On heckling


In a pair of posts, Mackenzie Grisdale considers the practice of heckling.

The heckles that MPs said resonated the most were personal attacks. Often, MPs were reluctant even to divulge examples of heckles they recalled, while some would refer vaguely to “racism and sexism” or “homophobic” remarks. However, specific examples of personal attacks include a comment from a male Conservative MP who recalls heckles “Targeting a Conservative’s religious beliefs” and “Labelling a rural MP from the prairies a redneck.” Another MP noted that heckles sometimes touch on physical disability as well. 

One female Conservative MP heard someone yell at her, “That was dumber than you look.” This MP raised other points as well: “Personal attacks like ‘idiot, liar, stupid, chicken’ and heckling about gender (usually aimed at women by women), for example alleging the women are puppets, stooges, robots under the direction of men [are] particularly offensive.”


On heckling

  1. Heckling should be banned, period.

    MPs are expected to act like adults in the nations boardroom, not kids in a schoolyard.

  2. “Targeting a Conservative’s religious beliefs” … we hear this one over and over and over. A persecuted minority … the CPC.
    Personally, I would rather have been told as a child about ‘refraction’ than ‘God gave us the rainbow as a promise that never again would he flood the Earth’. And THIS was at my mainstream, progressive United Church of Canada Sunday School! Sorry, the planet is not 6000 years old and you shouldn’t tell kids this … because this type of gross error leads to bad decision making in government.

    If only a little bit of wit was employed at appropriate times during an opponent’s speech. Instead, the Commons is like a vulgar junior high school boys’ dressing room … and on top of that we have the heckling.

    • ” …. because this type of gross error leads to bad decision making in government.”

      Are you sure of your causations/correlations on how Sunday School is responsible for Government making bad decisions? 

      Galileo ~ I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.

  3. Mackenzie Grisdale:

    “Overall, even though heckles concerning an MP’s party, idea or ideology are most common, the data show that racist, sexist, ageist, homophobic and other discriminatory sentiments were certainly part of the 40th Parliament.”

    PJ O’Rourke ~ Every government is a parliament of whores. The trouble is, in a democracy, the whores are us. 

    TorStar – July 2011

    Just last month, Statistics Canada released a study documenting a 42 per cent increase in hate crimes in 2009 compared to 2008, with 71 per cent of the crimes motivated by religion targeting the Jewish community.

  4. Heckling for the sake of disruption should be punished.  At the same time, refusing to answer a direct question about your portfolio or the region you represent should be punished.  Both behaviours contribute to the view that QP is a partisan joke.

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