'This proved otherwise, if only temporarily' - Macleans.ca

‘This proved otherwise, if only temporarily’


Nick Taylor-Vaisey considers last week’s filibuster as a counterpoint to my previous lamenting for the state of the House of Commons.

When I left, there were more than 250 MPs sitting in the chamber. C-6 had just passed second reading, so most of the MPs – with some absences, including a big chunk of Liberals – voted, and then stuck around for the next stage of debate. That was early evening on a Saturday in June, and there they were. Throughout much of the filibuster, each party sent a skeleton crew to monitor events. But after second reading, when MPs debated each clause of the bill in the Committee of the Whole (which comprises every MP), they all stuck around in case they needed to vote on any of them. So there they sat, as a group, debating every line of the legislation in front of them.

And people watched. When I was in the gallery on the south side of the Commons, it was at least two-thirds full – and even fuller, at times. While there were a few pro-union folks in the crowd, there were also families, complete with at least one crying baby, sitting there, watching intently. And there were no doubt other people like me, who’d made the short walk from their downtown dwellings to watch some history in the making.


‘This proved otherwise, if only temporarily’

  1. So the sky isn’t falling?

    As I’ve commented on this blog before, Wherry cherry-picks events, and chooses to blog about parliamentary behaviour that is very questionable, discouraging, disappointing, etc. This leaves the impression that all of parliament is a farce, or “sham” as he puts it.

    But by simply consulting openparliament.ca, one gets a very different impression of parliament. There are plenty of productive exchanges, work getting done, cooperation, etc.

    You’ll always have disappointing moments and questionable behaviour, but that’s not the entire picture. Wherry prints the more sensational stuff to paint a particular narrative (and perhaps because it’s more interesting, sells more magazines, etc). But when reading about parliament from other sources, a different picture emerges.

  2. Wasn’t this just more theatre? Both sides striking a pose for their ideological bases?

  3. The NDP debate … and it was only the NDP debating with the others asking *questions … was generally principled and respectful of the institution. In  addition – shock! horror! – listening to the ideas, my mind was changed about aspects of our society’s acceptance of ‘the reality of globalization’.

    *The questions were:
    Why do you hate small business?
    Why do you hate the economy?
    Why do you hate grandparents sending a birthday card with a quarter in it to their grandchildren?
    Why do you hate our ‘third way’? (Liberals only)

    It was a rare source of optimism for me after watching days’ worth of committees and House proceedings during the last year.

    It was funny too … when Laurie ‘Talking Point’ Hawn complained about the debate getting ‘repititious’!