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What's the point in having MPs if all they can do is toe the party line?: Robyn Urback

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Many more Canadians would surely tune in to question period each afternoon if we found a way to fill the benches with seals — actual seals — who would clap and honk at each leader's statements.

Mr. Speaker, because of another failure of the prime minister, Canadians involuntarily became shareholders in the Trans Mountain pipeline.


Mr. Speaker, we are making investments to protect thousands of jobs in Alberta and across the country.


Mr. Speaker, the prime minister knows tha— I'm sorry, Mr. Speaker, point of order. Can you please instruct the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent to take that flailing salmon out of his mouth?

The main obstacle to this, I think, would be that the folks at PETA probably wouldn't have it. Also, members of Parliament are supposed to represent the interests and values of their constituents, and not simply clap and honk along with their party's every policy. But as I say, PETA would be the main problem.

Empowering the backbench and respecting the autonomy of MPs sounds great as a concept, but it's typically much tougher to tolerate in practice. Maxime Bernier has been that headache for the Conservatives since at least back in April (ignoring his, uh, "forgetfulness" a few years back), when the leadership runner-up released a chapter of his then-forthcoming book in which he derided "fake Conservatives" who he says bought party memberships to vote for Andrew Scheer.

These "fake Conservatives," wrote Bernier, were "only interested in blocking [his]........