Our vibrant democracy - Macleans.ca

Our vibrant democracy


On Tuesday afternoon, the NDP’s Kennedy Stewart rose during statements by members with the following.

Mr. Speaker, since returning from the summer session, Conservative MPs have been sullying this House with fabricated policies and outright untruths. The member for Lethbridge is the perfect example. Instead of representing his constituents in this House, he knowingly aids his Ottawa bosses in propagating these falsehoods. Canadians have become adept at recognizing when their tax dollars are being misused. When they see a member standing in this House to repeat statements they know are untrue, Canadians see right through it. The message is simple: the member thinks it is more important to stand and attack the NDP on behalf of his Ottawa bosses than represent his constituents. This misguided regurgitation of falsehoods by the Conservatives is nothing short of an embarrassment. I encourage the next speaker to find the courage to stand up and speak for her riding, do what is right for her constituents, what is right for this House and what is right for them.

After Question Period that day, Government House leader Peter Van Loan stood on a point of order to complain.

Mr. Speaker, I regrettably rise to raise some questions about unparliamentary language, which was utilized by the member for Burnaby—Douglas under the rubric of member statements under Standing Order 31. As members know, it is not appropriate to accuse other members of lying in the House. That is considered unparliamentary language. I know when the NDP became the official opposition, its members made a great deal of their commitment to a new decorum and to improving the level of debate in the House. That appears sadly to have slipped away in the member’s statement today. In referring to the member for Lethbridge, the member for Burnaby—Douglas accused him of “outright untruths”, “propagating…falsehoods”, “statements [known to be] untrue” and “regurgitation of falsehoods”. These all fall into the category of unparliamentary language. What is more and what is worse is that these are all in reference to statements about the NDP carbon tax, and the hon. member for Burnaby—Douglas actually ran under a platform that had on its fourth page a commitment to a $21.5 billion carbon tax. These statements not only are incorrect but they are unparliamentary and he should—

Mr. Stewart then stood to respond.

Mr. Speaker, I retract any unparliamentary language, although in his statement the House leader had his own untruth so I think the game continues.

Mr. Van Loan then stood to remind the House that he had previously tabled a copy of the NDP’s 2011 election platform.

On Wednesday, NDP House leader Nathan Cullen stood during statements by members with a rebuttal.

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons stood in this House and had the audacity to complain about mistruths in members’ statements. He was not even trying to be ironic. The fact is clear to anyone watching that the Conservatives have been propagating outright mistruths in their statements. Propagating falsehoods is nothing new for them. They conveniently ignore their own record when it comes to putting a price on carbon. The Prime Minister himself promised a $65 a ton price. The Conservatives’ election platform committed to a cap and trade system and yet the government House leader is content to watch his MPs stand day after day in the House and repeat statements known to be untrue. The New Democrats miss hearing about the great events happening in Conservative ridings, so I will make a pledge today. If the Conservatives commit to throwing away their PMO talking points and the daily regurgitation of falsehoods, we will commit to stop doing their jobs for them by talking about the wonderful people and events in their ridings.

On Thursday, Conservative MP Bob Zimmer stood to respond to Mr. Cullen.

Mr. Speaker, the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley made a surprising declaration about our government’s statements yesterday. It sounds like the member needs to have his memory refreshed. I would like to refer him to page 4 of his party’s costing document, which shows plans to generate $20 billion in government revenue through a carbon tax. I would also like to refer him to page 2 of his leader’s policy leadership document, which would impose a carbon tax that “would build on” the proposal New Democrats campaigned on during the last election. I would like to refer him to the NDP-backed Broadbent Institute, which issued a report stating, “…a carbon tax and higher taxes on natural resources — need to be considered…”. That was stated by the Broadbent Institute on October 9, 2012. Before the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley accuses us of being untrue, he should ask himself why he supports a job-killing carbon tax that would increase the price of everything, including gasoline, groceries and electricity.

And after more of the usual back-and-forth during QP this morning, Mr. Cullen stood on a point of order.

Mr. Speaker, in just a moment, I will be seeking to table, in both official languages, a document that refers to the comments made by my friend across the way a moment ago. I know the members opposite would never wish to lie in this place but the things they said just are not true. I want to help them out with the facts because they may have them wrong. Equating a cap and trade system with a carbon tax is like apples and oranges: apples, a carbon tax down the way; oranges, cap and trade. To review, carbon taxes were proposed by them, cap and trade was proposed by us. The interesting thing is that the Prime Minister actually presented a similar cap and trade. Therefore, the document I wish to offer up, in both official languages, is the Prime Minister’s own speech from London in which he proposed a $46 billion cap and trade program for Canada.

Mr. Cullen did not receive the unanimous consent of the House and thus was unable to table a copy of the Prime Minister’s speech.


Our vibrant democracy

  1. And they wonder why nobody is paying attention anymore….and why fewer and fewer people vote.

    • And sadly here we are discussing it and commenting on it ad nauseum….

      • No…..you are.

        • Funny…I keep running into your comments on here.

          • That’s because we don’t need another round of chet/biff etc

          • That’s lame. I expect better from our PMO Action! Commenters. Where is the passion, algorithm?

      • Neo-cons don’t want people to discuss the issues. That’s why they make surprise announcements at midnight on Fridays and bring in 1000 page-omnibus bills. It’s all to an attempt to suppress democracy — which is their greatest enemy…

  2. Someone want to tell me why the Tories would deny consent to table their own Prime Minister’s speech? They’re his words. Unfiltered.
    It boggles the mind.

    • For the same reason why the NDP didn’t want the Provincial Omnibudget tabled from when Mulcair was a member of that Provincial Liberal Caucus. It’s a little game they play with each other. (btw…I do know that you know all of this…)

      • Extremely valid point. Entirely agree. Period.

        • Well, agree insofar as I don’t know if the Tories attempted to table that budget. But if they did and there wasn’t unanimous consent, it would look as bad for the NDP as it does for the Tories.

          You talk to me as if I support the NDP. I don’t.

      • What year was that, Bill? I am stumped trying to figure out that would even be possible.

  3. I like the strategy of highlighting events and milestones in Conservative ridings better than attempting to win this ridiculous truthiness battle.

    • I have to agree with you on that point. Not to mention when the $ 21.5 BILLION brazenly exists in the NDP campaign platform for any and all to see it’s hard to pretend that is not in there and that it is “untruthful” (to be put it into parliamentary terms) to point out that which is factually accurate.

      • And the $65 a tonne that was in Harper’s speech, what of that…air brush it out of the historical record shall we?

        • I think you mean to say $65 A TONNE

  4. The funny part is that all any Canadian needs to do is pickup a copy of the 2012 NDP campaign platform (For Mr. Wherry’s benefit not to be confused with the 2008 one) and they can see firsthand the $ 21.5 BILLION in NDP proposed new revenue on Carbon – and sadly for the NDP they will not have Mr. Wherry standing at the polls to say that is “a farce” even though it is actually in the NDP campaign platform.

    I wonder if Kennedy Stewart realizes that in Lethbridge, Albertans really don’t get excited about $ 21.5 BILLION in new NDP proposed revenue placed on Carbon. There is a reason why Albertans never vote NDP and Kennedy Stewart has done a great job defining why.

    On an unrelated note I really miss Wherry stating that “the farce” comes to Lethbridge…

    • Correction-Sorry I should have said 2011 NDP campaign platform. No way they NDP would put that in a 2012 document…..

  5. anon ~ political debate: when charlatans come together to discuss their principles

    • Neo-cons are certainly charlatans with no principles… When people discuss political issues — whether anonymously or not — they are doing their civic duty. In a democracy, people are not charlatans for having opinions…

  6. I thought they were all proposing to put a price on carbon at some point or other. I propose a motion that the house has finally lost its marbles.

    A price on carbon, whether in the form of a carbon tax, cap’n trade or even once you add up the cost of regulatory inefficiencies to the economy and eventually passed on to the consumer, is a price on carbon.

    Really! I’m starting to believe a full blown permanent proroguing of this house is in order.
    Hell, maybe we can even bring in some temporary foreign worker politicians? You know, pay em all 15% less and make them all bunk in Van Loans basement.

  7. How odd it is that lying is acceptable, but pointing it out isn’t.

    Oh, and because I *know* Bill will try to misdirect this, I’ll point out in plain words, the lie is “job-killing”. Any examination of what a reasonable carbon tax would do indicates that any jobs lost in the patch would be more than replaced by jobs gained in firms developing efficiency technologies.