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Montreal Simon: Another Religious Fanatic Joins the Con Leadership Race

As if the Con leadership race wasn't bizarre or pathetic enough. With Kellie Leitch trying to stir up hatred against refugees and immigrants.And Brad Trost trying to stir up hatred against gay Canadians.Now another Con fanatic is joining the race.Read more »

. . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: Another Religious Fanatic Joins the Con Leadership Race

Montreal Simon: The Con Leadership Race and the Religious Fanatics

When I wrote a post about the sad state of the Harper Party's leadership race the other day, and ran a group photo of the sorry losers that contest has so far attracted.I forgot to say that with the departure of Jason Kenney, there will be at leas… . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: The Con Leadership Race and the Religious Fanatics

Pushed to the Left and Loving It: The NDP Must Stop Victimizing Women if They Hope to be Taken Seriously Again

In early December 2012, the Toronto Star reported:  Near-brawl erupts in Commons between Tory Peter Van Loan and NDP’s Nathan Cullen 

Apparently Van Loan was upset with the NDP’s delaying tactics on getting the Conservative budget measures passed, and crossed the floor to the NDP caucus, pointing his finger and shouting obscenities.

In typical fashion, Thomas Mulcair began shouting obscenities back, and things could have gotten out of control, had not members of both parties stepped in to defuse the situation.  Then Speaker, Andrew Scheer, did nothing.

According to Van Loan, members of his party only left their seats, fearing for his safety; and according to Nathan Cullen, his only concern was for the women folk

Had a bench clearing brawl erupted, we can assume that only those wanting to engage would jump the boards and everyone else would scatter.  He should not have dragged gender into this.  What Van Loan and Mulcair did was wrong.  They created an unsafe and uncomfortable working environment for everyone.

Last week we witnessed a similar situation in what has been dubbed Elbowgate.

This time the obstructionism was more evident as several NDP members tried to delay the vote on Assisted Dying legislation, by preventing Conservative Whip Gord Brown from making his way to the Speaker.  Given that the clock was running out, the Prime Minister left his seat to move things along.

He was angry.  He cursed.  He was wrong.

During this brief encounter, NDP MP Ruth Ellen Brousseau, who had moved up behind him, got bumped.  She stepped back to her bench, laughing and then made a gesture like she had been injured.  

However, the issue here is not whether she was indeed hurt, or to what degree.  It’s not even about whether or not she took a dive, as many believe she did.


It is about what we know did NOT happen.

She was NOT sexually assaulted.  She was NOT molested.  And she was NOT the victim of intentional violence.  She pushed against Prime Minister Trudeau.  He did not seek her out.

But that didn’t stop the Opposition members from turning this into a three ring circus, making it all about violence against women and putting the lives of female MPs in grave danger.  Women must feel safe when they go to work, they insisted.

When did women become so fragile that we needed this kind of protection? When things like this occur in the workplace, they are disconcerting to everyone.  Believe it or not, we’ve heard the “f” word before and many of us like contact sports, including boxing.

Our female Members of Parliament come from varied backgrounds.  They are doctors, lawyers, teachers, scientists, business people et al.  Many rose to the tops of their professions and no doubt took an elbow or two in the course of their careers.  Singling them out as frail individuals is misogynistic.  Feminism run amok.

As feminist blogger Rachel Edwards says:

“While feminists say that feminism is about equality, actions speak louder than words. These actions suggest an uncomfortable truth. Feminism is not the assumption that we are equal, but the assumption that women are weak… “

Had the NDP stuck to the narrative that Justin Trudeau should not have lost his temper and should not have left his seat to physically move Brown through the NDP wall, they would have come out on top.  But by making it about violence against women, they lost all credibility and the public turned on them.

Not just Liberal supporters, but all women who know what sexual assault and violence against them really is.  Also many men who are tired of always being painted as “perverts, bullies and misogynists”

Unfortunately, most of the anger was directed at Brousseau, while it should have gone to those who victimized her for political gain.

I know I also found myself upset with the MP, especially after viewing the video, but have since realized that she only played a small role in this farce. What I also noticed from the video, was how easy it would have been for Brown to go around, instead of continuing to try to go through.  Sure looked liked a set up.

I also discovered from following social media, that many of the people decrying the bullying of Brousseau, are the same ones who bullied Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, just a week ago; so clearly this was not about protecting women.


NDP MP and self proclaimed feminist Niki Ashton, epitomizes what is wrong with feminism today.  She led the charge against Sophie Trudeau when she asked for help in performing her duties, by suggesting that no one asked her to do anything.

Something women have heard for decades,  if not centuries.  “No one asked you to have those children”.  “No one asked you to join a male dominated profession”.  “You brought this on yourself”.  

In November, Ashton had criticized the prime minister’s wife for taking her son Hadrian along on an official visit, despite the fact that he was still breast feeding.

Feminists need to step back and ask themselves what they are hoping to accomplish and pseudo-feminists need to stop assuming that they know. Only then will we be taken seriously.

What Was This Really About?

I was quite taken aback by several well known Canadian journalists and pundits, who shared stories on Twitter from international news outlets about the incident.  They appeared giddy over the fact that this might tarnish Justin Trudeau’s reputation on the international stage.  How is this a good thing?

Do they detest him that much that they fail to see that it would also be our country’s image that would suffer?


I doubt it will have much of an impact, but it does shed a light on the true nature of all the uproar.

So instead of #PrayForSophie #Nannygate or #elbowgate let’s just use one to cover everything.

#TrudeausJustTooDamnPopularGate



. . . → Read More: Pushed to the Left and Loving It: The NDP Must Stop Victimizing Women if They Hope to be Taken Seriously Again

Pushed to the Left and Loving It: The NDP Must Stop Victimizing Women if They Hope to be Taken Seriously Again

In early December 2012, the Toronto Star reported:  Near-brawl erupts in Commons between Tory Peter Van Loan and NDP’s Nathan Cullen Apparently Van Loan was upset with the NDP’s delaying tactics on getting the Conservative budget measu… . . . → Read More: Pushed to the Left and Loving It: The NDP Must Stop Victimizing Women if They Hope to be Taken Seriously Again

Montreal Simon: Jason Kenney Gets Away With Another Big Lie

I'm sure you remember the desperate state Jason Kenney was in a month ago, after claiming the reason the Cons were expanding the war into Syria was because the Americans had asked us.Since we were apparently the only country in the anti-ISIS coalition, apart from the U.S., to have so-called smart bombs.Only to have . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: Jason Kenney Gets Away With Another Big Lie

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

– Adam Lent highlights the strong majority of respondents in the UK who see the political system as serving the powerful rather than the public. And Elizabeth Warren explains why the same conclusion applies in the U.S., while making the case that there’s room to improve matters simply . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Politics and its Discontents: Rick Mercer Assesses Andrew Scheer’s Job Performance

Unsurprisingly, the House Speaker gets a failing grade.

My two favourite lines:

“Show me one person who believes he’s done a good job on the decorum front. 308 meth addicts on the dance floor have better manners.”

“We [should] replace the Speaker with a bag of flour with a smiley face drawn on the front . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Rick Mercer Assesses Andrew Scheer’s Job Performance

Montreal Simon: Rick Mercer On Why the Con Speaker Should be Fired

As you know I'm not a big fan of the Con Speaker Andrew Scheer. I blame him for allowing our Parliament to be turned into a fascist circus, or a dog and pony show.

By allowing the Cons to get away with never giving a straight answer to any question, and for always tilting . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: Rick Mercer On Why the Con Speaker Should be Fired

Canadian Political Viewpoints: To Hell With Tradition

Source: CBC News: Speaker Andrew Scheer Warns Mulcair and Others over Bias Claims
Source: Library of Parliament: Standing Orders, Chapter One, Section 11.2

Anyone who has bothered to turn on the news during Question Period over the last, oh I’d say nine years, probably finds themselves in a continuing series of disbelief when the whole spectacle is over. This wasn’t a trend that was started by the Harper Conservatives, but it was certainly perfected by them. Especially when one views the actions of one Paul Calandra.

Calandra rose out of the fall of Dean Del Mastro taking Dean’s place as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister; or more aptly, the PM’s mouthpiece when the PM isn’t in the House of Commons. Calandra made name, and a reputation, for himself when he served as Harper’s ‘deflector shield’ with regards to questions surrounding Mike Duffy and the Senate Expenses Scandal.

Calandra’s non-answers, outright dodges, and ridiculous non-sequiturs involving his family and pizza shops set a new low for decorum within the House of Commons. When it was all said and done, I think most Canadians thought the bar could not get any lower. It seems we all completed underestimated Paul Calandra.

Last Tuesday, Tom Mulcair rose to ask questions on Canada’s involvement in fighting ISIS/ISIL in Iraq. Enter Paul Calandra, who rejected the premise of the question put to him and instead went off on a tangent about Israel and whether or not Mulcair agreed with a position posted by a reported party fundraiser on Facebook.

Mulcair appropriately laughed off Calandra’s first response; even putting in a jibe about understanding Calandra’s confusion with I countries in the Middle East, but the question was about Iraq not Israel. Mulcair repeated the question, and again Calandra rose and provided more or less the same response.

Mulcair appealed to the Speaker at this point, noting that there are rules regarding relevance and asked that they be enforced. Again, Calandra spouted non-sense with response to the question put to him.

Of course, this led to Mulcair making a comment with regards to the Speaker’s impartiality (or lack thereof), which led to the Speaker finally taking action but against Mulcair and not Calandra. Mulcair was stripped of his remaining questions for the day, and Question Period moved on.

What followed was quite the media firestorm.

Numerous political reporters called it an unbelievable display, unheard of before in Canadian Parliamentary history. And then came the chorus of talking heads: some of the side of Mulcair, and others on the side of Speaker Andrew Scheer. (Unsurprisingly, no one really rushed to Calandra’s side.)

And so began a question of who was in the right and who was in the wrong.

Many condemned Mulcair for challenging the Speaker’s impartiality; while others agreed that Mulcair was right to challenge Scheer on the issue. So, how is it possible that so many of Canada’s best informed political minds could have such differing views? Surely, the laws of the land that govern the role of the Speaker and the House of Commons would prevent any sort of casual interpretation?

Well, written meet tradition.

Mulcair’s defenders were quick to point to House Standing Order 11.2,which states:

The Speaker or the Chair of Committees of the Whole, after having called the attention of the House, or of the Committee, to the conduct of a Member who persists in irrelevance, or repetition, may direct the Member to discontinue his or her speech, and if then the Member still continues to speak, the Speaker shall name the Member or, if in Committee of the Whole, the Chair shall report the Member to the House.”
Defenders of Scheer, however, were quick to point out that this Standing Order applies only to debate and not to the content of answers in Question Period. However, this definition seems to be at odds with Parliament’s own summary of Standing Order 11.2; the historical summary section is of particular interest.
No where does it mention that 11.2 doesn’t apply to Question Period. In fact, it seems to be convention based on past precedent that leads people to argue that 11.2 doesn’t apply to QP. 
Which brings me to a few fundamental questions we must explore.
Firstly, what do we make of claims towards Scheer’s impartiality?
Secondly, just how much of our government expectation revolves around convention and tradition over the written word?
Finally, what do we do about it?
Since his election as Speaker, Andrew Scheer has faced some criticisms towards his ability to remain impartial in the House of Commons. 
The first major strike was with regards to Shelly Glover and James Bezan. Elections Canada sent a letter to the Speaker, informing him that both MPs had failed to submit corrected statements on their election returns to Elections Canada. Furthermore, it reminded the Speaker that the Canada Elections Act allows an MP to not be allowed to take their seat or vote until such returns are provided for.

Scheer sat on the letters, refusing to table them in the House of Commons or even release them for public viewing. A lot of people saw this as Scheer protecting two of his fellow party members; and it was indeed one of the first instances that caused people to wonder just where Scheer’s loyalty stood at the end of the day. (Glover and Bezan have since ‘settled’ with Elections Canada.)
Then came the matter of the NDP’s satellite offices and mailings. Under a little used procedural motion, the Conservatives forced a motion that compelled Tom Mulcair to appear before committee to testify. At the time, Scheer said nothing and allowed the motion to pass. A month later, after Mulcair had testified, Scheer retroactively ruled the motion out of order. He also took the time to chide the NDP for waiting a month to file an objection.
However, enter Standing Order 13.  

For those who don’t want the link, here’s what it says:

“Whenever the Speaker is of the opinion that a motion offered to the House is contrary to the rules and privileges of Parliament, the Speaker shall apprise the House thereof immediately, before putting the question thereon, and quote the Standing Order or authority applicable to the case.”
In short hand, the Speaker has the ability (and responsibility) to inform the House whether or not a motion that is put forward could be considered out of order. Furthermore, the Speaker has the ability to do this without a Member of the House calling a point of order. 
Alright, you might say, well perhaps Scheer had some time to think and look into it afterward and decided that the motion was out of order. But there is one major stumbling block to that line of thinking: this article where Scheer eventually ruled the motion out of order.
“In fact, Scheer advised the House, he very likely would have ruled the motion out of order at the time — had he been asked to do so, that is, which he was not.”
So, how do we read this? Well, it gives us one of two possibilities. 
Firstly; Scheer knew the motion was out of order, and that he had the authority to inform the House of that, yet he chose to do nothing.
Secondly; Scheer didn’t know at the time that it was out of order, and retroactively claims he did in order to ensure the House, and Canadians, that he is informed in his job when he apparently isn’t.
Both options are frightening for different reasons. Either he knew, and he did nothing; or he didn’t know, but now wants us all to believe that he did. I can understand the second, if only because I’m sure all of us want to believe the Speaker knows the workings of the House and the procedures like the back of their hands. As Tom Mulcair said, “you are our arbiter”, and a Speaker who is ignorant of the rules can hardly be expected to maintain them.
If it’s the first, then it’s only further proof that Scheer is definitely not leaving his ‘blue jersey’ in the locker room when he takes to the Speaker’s Chair. If it’s the latter, then at the very least we need to encourage Scheer to read up again on the rules and make sure he is ready to enforce them. 
Secondly, that brings us to our second question; just how much of our government is based around convention?
The answer is actually a little worrisome, given that it’s more than the average Canadian would think. The best way to think about this is to go back and look at Reserve Powers. This refers to the legal powers of the Governor General. The last time a GG flexed their reserve powers, we ended up with the King-Byng Affair.
A brief summary of that: After an election, Mackenzie King had fewer seats than the Conservative Party under Arthur Meighen. Despite this, King asked to be recognized as PM since he was counting on the Progressive Party to shore up his numbers and give him more seats in the Commons. The Governor General, Lord Julian Byng, agreed on a condition that if the government fell Meighen’s Conservatives would form government.
Well, King’s alliance with the Progressives was short lived due to scandal and King asked Byng to dissolve the government and call an election. Byng refused, citing the previous agreement. He in turn asked Meighen to form government, forcing King to resign as PM.
History still argues over who was right and wrong; some favour King, others favour Byng, but it shows the fine line between constitutionally based power and convention. Governor Generals to this day enjoy Reserve Power; which would allow them to dismiss a Prime Minister or refuse Royal Assent to a bill, but conventionally they don’t use this power.
The Speaker of the House finds themselves in a similar quagmire. 
Standing Orders, as referenced earlier, grant the Speaker powers and responsibilities. Yet, convention and tradition state that those powers aren’t used regularly. Take the question over whether or not 11.2 applies to Question Period.
The rule of the law states that the Speaker has the authority to rule on relevance, yet convention somehow states that those rules do not apply to Question Period. Like the Governor General, we’ve endowed the Speaker with authority that apparently we conventionally expect them not to use.

It’s not uncommon, and Scheer has done it often, for Speakers to reference past Speakers and their decisions when they make a judgement on something. That creates a lot of precedent that often flies in the face of the written rules and powers for the Speaker. Just because a Speaker in 1976 chose to read a rule a certain way, or ignore it, doesn’t exactly mean the same interpretation holds in 2014 for a similar, yet different, situation.

That brings us to the final question: What do we do about it?

Well, the NDP is trying to bring change forward, with a motion introduced this week to give the Speaker explicit authority to act during Question Period. However, the Conservatives have attacked the motion.

House Leader Peter Van Loan has argued about the motion turning Question Period into a “one way street” that would tie the hands of the government.

Well, here’s the good for the goose and gander argument. If the Conservatives defend Scheer’s inaction based on convention and tradition, then they need to look back to the Speaker James Jerome. In 1974, Jerome ended the practice of allowing Parliamentary Secretaries (like Paul Calandra) to pose questions to the opposition.

Furthermore, if we want to stick to convention, Ministers are conventionally not allowed to ask questions since they often provide answers on behalf of the government; the rules do not forbid Ministers asking questions, but convention says that only Private Members should do so. 

So, conventionally speaking, the government side of the House shouldn’t be asking questions from the front bench (Cabinet) at least. 

Van Loan, and his party it seems, want to have their cake and eat it too in this regard. Let us keep this part of the conventional tradition, but disregard this other. Either they have to commit wholeheartedly to whole bundled mess that is Parliamentary Tradition, or they have to work with the Opposition Parties to codify new and clear rules.

The NDP motion is looking doomed to fail thanks to no support from the Conservative bench. So for now, we’re stuck with the notion of conventional tradition as the guiding principle for how our Parliamentary system is administered.

The bigger problem, as I think we’ve illustrated, is not that the Speaker actually needs more powers (they already have them), they just need the will to exercise them.

People have already drawn comparisons to our Speaker and the Speaker of the House in the UK Parliament. Many have linked to the Speaker shutting down speakers from the floor, including the Prime Minister. Yes, Parliamentary systems evolve and we should be looking to other Parliaments to see what sort of improvements have been made and should be adapted here.

But until we accept that written rule and authority has more credence than past ‘convention’, all the reform in the world won’t do a thing.

. . . → Read More: Canadian Political Viewpoints: To Hell With Tradition

Canadian Political Viewpoints: To Hell With Tradition

Source: CBC News: Speaker Andrew Scheer Warns Mulcair and Others over Bias ClaimsSource: Library of Parliament: Standing Orders, Chapter One, Section 11.2

Anyone who has bothered to turn on the news during Question Period over the last, oh I’d say nine years, probably finds themselves in a continuing series of disbelief when the whole spectacle . . . → Read More: Canadian Political Viewpoints: To Hell With Tradition

Accidental Deliberations: On practical obstacles

Shorter Andrew Scheer: A functional democratic Parliament is everybody’s responsibility. And to be more precise, my responsibility for a functional democratic Parliament is to enforce complete unaccountability – and indeed punish anybody who questions that choice – until the Conservative Party instructs me otherwise.

(For further reading, Michael Den Tandt, Mia Rabson and Tasha Kheiriddin . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On practical obstacles

Montreal Simon: Why the Con Speaker Andrew Scheer Should Resign

Ever since Andrew Scheer was appointed Speaker he has presided over the slow death of Canada's Parliament. He has allowed his Cons to turn it into a fascist circus. He has allowed them to get away with not answering questions, and to make a mockery out of our democracy.The way he allowed the Paul . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: Why the Con Speaker Andrew Scheer Should Resign

Montreal Simon: The Con Speaker and the Death of Parliament

For years Stephen Harper and his Cons have been slowly killing our Parliament.They have have debased it, they have rendered it impotent. They have reduced it to a scripted horror show, where every question is answered with an attack on the opposition.But yesterday with their ghastly leader out of the country they practically finished . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: The Con Speaker and the Death of Parliament

Montreal Simon: The Gentle Spanking of the Con Clown Brad Butt

Golly. Can you believe it eh? The Con clown Brad Butt has finally got his ass spanked. Sort of. By the Speaker of the House of Commons.

Read more »

Montreal Simon: Is the Con Speaker Trying to Muzzle the Opposition?

OK. Let me get this straight. The Con regime is planning to ram their so-called Fair Elections bill through Parliament. A bill that is intended to suppress the vote, muzzle the Chief Electoral Officer, give the Cons a fundraising advantage, and make it even easier to steal an election, like they tried to . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: Is the Con Speaker Trying to Muzzle the Opposition?

Let Freedom Rain II: Thomas Mulcair tells l’il Andrew Scheer to go fuck himself.

Now this is an opposition that is coming into its own.

Canadian Political Viewpoints: Ahead of the Eight Ball

Just when we thought things couldn’t get lower in Ottawa, CBC News breaks the story of the PMO’s special fund; an ultra-secret cash reserve that few people knew about. The covert existence of such a fund is bad enough, but the cash trail for it is where things really start to get sticky. The fund . . . → Read More: Canadian Political Viewpoints: Ahead of the Eight Ball

Politics and its Discontents: Party Puppet: House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer

And it is not difficult to figure out who is pulling his strings. Recommend this Post

Accidental Deliberations: Parliament in Review – April 3, 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012 saw the final day of debate at second reading of the Cons’ budget – and once again featured plenty of work by Peter Julian to introduce the types of perspectives the Cons would never tolerate if they could avoid it.

The Big Issue

Once again, Julian focused largely on bringing forward . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Parliament in Review – April 3, 2012

Montreal Simon: The Cons and the Trojan Horse

Well, let's put it this way eh? It wasn't exactly democracy's finest hour.

First the Cons rolled their Trojan horse budget, packed to the rafters with non-budget stuff that will gut our environmental laws, into the House of Commons.

Then when the opposition demanded the bill be split up so it can be . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: The Cons and the Trojan Horse

Montreal Simon: The Robot Speaker and the RoboCon Scandal

As you know I’ve had my doubts about Andrew Scheer, the Speaker of the House, ever since he ruled that Vic Toews’ parliamentary privileges had been violated by Anonymous. 

Boo hoo zombie.

After ruling last December that the disgusting misleading phone call campaign aimed at Irwin Cotler did not violate HIS privileges.

And this . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: The Robot Speaker and the RoboCon Scandal

Andrew Scheer knee deep in Robopalooza shit storm

“Gosh Mr. Harper, thank you for this. You won’t regret it”

Anybody watching the whole Robogate show knows there’s something rotten in the land of Guelph, the Conservative party and the Speaker of the House. Presiding over the Robo-call affair like a drunken judge, Mr. Scheer has been one mind and one mind only, the . . . → Read More: Andrew Scheer knee deep in Robopalooza shit storm

Accidental Deliberations: Parliament in Review: November 23, 2011

Wednesday, November 23 saw the last votes in the House of Commons on the dismantling of the single-desk Wheat Board. And to who thought there might be some suspense as to the Cons’ determination to impose their agenda without listening to anybody, it’s always great to welcome new readers.

The Big Issue

Of course, the . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Parliament in Review: November 23, 2011

“We’re in the business of getting Conservatives elected and ending Liberal careers. We’re good at it.”

I love this quote. It comes from Nick Kouvalis of Market Research, the firm used by Conservatives – including Speaker Scheer – to get elected at any cost. What makes this quote especially noteworthy is that it encapsulates the Conservative mindset brilliantly. It’s not just about winning to these people. It’s not just about squashing . . . → Read More: “We’re in the business of getting Conservatives elected and ending Liberal careers. We’re good at it.”

Smoking gun: firm who made Cotler robocalls worked on Andrew Scheer campaign

Not that the media will do more than blink but this should be front page news.

A Citizen analysis of Elections Canada records shows that Campaign Research was involved in at least 39 candidate campaigns during the spring election, and was paid nearly $400,000 for the work. Not all Conservative candidate returns have been filed . . . → Read More: Smoking gun: firm who made Cotler robocalls worked on Andrew Scheer campaign