I wrote this in response to a friend's post on Facebook. Facebook seems to not want me to publish it, so I will post it here.
I read your post and I would like to respond, in my usual calm reasoned way.
I read your post and I would like to respond, in my usual calm reasoned way.
In looking at the media reports the “analysis” has followed the usual pattern…partisans are pro or con Trudeau’s actions depending upon their partisan inclinations. So, you think it is much ado about nothing, while Mulcair and his minions engage in performance art by wandering into Parliament wearing neck braces. How witty.
But there is a lot more to this than the trivializing that everyone has been doing. My starting point is with Jean Chretien. There is a saying about absolute power corrupting absolutely, and Chretien’s government showed that. I was infuriated with him, though I always voted for him, due to how he cut the power of MP’s and concentrated power in the Prime Minister’s Office. He was able to do that because the Opposition had fragmented. The Conservatives and Reform parties split the vote so that the Liberals were always able to “go up the middle” and for about 10 years won huge majorities. In the absence of opposition in Parliament, Chretien, and his handlers, were able to do anything and everything they wanted, and one of the things he wanted was to weaken the role of MP’s. The wanted to move to an Executive government model, at the expense of a Parliamentary model. And they did it in spades. This extended down through the Liberal Party structure so that constituency organizations were weakened and rendered more and more irrelevant. In the end, their role in candidate selection, for example, became little more than rubber-stamping the Leader’s choice, rather than finding a local person to represent the area in the government. In those days I was deeply involved in fighting to preserve the role of constituency organizations.
This leads to my huge disappointment with Harper. Nobody remembers his positions in the days of the Reform, Alliance and Conservative opposition years. He was very strong and adamant about strengthening the power of individual MP’s. He talked a lot about more Private Member’s bills and reducing the number of confidence votes so that MP’s would be freer to vote against their party. He also talked about having the Senate elected, something I support very strongly. I did not vote for him, but I had great hopes for him in this regard once he came into office.
Yet, when he came to power, Harper became, in many ways, far more authoritarian than Chretien. He REDUCED MP’s powers, and even made it impossible for Cabinet Members to speak freely and openly about their portfolios. I remember you yourself complaining about Harper’s dictatorial tendencies.
So along came Justin “Government In The Sunshine” Trudeau. This guy campaigned on the excesses of Harper’s anti-democratic tendencies and promised much more openness and freedom for our MP’s. He promised a return to better recognition of their representative function. It was going to be all sweetness and light.
Except now we see Motion 6. It reduces even further the ability of Parliamentarians to participate in debate and to dissent from government policy. The role of the Official Opposition (a supremely important role…it is their DUTY to oppose) was/is to be even more marginalized so their ability to resist a majority is more truncated than ever. So, over the years, what I have seen is more and more power concentration in the hands of the PMO and the Prime Minister himself (and really his handlers since I have my doubts how much Justin himself understands what is going on…but that’s another rant. He just has no depth. As Meathead once said to Archie Bunker “Deep down, you’re shallow.” That is how I see Trudeau).
And so, it is in this context that we see what happened in Parliament the other day. Like every other spoiled little leftist, Justin Trudeau wanted his way. NOW!!! And when he didn’t get it he pushed and shoved. He apologized, of course, but it is in his reactions at the moment that we see his true self, and the left in general.
This is where I part ways with you about the incident. You say that there must be passion about any reform and that is what people say who want to bring about change, so OK. But Parliament is not the place for that, at least insofar as it involves physical force. Parliament is a place for debate and words and arguments...passionate angry, but not vulgar. And if you cannot swear, you sure enough cannot make physical contact. It’s not a hockey rink (…more like curling, actually). One of my great heroes is the late Spanish Prime Minister Adolfo Suarez. He was the first democratic Prime Minister after Franco and was faced with an attempted coup by the Guardia Civil. The coup leader stormed into the Cortes (Parliament) with his machine gun. All the MPs dove into hiding…except one. Adolfo Suarez. He stood in his place, not yelling, crying, pleading…nothing. Stoically standing there on the dignity of Parliament. And at that moment he saved Spanish democracy.
For sure Suarez was more provoked than Justin Trudeau, yet he stood on the dignity and decorum of the place, rather than falling into petulance and shoving opposition dissenters.
So there is the first thing…Trudeau has no deep understanding about the nature and traditions of Parliament, and the importance of decorum and civil conduct. This is the first time in my memory that I can recall a member of the Canadian Parliament physically contacting another MP…and he did twice. It doesn’t matter if the second one was an accident because it arose out of his first act.
Answer truthfully, Nikki…what would you have said if Harper had done this? We both know. Yet Harper never assaulted anyone (apart from his assault on good taste, when he wore a utility vest to that Summit in Mexico. That felt like a punch to the gut).
Another thing that Trudeau forgets is that Parliament is a “PARLIAMENT”. He is nothing more or less than just another MP himself. Every one there is an MP, equal, and every one there is elected by Canadians. So he cannot just push around another MP because he does not like how he chooses to dissent from the government programme. Those people are elected….Liberals, Conservatives, NDP and PQ…they are the representatives of constituents who have chosen them in an election and they are entitled to respect. Opposition is especially entitled to respect because, in obstructing, they are complying with a constitutional duty and obligation. Moreso, when the guy they are opposing is in on 39.5% (more on that later).
You might argue that “But but but Trudeau is the Prime Minister. He has a majority. The government has a right to get things done and those yecchhy Conservatives cannot just try to hold things up!!”
But the Grits have not exactly arrived on the wings of Golden Eagles...they got 39.5% of the vote. It works out that they got a majority of the seats but Justin doesn’t speak ex cathedra. And if he doesn’t like the opposition’s tactics, he can appeal to the Speaker…who is from his party (and, incidentally, a former hockey teammate of mine, bye the bye).
What Trudeau did is not a minor thing because it reflects a fundamental lack of understanding and respect for the institution which he is so fortunate to be a part of.
And that leads to the third point, which was the subject of the debate in the House of Commons at the moment in question. As you say, the assisted killing bill is a really important matter. I agree with that and I suspect that a majority of Canadians also agree with that. The thing is you cannot pretend that everyone who thinks it is important shares the same views as you. This is an extremely difficult issue and involves many many different points of view. It may force doctors who are against it to choose between giving up their careers or their souls. (I myself am not sure how I feel…it may surprise you…I have imagined that being in a permanent coma might be a lot like being buried alive…knowing what is going on but being able to do nothing… and I am not sure I would want that). There are a lot of people who agree with the basics but are horrified at how far down the slippery slope the Dutch and Belgians have gone…people being euthanized just because they are tired of living, children being euthanized (I think we should now call it Youthanized) based on PARENTAL consent. Some say the Liberal model is more restrictive than the Europeans, but I am old enough to remember how restrictive Justin’s father’s abortion bill was and now we are the only industrialized country in which the state of the law allows babies to be killed right up until they stick their heads out into the delivery room (actually, in some provinces, it seems they can kill the babies up into the 4th trimester). There are those who say that we simply cannot legalize allowing some people to kill others, and they have a valid point that needs to be heard. This is not a closed debate, no matter how much the left wants it to be, and the public and their elected representatives have a right to be heard.
And Mr 39.5% has no right to shut that down.
And the point is that this is a real DEBATE that has not been decided by the people. This legislation was forced into existence by the decision of 9 unelected judges-self designated masterminds who have taken it upon themselves to overturn a long standing statute passed by elected representatives of the people. I defy anyone to find assisted dying in the Charter of Rights and I am pretty sure Chretien and Trudeau (Pierre) didn’t think it was there when they put it forward. Yet unelected judges discovered this right and now we are faced with this situation.
And so this is what we have: a Liberal government, with a majority elected with 39.5% of the vote (which Trudeau himself thinks has questionable legitimacy…otherwise why would he be trying to change our First Past The Post electoral system?) dealing with an issue that neither the public nor their representatives have really had a hearing on. Trudeau tries to cut off debate on this serious, deep and moral issue that many people feel strongly about, and to ram it through using Parliamentary tricks…a la Harper.. and when one representative has the temerity to try to slow things down…to salvage a role for Parliament in this important issue…Justin Trudeau takes it upon himself to shove and push and pull him…just the fact of laying hands on him is enough…and swears at him (like his Dad) and then hits, carelessly or accidentally or otherwise (who knows what was in his hot head at that moment?) another, female, MP. So, Trudeau on this important issue, ruled on by 9 unelected judges tries to ram it through Parliament with a majority based on a 39.5% vote (that is with 60.5% voting AGAINST him. Do the math) and when faced with an iota of resistance loses his temper and shoves and swears at those having the temerity to dissent. Typical leftist.
No. It’s not trivial. It is a symptom of the increasing and unending arrogance of government, of all parties. The people, and their non-Cabinet representatives, in the view of our “betters” are nothing more than tools and sock-puppets.
In my opinion, this was bad.