Senate page stunt was nothing but a temper tantrum -

Senate page stunt was nothing but a temper tantrum

Brigette DePape should not be lauded for abusing her position


If I were to interrupt Senate chamber with some sort of a makeshift traffic sign, I’d surely pick something a little more interesting than “STOP.”

Sorry, Brigette. I know you thought your “STOP HARPER!” sign was pretty nifty, but with a whole assembly of traffic signs and symbols to adopt for partisan purposes, why go for the most predictable choice?

How about something a little more positive, such as a bright red “YIELD” triangle? That way, you could get your five minutes of fame while also emblematically encouraging better decorum in the House of Commons. Or, if you’re looking for something with a little more snark, how about a reflective “WATCH FOR CHILDREN” sign? Of course, the best messages are often the most concise, so with that in mind, a simple “SLOW” should do the trick.

Of course, it doesn’t really matter what sign Senate page Brigette DePape used to interrupt the Speech from the Throne June 3, because the stunt was clearly void of any practical purpose. Of course, DePape’s press release gave vague allusions to Canada’s need to stop the Harper agenda, as well as misguided desire for a “Canadian version of an Arab Spring,” but DePape’s childish exploit served to achieve neither one of these goals.

Some have admired DePape, calling her “bright” and “brave” for her rogue act. But it is not admirable to abuse professional position to get access to the Senate floor. Nor is it bright to engage in some supposed form of civil disobedience with no pragmatic purpose in mind. The Silent Sentinels could be called “bright” and “brave” for engaging in civil disobedience to win American women the right to vote, but DePape, for her thirty seconds of Senate spotlight, hasn’t earned that.

Sorry DePape. “DEAD END.” Your stunt was just a show.

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Senate page stunt was nothing but a temper tantrum

  1. In two words this young woman has managed to get her message accross much more coherently than Ms. Urback has in 300.

    • No, she didn’t.

      She’s just a sore loser.

    • I believe if you listened to the interviews after the incident you would realize the young girl is not only misinformed but most likely out of touch with the current political situation. Holding up a sign maybe an act of freedom, but you better have the insight to back it up.

      When she looks back on this time in her life she will probably wish she spent more time talking to Senators and learning about government than hiding a sign in her skirt.

    • I agree!

  2. It seems to me the young lady made a calculated decision in the demonstration of her free speech rights and that included living with the consequences of a breach of her employment contract. No harm was done to the ceremony and while some may frown upon such actions I applaud this young person for exercising her right to express herself.

    • I was just reading this a.m. about the woman who is consistantly arrested for protesting outside of abortion clinics. (She is out of jail again, but likely to go back in before the summer is out.) Now there is someone who has moral courage. I do hope you also applaud her “exercising her right to express herself.” We should all be protesting her getting tossed in jail time and again for exercising something that should be a democratic right. The consequences for DePape are a slightly early contract termination and lots of publicity.

  3. And with more dignity.

    • yeah, about as much dignity as an anti-Obmam tea party protester.

      the election is over.

  4. Sorry Urback, your post is nothing but a rant.
    You should have just written a sign that says “I just don’t like her.”

    • i agree

  5. Can anyone read this article and NOT think its a purely-biased opinion piece from a conservative supporter?

    • can anyone read this comment and NOT think its pure sore-loserism from a left-wing voter that can’t accept that he lost ?

      so much for civility.

    • No.

  6. What exactly was her message Shawn?

    “Stop Harper, Say hello?”


    “I vote left, and I’m looking for a job.”

  7. Miss DePape has shown much more decorum and tact than the author of this article.

    • Give it up Robyn.

    • Miss DePape is a sore loser.

  8. However she did it, she has done more than anyone else; especially you Ms. Urback

    The “stunt” she pulled is democracy at work. Unfortunately, normal, everyday Canadians don’t really have the chance to speak to politicians unless it’s scripted or by pulling “stunts”

    I applaud her for showing Canadians that it’s okay to stand up to their government.

    Good on you Brigette!

  9. Although I don’t agree with the author of this article, I believe that Brigette DePape’s form of protest was an immature abuse of her position. There are better ways to exercise your freedom of expression.

    Besides, if people wanted to “stop Harper” they wouldn’t have given him a majority government.

  10. Isn’t anyone tire of reading articles were the author is simply sharing his opinion rather than writing with facts…? Urback, if you desire to criticize something that has been done in a passive way, just do so in a forum… they are made for that but please don’t post your article in the news! I agree with so many of the comments posted here… you could have simply said in one sentence that you just “don’t like her” which we do not care to know. Thanks for posting me.

  11. What bothers me is personal integrity. She was being paid to do a job. With a job you have a responsibility towards your employer to do the job and do it to the employers standards. If she wanted to protest, she should have quit her job and protested.

  12. I think it is clear just who is suffering a little temper tantrum here. Brave acts the work often elicit shaming responses like Urback displays here…

  13. Given the amount of spin, vitriol, name-calling and over reaction from the Conservatives spewed at this young woman, I’d say it hit a nerve with the Conservatives. You’d think a bunch of middle aged men would be more mature than this.

  14. Stop Harper.

    Can’t you read M?
    Why do you Reform/Alliance/Con coalition types have such a hard time with context?

  15. This was a childish stunt, which is typical of leftwing thinking. Immature children like this one need a lesson in being an adult, something her parents clearly failed at.

  16. Those in the media should be encouraging free speech, not helping to destroy it. Miss DePape might have broke with parliamentary tradition, but so is Harper with senate reform. Give the girl a break.

  17. Brigette DePape should not be lauded for abusing her position; rather she is lauded because she decided to voice her opinion when too many people lay back in apathy. Her antics are mostly forgiven due to her age. It is so much easier to go after her, than to try and form a counter-response, like: “Stop Harper from leading the country out of recession?” Like everything else, people are more interested in the controversy than the issues.

  18. Sorry, Robyn, but you’re wrong on this one.
    This was a ray of hope in an otherwise politically deadened and compliant landscape. People too afraid to push back, like the press and the Tim Horton’s swilling herd, have been shown what real heroism and hope looks like. Harper will get his dream of a divided, right wing, divisive, hateful and pollution spewing bankrupted country off the ground only to have it brought down by DePape’s generation. I’m heartened to see the future of this country isn’t blue at all, but the red and white of the maple leaf.

    You can keep earning your paycheque as an apologist and cover for the cancer that is the Conservative party. The rest of us see the future in this bright, brave young woman.

  19. Her “stunt” was devoid of purpose? Hardly. The 60% of us who did NOT vote for harpercons, and stood by in despair while they got their majority have something to feel good about, as we wait out the next four years.
    In the meantime, you sit and pass judgment on an action you clearly couldn’t carry out yourself. I’d say your column is devoid of purpose.

  20. While I applaud Depape for having the guts to go through with that was probably and drunken bet with friends. She clearly doesn’t have the respect needed to constructively change the way this government thinks. Her stance on Civil Disobedience, will only alienates the other side. Her ideas will not be listened to. We already have a member of the Conservative’s calling her a left wing Kook. It would have been better for her to do her job, and on days off stand outside with the “Stop Harper” sign. Arguing that her unique position gives her agenda more merit.

    Depape wants an Arab Spring in Canada, I really do not want to be fighting for Freedom or Press, Religion, Sexual Orientation. I like our oppressed society just the way it is.

  21. Ms. Depape is a hero of free speach. I admire her courage. Robyn you really missed the mark on this one!

    • She is hardly a hero. She abused her position. Hardly heroic. Especially since the risks to her were minimal: her job was ending in a few weeks anyhow.

      The real heroes are the men and women who risk their lives every day for us: firefighters, police officers, and the men and women serving in the Canadian Forces.

  22. I totally agree that Miss DePape’s stunt was just that, a ‘stunt’ and an abuse of her professional position to get access to the Senate floor and most likely a way of getting 5 min in the spotlight.

  23. Senate Speaker Noel Kinesella accused DePape of “contempt of Parliament.” Harper was cited for contempt of Parliament. The young, powerless page gets fired and the voters re-elect Harper and his thugs who have committed many and more egregious offences to Democracy, Parliament and voters. DePape actually made some points and she did it solo. Right or wrong, she took a stand. The real wrongdoing was committed by pandering politicians and those voters who placed ethics, integrity and Democracy secondary to a few paltry tax cuts and by Jason Kenney who accused DePape of being a “lefty kook.” That’s constructive. Instead of responding to the issues the young lady raised, Kenney resorted to name-calling. And he’s one of the bright lights in Harper’s regime.

    Urback states the “‘stunt” was devoid of any practical purpose”. Nonsense. DePape exercised her right to speak out. Urback didn’t like the venue. Too bad. What better place to voice one’s opposition?

  24. I love how everyone keeps saying she was abusive of her position, or that she was disrespectful… No wonder we always get the government we deserve rather then the one we want/need in this country.

    It is a civic duty in any democracy to be disobedient when you don’t agree with your government and she should and will be applauded for going about it in a peaceful, straight to the point way. At this very moment we are at the mercy of a right wing majority government when a very large and clear majority of voters wanted a left wing government. What else do we have left but disobedience when the wishes of the people arn’t being met?

    If only the rest of us would be so bold.

  25. This might sum up her position and emotional state regarding her actions… it is ALSO an iconic piece of history, and if she felt this way at all, then it should be a timelss and relavant effort to relate…
    As there comes a time when the operation if the machine becomes so odious, and it makes you so sick at heart that you can’t take part, you can’t even passively take part;
    And so, you’ve got to throw your body upon the machine, upon the leavers, upon all the apparatus and you have to indicate to the people who own it, the people who run it, that unless you’re free the machine will be prevented from operating at all. -Mario Savio

    Perhaps this woman felt trapped in a misguided and dispassionate machine, she has said that she felt it could not be affected from the inside, and so she did what any first-stroke leader in an iconic rights movement would do, she obstructed the machine (quite politely, given that she made her point in 20 seconds of muted protest).

  26. The problem with her action is that it’s shortsighted. Jack Layton seems to understand this well enough. What if Layton wins four years down the road and someone pulls a similar stunt? Would we all praise that persons “bravery” and “principle” for essentially betraying their oaths?
    And please all this talk of non partisanship is nauseating. It may not be explicitly pro liberal or NDP, but it’s clearly anti conservative. There’s nothing wrong with that as a philosophy of course, it’s a free country, and for the record I didn’t vote for Harper either, but to call for a change to the rules, just because your team lost is just shabby. Please let’s just suck it up, take it like adults, and not set any precedents we might regret later.

  27. speaking of tantrums thats all this waste of space article is………….standing up for something u believe in is not something many can do, she risked her job to say something she felt needed to be said. This arcticle said nothing but i did hear some stomping of the feet.

  28. Not the time or place . She looked like a child who was pouting at her parents .Who must be very proud not . She did not respect the elected members of any party or her employer . She made afool of herself and looked the part . No courage was shown just bad judgement and ” look at me attitude ” . She had a job that many apply for and few selected and she made a complete farse of it. This deserves applause?

  29. “But it is not admirable to abuse professional position…”
    you mean like the contemptuous acts of the current government?
    I feel that her act of peaceful subordination was justified given the contemporary political climate.

    I agree with Pape that, as a centrist non-partisan, one can still be very concerned with the direction of this hyper-partisan government. True, her call for a Canadian “Arab Spring” ignores the plight of the Arabic speaking peoples and their struggle against violent and extremely despotic rulers.
    Nonetheless, there does need to be a call for change here. Just because our country is more peaceful does not mean we need to be subjected to ‘friendly dictators’ regardless of their political stripe.

  30. This young person tied her message to the Arab Spring. Those people are fighting and dying for the right to have a democratic election. On May 2nd 16,000,000 Canadians voted in a free election and decided on a Tory Government. It would appear she does not agree with that decision but we should all agree with her. She has a warped vision of democracy.

  31. Brigette DePape exercised her right of free speech, and did it in the building supposedly devoted to Canadian democracy. Ironic that she was dragged off, but not surprising, where less than a quarter of eligible voters can elect a majority government. Did we forget Rep by Pop?

  32. It was a stunt that says she is not trustworthy. What a cheap and juvenile way to blow that asset.

    As for those who think she exercised free speech, you are dead wrong. In order to have free speech, one must be a member of Senate of the house. Anything else is not free speech, it is merely shouting, easily contained and ignored. As she will be.

  33. Shawn:

    Stop Harper from doing what? On the one hand she advocates violent revolution (Arab Spring) in support of her vague statement of democracy. On the other hand, she says “Stop Harper.” What does that even mean? Stop him how, from doing what? ‘Un-elect’ him? Overthrow him?

    I’m looking at the message she’s trying to get across, not an ad hominem dust-up. My point is that she had no message, and she exploited a general cause to get her name in the paper. This wasn’t a political protest, it was a marketing campaign. How many homeless people were aided? How many oilsand rigs were closed down? Oh wait, all that happened was three job offers.

    For the record, I’m not a Conservative. But I do enjoy your prejudicial assumption. If I followed your line of thinking I’d assume you vote along the lines of national-socialism with such reactionary conclusions? Or do you consider yourself to be a Canadian voting in the best interests of the nation as (I believe) everyone should.