There is an interesting comparison to be made between the last minority government (Liberal) and this one (Conservative). Under the Liberal minority, the New Democrats got a lot of governing done. Work that benefitted the public, including the least lucky among us, was passed more promptly than usual because if the Liberals did not play ball, they were going to get kicked out of the game.
In contrast, this minority government has no friends at all. Whatever chance they had of getting things done has been scuttled by their appalling lack of courtesy and consistent disrespect of democratic process. Earlier this week The National Post revealed that some of Harper’s pals are supplied with a handbook of “dirty tricks.” And today the Post describes a shameful scene where three standing committees are crippled because of Conservative filibustering and lack of leadership. The picture painted of whiny Conservatives blaming the other parties for ganging up on them is truly pathetic. Bleat, bleat. I am not a huge fan of The National Post, but they sure know how to make people look silly.
The CBC reports that the Conservative government has been blocking votes and motions from all opposition parties by filibustering in the Senate as well as in committees. Apparently tempers are fraying: Liberal MP Marlene Jennings accused Treasury Board President Vic Toews of advising her to “take your medication”; Toews defended himself by accusing Jennings of yelling and screaming.
Yelling and screaming, however, isn’t on a par with calling another member a “slut” or a “dog,” which is a favourite insult Convervative men chuck at female members. Come to think of it, it was also a Conservative MP who called the only Black member of parliament “Sambo.” Nice. Kind of puts yelling and screaming in context, does it not?
Anyway, it was back in 1992 that a special advisory comittee to the Speaker recommended more meaningful deterrents for members who behave badly in Parliament, including substantial fines and suspensions. Members who persisted in breaking the rules would be subject to escalating penalties. Clearly, we need to proceed with this excellent suggestion, made 15 years ago. I would enjoy a significant fine being visited upon a rude politician. That would be fun. Maybe also we could supply diapers and a soother to the Conservatives next time they’re surprised to find that absolutely nobody wants to work with them.
And a soother each for Black and Radler, the squabbling duo of criminal masterminds. Their protestations of innocence are about as convincing as a toddler’s caught with his hand in the penny jar. And not at all endearing or cute.