Anyone who has ever muttered "all politicians are self-centred crooks" -- or any cliché of similar sentiment, for that matter – obviously never met Bill Blaikie.
The NDP MP for the Winnipeg riding of Elmwood--Transconna, and the Dean of the House of Commons surprised pretty much everyone today by announcing that he would not be re-offering in the next election.
No one was more a "Man of the House of Commons" than Bill. A passionate orator, a fearsome debater, as well as an effectively fierce partisan, Bill always seems at home in the House
He also has a wicked sense of humour -- putting down specious arguments as though to make their authors wish they had never thought of them. Today he serves as the Deputy Speaker of the House -- a role made for him (the same could be said of the giant chair that goes with the job).
But more than that, the guy makes people proud to be a New Democrat. In a party that prides itself on compassion, ethics, and looking out for ordinary folks, few embody it more than Bill. As an ordained United Church minister, he didn't need to choose public life. But Canadians should be glad he did.