Of manhood and memories


A year ago now, at the peak of the sound and fury surrounding allegations of bribery and Chuck Cadman, the matter came round, as it so often has, to a question of manhood.

Question Period on March 3 began with Stephane Dion. “Mr. Speaker,” he said, “the Prime Minister has tried everything to avoid answering questions about his party’s million dollar bribe. He has even resorted to threats of a lawsuit. It is going to take much more than the threat of a lawsuit to stop us from getting to the truth. Is the Prime Minister willing to change his story? Is he ready to tell the truth?”

The Prime Minister responded with his grand prediction—”The truth is that this will prove to be in court the biggest mistake the leader of the Liberal Party has ever made.”

Only the Liberals didn’t let up. And so the Conservatives did as they do.

“You big wimp!” John Baird yelped at Dion. “You sneaky wimp! You’re gutless!”

The minister of the crown then barked in Ken Dryden’s direction. “You’re gutless!” he cried. “You’re gutless!”

The Prime Minister kept at Dion. “We will be watching very interestingly,” Stephen Harper smirked, “to see after Question Period whether the leader of the Liberal Party publishes those questions on his website.”

“He’s a weasel!” Baird concurred. “You watch, he won’t do it!”

Eventually the Liberals sent Dryden up, the former goalie ever ready with another gusty condemnation of the ruling party’s behaviour.

“Mr. Speaker, we know in a TV interview that Mr. Cadman said he received certain offers but did not mention a life insurance policy. We know he told his wife he was offered a $1 million policy and told his daughter and son-in-law the same thing. We know the Prime Minister was aware that certain offers were being made to Mr. Cadman,” Dryden said. “Would the Prime Minister not agree from his own life experiences that under these circumstances it is far more likely one would decide to be less clear in a TV interview than with their own wife and daughter and son-in-law?”

James Moore mumbled something in response.

Dryden came up again. “This is about offering money for a vote to bring down a government. Buying a vote to bring down a government is unimaginable, unthinkable, in Canada. This is as serious as it gets,” he explained. “I am sure the Prime Minister would agree that if this is true, he must resign.”

Moore frothed. “If that member has the guts, and he believes in what he is saying, then he should say it outside the House of Commons where people can defend themselves,” he challenged. “That member does not have the guts … if he really believes he is on the side of the angels on this, then he should have the guts to stand by what he says and say it outside the House of Commons.”

Mr. Harper stared across the aisle and motioned towards the door. Patting his heart, the Prime Minister appeared to suggest Mr. Dryden lacked as much.

What followed, in the theatre of this place, was a particularly remarkable show. Question Period came to an end and reporters gathered outside the Commons to gather reaction. Out, into the foyer, stepped Dryden. He stood perhaps two feet beyond the parliamentary privilege of the House and, after summoning the cameras and microphones, repeated, word-for-word, the questions he had just asked of the government. Asked if he feared reprisal, he currently responded no and walked away.

Nearly a year later, the suit is gone, the questions remain. And now it is Pierre Poilievre, the Prime Minister’s parliamentary secretary, standing in the House and making allegations, and it is the opposition suggesting—though not yet in such schoolyard language—that he step outside and repeat himself.

One wonders how Messrs. Harper, Moore and Baird would assess their friend’s manhood.


Of manhood and memories

  1. they don’t care Aaron.

    SH and the CPC: anything for politics and politics for anything…

    • sorry, should be

      SH and the CPC: anything for partisan politics and partisan politics for anything…

  2. I remember this incident well. Baird and co, calling out probably the only man in the house who’s ever seriously either given or received a blow in anger. It was sadly pathetic then, it remains so now!

  3. sings “O Canada” in a fit of patriotism

  4. Relax, Aaron. These are the dying months of Harper’s political career. Everyone knows it. We’re watching a self destruction in slow motion, almost like a bad Hollywood B-movie.

  5. “You big wimp!” John Baird yelped at Dion. “You sneaky wimp! You’re gutless!”

    It is an absolute disgrace that MP’s should be allowed to speak to each other like that in the House of Commons without severe disciplinary measures by the Speaker. I mean, assuming the Speaker were not a standing joke. John Baird should have been suspended from Parliament for a month for speaking like that, along with (I doubt not) many a fellow MP of any party. This is the problem with Canadian democracy, folks. Right here.

    • The speaker only applies the rules of the house that the members deem appropriate… if there are to be changes, the members must make the changes to the standing orders and the speaker would then enforce them.

      • Well, good point, but I think a bit of leadership from the Speaker’s chair would go a long way.

        Or, maybe we’re just condemned to live under a scleropaectocracy. I refuse to believe it, but perhaps it’s true.

        • i don’t think we are Jack but there seems to be a two-fold and likely interrelated problem…

          1) present decorum (no need to elaborate)

          2) attracting ‘better’ candidates…. take as an example the last two Lib leadership races….both times a wide variety of external candidates who met different people’s conceptualization of ‘quality’ were quickly rumoured and than quickly withdrew from contention… the points is not to endorse the Libs or any or all candidates, it is to say that as microcosm, not matter want it does not seem interested….

          the other three parties do not have a clear cut pool of candidates that highly skilled and competing to one day take over the reigns….

          with few exceptions, we are not seeing an influx of strong external candidates into any part…..this is BAD news.

    • Agreed. The re-election of Milliken to the Speaker’s chair told me everything I need to know about Parliamentarians commitment to improve decorum.

      • agreed…. Milliken had made it clear he was non-interventionist in the previous sitting.

    • I couldn’t agree more.

      There are places, there have been times, where the Speaker upheld decorum. Not here, not now. I can only hope things will change someday.

  6. Had the Liberals been as certain of victory, they would not have settled.

    Had the Conservatives been on the ropes, the Liberals would have forced them to pay for their legal costs. A large sum of money the Liberals desperately needs.

  7. Okay, so Harper says he controls the ad venues, etc., but the immaturity of Baird, et al is pathetic.

    Poilievre – manhood? Doesn’t he still wear short pants?

    How embarrassing to have clowns like this as our government.

  8. It is going to take much more than the threat of a lawsuit to stop us from getting to the truth.

    Monsieur Dion was quite prescient: it did take more than the threat. It is the confidential settlement of that lawsuit that will stop us from getting to the truth.

  9. Question for lawyer-types in the crowd. What happens if one party (or a party to a party) breaks a confidentiality agreement?

  10. Some more questions for the lawyer-types.

    Does the agreement of confidentiality with the Liberal Party apply to all members of the party, both inside and outside the House? Would it continue to apply to someone who left the party? What would be the legal position of the latter, if they were no longer a part of the legal entity that is a party to the agreement?
    Just wondering.

    • Oh, good questions! Especially does it apply inside the House. Now if only there were lawyer-types.

  11. Regarding the use of the term “settlement”: I’m not sure we know anything about this beyond what the parties have said in public, so I’d be wary of using this word to describe the situation. The suit itself did not result in a settlement as far as I can tell from the reports, just a withdrawal of the complaint without damages or findings for either party to the case. Only the complainant can drop a suit once it’s been initiated. One thing is for certain, Harper DROPPED his lawsuit.

    What seems to have taken place was an “agreement” between the parties not to discuss the lawsuit or its cessation AFTER it was dropped.

    This does not prohibit further inquiry — by political parties, committees, the press, etc. — into the questions of bribery or undue influence, nor the contradictory statements and accusations made by members of the CPC and the PM himself. It certainly does not put an end to the biggest question beyond the question of an offer to Cadman: How are we to believe the positions of the CPC when they and Harper never pursued action against any of the four people (wife, daughter, son-in-law and journalist) who made the allegations in the first place?

  12. It’s funny in a very sad sort of way that the “wimp” Dion is who the CPC crew now claim as the reason Harper dropped his lawsuit.

    So it turns out that the “wimp” Dion wasn’t so wimpy after all.

    Thank you, Stephane Dion, for moving this grotty ball that is the Cadman Affair down the field. You would have scored a touchdown if Harper hadn’t in desperation moved the goalposts!

    For the sake of all the people who have been unfairly and disgustingly smeared by the actions and words of Harper and his crew, please MSM and Macleans do not allow this story to die. Canadians still need answers about “the offer to Chuck.” Thank you Mr. Wherry for doing your part.

  13. It’s not just SH and the CPC that is collapsing. the whole system of Canadian governance is teetering due to continuous minorities and the slow creation of a federal system that has the separation of powers. luckily the federal government is of so little relevance to regular people that nobody cares if these guys wreck their sandbox. just don’t be surprised in a generation when the federal government ceases to exist.

  14. Perhaps we should ask Pierre directly if they tape was doctored?

    Here is his number, after all he is “Working for You”:

  15. I am aware of another such blatant libel chill exercise.
    The lawyer described it – at the time when he was first reading the applicant’s submission – as the most blatant case of “frivolous and vexatious” (Oh – the lawyers do love that phrase) libel chill that he had ever come across.
    When it appeared that the applicant was ragging the puck – and trying to avoid actually going to trial – the applicant’s lawyer indicated that an apology would be acceptable…the defendant’s lawyer wrote a letter that he styled – to the defendant – “this states – between the lines – that you are sorry that the applicant is such an ass”…..if the Liberals did actually come to some settlement – I’d love to see THEIR letter!

Sign in to comment.