Why is Cabinet playing dodgeball with the Senate mess?

Have you noticed that senior Cabinet ministers no longer stand up to take Senate questions from the leader of the opposition during Question Period when Prime Minister Stephen Harper isn't in the House of Commons?

Conservative strategists may be questioning that decision on Thursday after Paul Calandra's bizarre performance in the House of Commons. The Prime Minister's parliamentary secretary reached a new low when responding to pointed questions about the Senate scandal from NDP leader Tom Mulcair.

Calandra finds himself in this predicament — to do all the Senate scandal spinning — because the likes of Cabinet heavyhitters John Baird, Peter Van Loan, and James Moore are dodging, ducking, dipping, diving (and dodging) the opposition party leaders.

It wasn't always like this.

Check out these QP clips from earlier this year of Moore and company when Harper skipped QP. They're taking questions from party leaders, and pushing back on the Senate scandal when their boss wasn't in the House.

You'll notice the government no longer uses these talking points, probably because the spin is contradicted in court documents.