|Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Oak Ridges—Markham
|Preceded by||Lui Temelkovski|
|Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister of Canada and for Intergovernmental Affairs|
September 19, 2013
|Preceded by||Dean Del Mastro|
May 13, 1970 |
|Profession||insurance broker|
Paul A. Calandra (born May 13, 1970) is a Canadian politician. He was first elected to represent the electoral district of Oak Ridges—Markham in the 2008 Canadian federal election. He is a member of the Conservative Party of Canada and in the past has been involved in the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario and the Canadian Alliance. He is currently the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister of Canada and for Intergovernmental Affairs.
Prior to entering politics, Calandra was an insurance broker, from 1995 to 2003. He then served as chief of staff to Steve Gilchrist, who served as the Ontario Progressive Conservative MPP for Scarborough East in the government of Mike Harris.
In 2005 Calandra was involved in a family dispute. In a lawsuit filed by his sisters he was accused of taking money from his dying mother. They claimed in an affidavit that he had invoked a power of attorney to take out a $240,000 mortgage on their mother’s Ballantrae farm, written a $25,000 cheque to himself and charged a total of $7,800 on one of their mother’s charge cards without her knowledge or consent. They also claimed that he suggested that he should kill his sister Concetta. In his statement of defence Calandra said that his mother had authorized him to incur charges on her credit card as “compensation for the sacrifice the defendant was making by foregoing employment to care for his sick mother”. The allegations in the suit were never proven in court. A document filed on September 8, 2008, which was the first full day of the 2008 federal election campaign, said that the parties had settled the case.
Following his election in 2008, in Calandra’s first term he sat on the Access to Information, Privacy, and Ethics Committee, Citizenship and Immigration Committee, and the Government Operations and Estimates Committee.
During this term he also introduced two private member's bills. On June 19, 2009 he introduced ‘An Act to Change the Name of the Electoral District of Oak Ridges—Markham’, and on March 11, 2011 he introduced ‘An Act Respecting the Establishment of a National Strategy for the Purchase and Sale of Second-Hand Precious Metal Articles'.
He was re-elected in the 2011 election and was subsequently appointed parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages where he sat on the Standing Committee for Canadian Heritage and formerly the Standing Committee on Bill C-11. In 2012 Calandra was forced to repay $5,000 that his riding association had received in donations at a fundraiser held at the home of Kirupalini Kirupakaran, at which he had been present. Kirupakaran was the sister of the CEO of WorldBand Media Inc., which was one of the firms lobbying the CRTC for the 88.1 FM frequency allocation in the Toronto area. She had pledged to the CRTC that she would invest up to $2,000,000 in WorldBand Media should it win the competition. The CRTC at the time reported to the Department of Canadian Heritage thereby giving rise to allegations of a conflict of interest. Following questions from the Globe and Mail, and despite initially denying any donations had been received from anyone associated with the bid, Calandra eventually repaid donations made by five people listed with the CRTC as proposed WorldBand investors.
In the same year a controversial $500 donation was made to Calandra’s riding association by Stanislaus Antony at another fundraising event. Antony was leading a competing bid for 88.1 FM with the CRTC for a station to be called STAN FM. Immediately prior to the Globe and Mail’s publication of the article questioning the WorldBand donations Calandra confirmed that his riding association was reviewing the Antony contribution. The donation was not returned.
In September 2013 Paul Calandra was appointed parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.
As the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Calandra was often called on to rise in the House of Commons during Question Period to field questions on behalf of the Prime Minister during the Senate Scandal (2013). This brought Calandra under a great deal of scrutiny for his perceived non-answers, deflections, and attacks, and prompted widespread backlash in the form of media articles, social media postings, vandalization of his Wikipedia page, being lampooned on the Rick Mercer Report and even an automated humour website that allowed Canadians to ask questions and receive answers. On 23 September 2014, Calandra's repeated refusal to acknowledge questions about Canada's involvement in Iraq led Thomas Mulcair to question the integrity of the Speaker of the House, who did not intervene. Calandra instead insisted on reiterating Canada's commitment to Israel, prompting Global News to describe the exchange as "unreal", and the Globe and Mail published an editorial stating "to call Mr. Calandra a clown is to do a disservice to the ancient profession of painted-face buffoonery". On 26 September 2014, Calandra gave a tearful speech in Parliament in order to "unconditionally, unreservedly apologize to the House". After the incident, the New Democratic Party introduced a motion that would allow the Speaker to crack down on irrelevant or repetitive answers during Question Period.
2015 General Election
During the 2015 General Election campaign Calandra was again in the spotlight for his behaviour.
The Full Calandra
Peter Mansbridge referred to Calandra's non-answers when discussing the Duffy trial (for alleged offences related to the Canadian Senate expenses scandal) on CBC's Power & Politics as being "The Full Calandra" giving rise to the Twitter hashtag #fullcalandra with a meaning of "When a question is asked and the answer received is to a different question".
Social Media Blocking
Following the same interview (between Calandra and Rosemary Barton on Power & Politics) that gave rise to "The Full Calandra" epithet, the comedian Mark Critch from This Hour Has 22 Minutes tweeted that Barton had "done a great job keeping Paul Calandra honest". Critch called Calandra a "a slippery tool". Following this Calandra blocked Critch from accessing his (Calandra's) posts on Twitter. This gave rise to a campaign whereby Critch invited Twitter users to tweet "@paulcalandra u are a tool", for which he would donate $1 (Canadian) for each such tweet (up to $1500) to Planned Parenthood in St. John's. Some respondents noted that blocking of this nature was commonplace by Conservative Party MPs, affecting not only the media but even Calandra's own constituents. Even the editor (@stouffeditor) of the Stouffville Sun-Tribune, the local newspaper in Calandra's own riding, had been blocked in 2014. Calandra claimed that it had been done by accident and unblocked him after the news story had surfaced. Such blocking had previously given rise to the Twitter hashtag #conblocked
|Canadian federal election, 2008|
|Conservative||Paul Calandra||32,028||42.2%||+ 3.7%|
|Liberal||Lui Temelkovski||31,483||41.5%||- 5.5%|
|New Democratic||Andy Arifin||7,126||9.4%||- 0.5%|
|Green||Richard Taylor||5,184||6.8%||+ 2.2%|
|Total valid votes||75,821||–||+1.80%|
|Canadian federal election, 2000: Scarborough East|
|Progressive Conservative||Paul McCrossan||6,284||15.65||$26,016|
|New Democratic||Denise Lake||1,884||4.69||$4,973|
|Canadian Action||Dave Glover||292||0.73||none listed|
|Total valid votes||40,151||100.00|
|Total rejected ballots||155|
|Electors on the lists||72,092|
|Sources: Official Results, Elections Canada and Financial Returns, Elections Canada.|
- "Paul Calandra will be federal Conservative candidate in Oak Ridges - Markham". King Township Sentinel, March 14, 2007.
- "Lives of candidates must be open book". Newmarket Era.
- "Paul Calandra court documents point to family dispute over money, assets". Ottawa Citizen.
- "MP wants riding name to better reflect towns". Georgina Advocate, June 22, 2009.
- "An Act respecting the establishment of a National Strategy for the Purchase and Sale of Second-hand Precious Metal Articles". Government of Canada Publications. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
- "Competing bidders for radio spot donated money to Tory MP". Globe and Mail. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
- "Stan FM confirms $500 donation to Heritage ParlSec Calanda's riding association". CBC. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
- "Contributions - Details". Elections Canada. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
- "Paul Calandra's non-answer period week in videos". CBC.ca. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
- "Bizarre Conservative MP Paul Calandra’s Wikipedia Page Vandalized". THE CANADIAN PROGRESSIVE. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
- "Rick Mercer Report: Paul Calandra's Fragrance Would Be Called 'Obfuscation'". Huffington Post. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
- "Ask Paul Calandra". Retrieved 2013-11-28.
- "Unreal exchange in House of Commons over Canada’s involvement in Iraq". Global News. Retrieved 24 September 2014.
- O'Malley, Kady. "Paul Calandra apologizes for non-answers as sources pin blame on PMO". CBC. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
- "NDP make bid to boost Speaker's power to intervene during QP". CBC. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
- "#fullcalandra". Retrieved 15 August 2015.
- "The Full Calandra". Retrieved 15 August 2015.
- "Mark Critch Pledges $1 For Every Tweet Calling Paul Calandra A Tool". Retrieved 15 August 2015.
- "Mark Critch launches 'u are a tool' campaign against Paul Calandra". Retrieved 15 August 2015.
- "Calandra blocks Constituents". Retrieved 15 August 2015.
- "Stouffville editor unblocked today". Retrieved 15 August 2015.
- "#conblocked". Retrieved 15 August 2015.
- Paul Calandra, personal website
- Paul Calandra – Parliament of Canada biography
- Paul Calandra, Openparliament.ca