipient for her advocacy of education and rights for girls and women — work that led to a Taliban assassination attempt in 2012.


June 12: Arnold Chan

Liberal MP Arnold Chan died in September, following a long battle with cancer. Three months prior, he used one of his final speeches in the House of Commons to call for greater civility in politics.


November 28: LGBTQ2 Apology

The federal government issued a formal apology for the past treatment of LGBTQ2 (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and two-spirit) Canadians.

The emotional ceremony included speeches by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other party leaders.

Look back at some of this year’s most-viewed question periods on CPAC.ca — a window on some of the big moments and stories in Canadian politics over the past 12 months:


May 29: A New Opposition Leader

Two days after capturing the Conservative party leadership with a dramatic 13th-round victory over Maxime Bernier, Andrew Scheer rises to begin question period — for the first time as Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition.

June 6: The Appointments Process

The government nominated former Ontario cabinet minister Madeleine Meilleur in May to be Canada’s next official languages commissioner.

Her Liberal party connections and concerns about impartiality quickly came to dominate question period.

On this day, Trudeau defends his government’s “independent nominations process that works on merit.” But Meilleur would withdraw her nomination on June 7.

Raymond Théberge, president of l’Université de Moncton, was appointed the new languages commissioner on Dec. 14.

September 26 and 27: Taxes and Transparency

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau faced questions on two controversial initiatives that garnered a lot of attention when the House of Commons returned in September.

From the Conservatives, criticism of a plan to adjust taxes on Canadian-controlled private corporations, which they argued would unfairly penalize small businesses.

From the NDP, a call for changes to the government’s access to information bill, which they deemed inadequate.


October 18: Remembering Gord Downie

Amidst questions about Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s assets and his position as finance minister, MPs also paid tribute to The Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie, who had died the previous day after battling brain cancer.


November 6: Paradise Papers

Trudeau faces a bevy of questions about Liberal party fundraiser Stephen Bronfman’s connection to offshore tax havens, following the release of the Paradise Papers to journalists around the world.


November 27 and 28: The Finance Minister

For two straight days, the opposition parties target Finance Minister Bill Morneau and conflict-of-interest allegations around his personal assets — including the 2015 sale of shares in his family company (Morneau Shepell) ahead of income tax changes.


November 30: Naming a Member

The Standing Orders — the procedural rules for the House of Commons — give the speaker authority to “maintain order by naming individual Members for disregarding the authority of the Chair and, without resort to motion, ordering their withdrawal for the remainder of that sitting.”

Ejecting an MP for the day is a rarely-used power. But on this day, Commons Speaker Geoff Regan “named” Conservative MP Blake Richards for heckling Finance Minister Bill Morneau as new questions arose about his personal assets and an alleged conflict-of-interest.


Question Period: By the Numbers

  • The House of Commons chamber hosted 123 question periods this year — the equivalent of nearly four full days.
  • MPs asked 4,931 questions – an average of 40 per sitting.
  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended 46 per cent of the time – and answered 19.1 per cent of all questions.
  • The leaders of the Official Opposition – Andrew Scheer and Rona Ambrose – asked 7.5 per cent of questions in 2017.
  • The NDP leaders in the House – Guy Caron and Thomas Mulcair – had 5.2 per cent of questions.


-Andrew Thomson