Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 04.04.11
Stanstead, Quebec


Oda humanity! And other Canadian government ministers

I had been following the Canadian news about the federal opposition holding the Harper Conservatives in contempt of Parliament, and somewhere between wondering whether Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff's manufactured outrage couldn't somehow be transformed into manufactured charisma and fantasizing about the entire House of Commons being held in contempt of Canada, it occurred to me that, up until a month or so ago, I had no idea who Bev Oda was.

I am not proud of this fact, nor as a Canadian am I proud of the fact that someone with Ms. Oda's public speaking skills is able to get elected to Parliament. John Crosbie must be rolling in his grave, which is an odd place for him to be since he's not dead.

The first time I heard Minister Oda speak was on the radio as she denied (or was it admitted?) that she had ordered the insertion of the word "not" in a federal agency's funding recommendation. After a concerned passer-by revived me from my Oda-induced stupor, I found myself wondering when Parliament had created the position of Minister of Copy-Editing.

And that got me to thinking that I really had no clue who was in the federal cabinet. Sure, there's Peter and John and Vic and Tony and Peewee and Clarabelle, but what about the other ministers, you know, the not very important ones? And so as a public service -- the kind of selfless service you might expect from elected officials if they weren't so busy either flouting Parliamentary ethics or pretending to be shocked by it -- here are some of your lesser-known MPs, where "MP" stands for "Minions of Parliament."

Rory Speedshtik

MP for Pancreas-Bungle, Newfoundland & Labrador -- Minister of Straightening Up

Minister Speedshtik served for twelve years as CN's Vice President Making Sure Rails Remain Parallel before being hand-picked by Prime Minister Harper in 2006 to run in Pancreas-Bungle after the long-serving Liberal MP there was diagnosed with being pushed under a beer truck.

Speedshtik was elected by a landslide, which led to questions about who gave the landslide the right to vote in the first place. Surviving the scandal, Speedshtik was appointed by the PM as Minister of Straightening Up.

His responsibilities include enforcing national tidiness standards, overseeing posture-related programs, and making sure there are enough creamers in the Tory cabinet mini-fridge. Speedshtik's recent slurs against the sport of curling have caused quite a stir, but not really.

Dilton Cramp

MP for Chesnit Sound, British Columbia -- Minister of Trickeries and Commotions

Elected in 2004, this former backroom Conservative is best known for masterminding the Gilles Duceppe cheese bonnet debacle of 1997. As minister, Cramp is responsible for ensuring that party members are as abusive, rowdy, and as childish as possible in the House in order to distract the public from the fact that there is no real political dialogue going on.

In addition, Cramp oversees the creation of Conservative attack ads, including a highly anticipated blindside of Michael Ignatieff with the tagline, "Iggy? Try 'icky.'"

Connie Zrtchlkk

MP for Skrewdeggan, Manitoba -- Minister of State (Loopholes)

The first Person of Consonants to be elected to the House of Commons, Zrtchlkk has been the least noticed MP for the past six years, resulting in the nickname "Covert Connie" by the five people who know she exists. Zrtchlkk is responsible solely for devising ways for the government to duck out of controversial or uncomfortable situations. She invented the word "prorogue" and is said to be ready to unveil "reconstitutional" in the coming weeks.

Lorne Suffrington Jeebus

MP for Gillwaddle-Kilt, Nova Scotia -- Minister of State (Loofas)

Jeebus is responsible solely for hosing down John Baird every day at the end of Question Period, with optional exfoliation at the PM's discretion.

There you have it. Now the next time some obscure minister gets into hot water, you'll know who not to care much about.

Ross Murray's collection, You're Not Going to Eat That, Are You?, is available in Quebec in area book stores and through He can be reached at