Separated at birth double feature: Peter Van Loan and Peter Pettigrew aka "Scabbers" the rat. (With apologies to J.K. Rowling) and Stephen Ledrew and a Toad (With apologies to Mother Nature)
A series on back-stabbing party insiders could go on for, well, years. While I have no intention of going all the way down that path at present, today I did want to mention in brief two individuals from either side of the red/blue divide.
First lets cast our eyes to the Liberals and consider Stephen LeDrew, the former Liberal Party of Canada president who famously called Prime Minister Jean Chretien's reformation of electoral finance laws "dumb as a sack of hammers". With utter predictability LeDrew recently has been out attacking his party and its leader once again. Talk about has-beens and the pot calling the kettle black!
(The former president of the Liberal Party of Canada and failed Toronto mayoralty race candidate has something of a toad-like smile, don't you think?)
While considering LeDrew's constant attacks on leaders of his party I jumped aboard a train of thought which led me directly to another party's back-stabber in chief, Conservative MP Peter Van Loan, who in this last parliament finally achieved a position of recognition as Government Leader of the House of Commons. Mr. Van Loan you'll agree bears a striking resemblance to J.K. Rowling's infamous double crosser, Peter "Scabbers the rat" Pettigrew.
While the Liberal's LeDrew is stabbing the backs of both current and past leaders, we have to go back a few years and remember Van Loan had been pushing for Progressive Conservative Party of Canada leader Joe Clark to be replaced.
Clark won the challenge and instead Van Loan was pushed out. Van Loan and other unnamed party sources would continue to attack Clark over the years until Clark's eventual retirement from the Leader's office. Many of these unnamed sources saw Clark as blocking their primary agenda of moving forward with reunification with Preston Manning's western-based Reform party which later became the Day and Harper-led Canadian Alliance. Reunification or merger would, they hoped, bring back the Progressive Conservative party of old to a position of power.
They were both right and wrong. Certainly the new Conservative Party is more muscular than either the Reform/Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative parties were on their own (post Mulroney), yet the new merged alliance is nothing at all like the Progressive Conservative party of old (under any leader, MacKay doesn't count). Some claim this to be a good thing; I am not one of them.
Peter "Scabbers" Van Loan's Current Role
Like Voldemort from the popular Harry Potter series, Stephen Harper has in Peter Van Loan his own version of the supine servant Peter Pettigrew. As Macleans' Aaron Wherry writes, Van Loan is the man who ate Question Period:
So the relative value of Van Loan's contribution to Canadian democracy is subject to some dispute. But if the quality of his work depends on who is assessing it, the quantity and prominence of his efforts are beyond debate. Other ministers may claim more relevant portfolios (officially, Van Loan's cabinet post is democratic reform). Some — Jim Prentice, Peter MacKay, the late Maxime Bernier — may more readily flirt with stardom. But none, excluding perhaps only the Prime Minister, have more personified this unruly Parliament and indeed this entire Conservative government over the past year. And for those who would object to both the tone of debate and the party in power, there is perhaps no greater villain.
Wherry's piece is worth your time to read in full.