The letter and spirit

by Aaron Wherry

Andrew Scheer’s remarks to Parliament yesterday as he sought the Speaker’s chair.

In the last Parliament, I also noticed the way toxic language has crept into debate. We have a list of unparliamentary words but we need to go beyond that. I do not think unparliamentary language should be constricted to only a technical list. The speaker should ensure that members follow not just the letter of the rules regarding unparliamentary language but the spirit as well. Base name calling and questioning the motives of other hon. members create a toxic environment, which I think is what Canadians feel let down the most about. By showing each other the mutual respect that we would expect from anyone else is very important.

Bill Curry briefly profiles the new Speaker.




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The letter and spirit

  1. Looks like a good choice – haven’t read anything bad about him, and that’s a first.  

    “It was a sound decision by Mr. Scheer’s fellow MPs. He has been deputy or assistant deputy Speaker for the past five years. In his time in the chair, he has displayed a passion for procedure and developed a reputation for even-handedness. I interviewed him when he first arrived on Parliament Hill in 2004, back when it seemed as if his briefing notes should be written in alphabet spaghetti. Even then, he displayed a reverence for the institution.

    “It is awe-inspiring. To step into that chamber and look around and imagine the people in Canadian history who have occupied that hall — John A. Macdonald, Mackenzie King, John Diefenbaker — and to think I’ll be participating in the same forum is awe-inspiring and humbling,” he said.

    Beneath the gracious, self-effacing exterior lurks a fierce Conservative partisan. Yet he promised fair enforcement of the rules, and members will hold him to that pledge.”

    • Do tell how the opposition might be able to hold him to that pledge?

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