OTTAWA — This week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper released a list of 32 Conservative MPs who will become parliamentary secretaries, a post that carries a $16,000 wage hike for assisting members of the 38-member cabinet.
The position, almost 100 years old in Canada, was called a “parliamentary no man’s land,” in a 1981 research paper in the Canadian Parliamentary Review, and parliamentary secretaries were referred to as “executive backbenchers” or “political nobodies” in a 1999 research paper from the Institute on Governance.
So what’s the job? Is it meant to reward loyal MPs? Is it a way to keep maverick politicians in line? Does it help keep ministers from being spread too thin? Is it part of succession planning for future cabinet ministers?
“It can be all of those things at the same time,” says Tim Abray-Nyman, a political researcher at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.
View original post 1,297 more words