Le Blogue Broadbent

Paul Calandra's year of magical thinking

Paul Calandra shot onto the national stage this year after languishing as a Conservative backbencher since 2008.
Stephen Harper promoted him to his Parliamentary Secretary in the summer after his other parliamentary sidekick, Dean Del Mastro, was charged with breaking Canada's election laws.
Once the fall session began, Calandra's "qualifications" for the job came clear.
Canadian politics watchers all described with a sense of horror as Calandra twisted any question he fielded in Question Period about the ongoing Senate scandal and PMO cover-up into really bad spin.
Being called "Parliament’s propagandist-in-chief" didn't sound so bad after his local newspapers said he was "an embarrassing alternative to Rob Ford."
Others piled on. "With every innuendo-laced answer," Toronto Star columnist Chantal Hebert wrote, "Calandra leads the House of Commons — and his government along with it — further into La La Land."
Maclean's columnist Scott Feschuk applied Calandra's non-answer technique to a house on fire. CBC's Rick Mercer named a men's cologne after him  — "Obfuscation."
Calandra-monium doesn't stop there. An entire website popped up that allows visitors to ask any question and receive classic canned Calandra responses.
Watch our compilation of Calandra's low points this session. Consider this just a primer, though. We have a feeling the worst is yet to come in 2014.