Saturday, April 23, 2011

Toronto MPs and their Favourite Words, an awesome site, has many cool features. One of the most intriguing is that it scours Hansard to come up with the word used most often in the House of Commons by any individual MP. Stephen Harper's, it turns out, is 'Liberals'. Gilles Duceppe's, it would seem, is 'Québec'. Both of these are saddening in their predictability.

So I decided to try something different. I looked at the sitting MPs (well, sitting until dissolution) for each of the 22.5 ridings in the city of Toronto - that is, in the '416' proper. And I put their 'favourite words' onto a map of the city. It creates... well, it creates a bunch of words that are ultimately meaningless, but it's fun to find meaning in them.

What do Mario Silva of Davenport and John Cannis of Scarborough Centre have in common? Well, they're both Liberals - as are all but three of these people - but in addition, they both used the word 'country' more in Commons than any other word. One wonders why - although it's interesting to note that both Silva and Cannis were born in a different one (Portugal and Greece, respectively).

What do Ken Dryden and Olivia Chow have in common? Children, apparently. Dryden has two (and four grandchildren) and Chow is stepmother to Jack Layton's kids. Perhaps it wasn't parental bragging rights that put those words at the top of the list, though.

The other two paired words are 'health', a rather obvious parliamentary theme apparently harped on about by both Kirsty Duncan and Carolyn Bennett, and 'going' a rather more esoteric word choice (suggestive of vision?) favoured by both Jack Layton and Joe Volpe.

There are some odd ones, perhaps suggestive of personal interests or at least quirks. Michelle Simson has to win for weird with 'animal', while with 'infrastructure' Gerard Kennedy tops for boring. 'Respect', 'colleague', 'conservatives' and 'question' suggest that MPs spend more time talking about parliament in parliament than anything else.

And Derek Lee of Scarborough-Rouge River says 'may' most of all. While he might be referring to his favourite month or his favourite Green Party leader, he might also be an expert at equivocation. Someone make this man the next leader of the Liberal Party...

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