For the record.
Confident rookie MP one of a new breed of Tory women
From Saturday’s Globe and Mail
Posted on Friday, December 9, 2011 6:56PM EST
Such a contrast this week in the House of Commons. With Peter Kent, the Environment Minister, away at the UN climate conference in South Africa, it was up to Michelle Rempel, his parliamentary secretary, to defend the government’s sometimes questionable environmental record.
And Mr. Kent, a former anchorman and journalist, could take a few lessons in communications from her.
In a Commons full of ministers robotically reading answers from their iPads because they’re afraid to go off script – that includes Mr. Kent – Ms. Rempel simply tossed away her talking points and confidently took on her opposition opponents.
She is among a new breed of Tory women. Like Lisa Raitt, the uber-confident Labour Minister, with whom she pals around, and Candice Hoeppner, the Manitoba Tory MP who killed the long-gun registry, Ms. Rempel stands out.
Only 31 years old, the blonde and petite rookie Calgary Centre-North MP, doesn’t hide behind anything – not even behind those prominent dimples of hers.
Throughout her political career, a pattern has emerged: Other women have pushed her to be better and more involved.
This week in Question Period, Megan Leslie, the NDP’s environment critic, attacked Mr. Kent for lecturing countries in Durban, “saying that they have to join a binding climate deal for 2015.”
Ms. Rempel shot back, reminding Ms. Leslie that on her recent trip to Washington to talk about the Keystone pipeline project, the New Democrat MP “lectured the United States … lobbying against our jobs here in Canada.”
Even then – and despite the war of words and accusations – Ms. Leslie respects Ms. Rempel. In fact, they go for drinks together “to decompress.”
“It’s nice to have a strong adversary on the file,” the NDP MP says. “She’s smart as a whip.”
Ms. Rempel didn’t grow up dreaming about being an MP. Read the rest of this entry »