Tough guy


Peter Milliken has advised all MPs to cease with the personal attacks. Liberals point to various statements made by Conservative MPs. Conservatives scoff and point to statements made by one Bloc MP (Serge Cardin is not, as reported in the Globe, a Liberal) and one Liberal.

“I wouldn’t read anything into it. … I think if you’re going to step into the ring, you’ve got to be able to take the punch. This isn’t a classroom at Harvard. This is the House of Commons. This is politics,” Mr. Teneycke said.

Indeed. And if all else fails, you can always sue, right?


Tough guy

  1. All of a sudden the Speaker is saying to call off the personal attacks?!?!?

    So the most disgusting invectives hurled at M. Dion were just part of the game? Or perhaps they served the purpose of more than just the Conservatives.

  2. No, Mr. Teneycke, this is your party’s version of politics. When done properly, politics is, as Mr. Pearson once said, the skilled use of blunt objects. Your party’s choice of and use of blunt objects is anything but skilled.

  3. Well, I think what has prompted this is less the attacks on Ignatieff and more the personal attacks on private citizens – which becomes part of the public record – when those private citizens don’t have the opportunity to respond on the public record with their own members statements.

    For example, Casey is an MP so he was able to use his member’s statement to put on the record the spurious and discreditable attempts by Conservatives to falsely claim he conducted fraud and embezzled money.

    A private citizen doesn’t have that ability. Even a private citizen like Warren Kinsella who has lots of opportunity to create his own media, can’t respond to false and defamatory comments by cowardly Conservatives who make their hits on the public record but only when protected by Parliamentary privilege.

    • “A Liberal strategist has filed a $1-million libel suit against the Conservative party and Public Works Minister Christian Paradis. Warren Kinsella alleges that a Feb. 25 news release bearing Conservative party letterhead insinuates he is “unsavoury, dishonest and that [Liberal Leader] Michael Ignatieff and the Liberal party of Canada” should sever ties with him.” Canadian Press, March 10 ’09

      Seems like WK has found way to respond, Ted.

      • True,

        But there, he’s responding to a press release, and statements made outside the House. He has no real recourse to respond to things said in the House.

        And while WK isn’t exactly a sympathy-inducing example, it’s still the principle of the thing that’s important.

      • Because Paradis repeated some of his comments in public.

        The rest of them are obviously deceitful cowards.

        Even when he wins his lawsuit, it won’t be for years and after great unrecoverable expense and the public record will still have Conservative lies recorded and unaltered.

        • I didn’t realize that someone out there actually believes that WK has a snowball’s chance of winning his frivolous lawsuits. Care to make a wager, Ted?

          • Surely he has no chance at all. You can’t sue someone for calling you “unsavoury,” and “deceitful” is pretty hard to rebut — falsum in uno, etc. I can’t imagine taking something like that to trial, lest I lose and be found “unsavoury and deceitful,” but then WK may feel he has little to lose by way of dignity.

          • It’s probably a good thing for everyone that the standards for libel are set so high. I would add that the dollar amounts sought by WK for damage to his reputation are further evidence that his “lawsuit” is actually “book promotion by other means”.

          • CR,

            Quite true. But I’m not too concerned with WK using a lawsuit as a means of book promotion as long as we live under a government that has used lawsuits as a means of distracting the public. If WK’s abusing the courts a bit, I know where he got the idea!

        • Never mind that the “unsavoury, dishonest” person that Paradis was referring to wasn’t even Kinsella.

    • Right. As they are using the protected privilege to vilify someone who cannot respond through that forum. Lines have definatly been crossed.

  4. Where was all the hand-wringing from the media about parliamentary decorum when Joe Volpe called the Conservatives part of the Ku Klux Klan?

    Where was the outrage when Paul Martin, not a slim man himself, took a gratuitious shot at Harper’s weight by publically offering him a copy of the “South Beach Diet”? The media were busy guffawing right along side the Liberal members of the House.

    Where was Peter Milliken then, and the probably dozens of other similar slurs from Liberals that the media cover their backs for them by not reporting?

    Yes, decorum in Parliament sucks, and the Conservatives have been particularly egregious in their behaviour. But the seeds for it were sown by you and your colleages long ago. You want decorum to improve? Start calling the game both ways, with the same rules for all the players.

    • Missing the point John G. He is talking about Member’s Statements here which have a specific purpose, a purpose which Conservatives are abusing. Most significantly, abusing by going on personal attacks against members of the public and not Members of Parliament who can respond.

      Second, the idiotic comments from Liberals you refer to may be insults but are they defamatory? Seems Volpe repeated those moronic comments out of Parliament whereas Conservatives know they have crossed the line because they won’t do it outside Parliament.

      Third, the media did jump on them then too. Volpe was vilified and Martin – who was clearly attempting to tell a joke because he made the overweight joke about himself as well – was ridiculed in the media. In fact, I only wish the media would treat Harper the way they treated Martin. Martin was never given a chance with “The Media” but so much of the falsehoods propagated by Harper and Flaherty are simply regurgitated without even a response from the opposition.

  5. Good one Aaron. One would think there would be more comment in the media on the amount of critical energy the Government expends attacking the Liberals instead of using it on the recession.

    The Government is supposed to govern; the Opposition is supposed to oppose; so different standards can be applied in assessing the tactics of the two sides in the House. As many pundits have said, Harper and most of his MP attack dogs and staff just can’t seem to get out of the opposition role.

  6. That Globe and Mail story seems to follow the same ridiculous storyline seen elsewhere — that MPs can’t or shouldn’t be political anymore because they’re all supposed to be “focused on the economy” and therefore . Say what you will about the attacks themselves. Maybe they’ve gone too far, maybe not. Maybe the statements could have been used for a more positive purpose.

    But can someone please explain to me what an MP could have accomplished to improve the economy with a 60 second statement before Question Period as opposed to using it to (shock and horror at the thought) attack his principal political opponent?

  7. More than anything, it is the obviously scripted insult that is offensive. Good to and fro debate that boils over into some rough language is acceptable, but this nonsense is so clumsily manipulative that it clogs up the whole process.

    It is rather like the staged NHL fights, when the two goons are sent out to stir things up; you just wish they would go off and do it somewhere else, and let the game get on.

    • That’s an excellent point too.

      Calling someone names in the heat of the back and forth of the House (particularly during Question Period) is one thing. Standing for your Member’s Statement and basically saying “I shall now read a scripted attack on (insert name of non-Tory here) isn’t just a lack of decorum, it’s silly.

  8. I love how these days the Tories say “Harvard” like they’re saying “Gonorrhea”.

    I get that a man who was educated at Harvard and has taught there (as well as teaching at Cambridge, Oxford, and the LSE) might not be the sort of man that the 25% of Canadians who bleed Tory blue might want at the helm of our nation.

    As always though, I wonder when the Tories will start focusing at least some of their rhetoric at the rest of us.

    It would behoove the Tories to consider, as they hurl “insults” like “Harvard-educated” and “Used to lecture at Oxford” and “Has nine honourary Doctorates” that maybe, just possibly, there might be some Canadians left who don’t consider those things to be disqualifications for high office.

    • AMEN!

  9. What does Kory have against Harvard? I have a feeling some law and business classes at Harvard could easily become like the House of Commons!

  10. Let me see if I understand the situation (1) frustrated left wing nuts in the Liberal Party think evil neo con right wing nuts need to si there and be quiet while they are attacked … (2) right wing nuts in the Conservative Party think that stupid left wing nuts need a new leader = in otherwords business as usual. Good for the Speaker to actually earn some of those dollars we pay him though and stand up and even censure a MP who does over indulge in outright personal attacks – I am still looking for the personal attacks though? – Mr. Teneycke is right if you can’t stand the heat then get out of Ottawa.

    • “Mr. Teneycke is right if you can’t stand the heat then get out of Ottawa.”

      That, or prorogue.

      Tip to Tories, don’t let Dean Del Mastro read these statements, it really diminishes the attacks.

      • That, or prorogue.

        Or sue. Suing your opponents is a good way to quiet them too, even if you never really intend to follow-through.

      • Del Mastro should just sit on the statements. That way they’d never be read… or found.

  11. “I intend to halt at an early stage any trend in this direction,” he wrote.

    Is he new to Parliament?

    • Who knows, maybe some day he’ll even start cutting the mics of prolix NDP MPs during Question Period, just as he’s already been doing to Liberals.

    • Speaker Milliken was referring to this Session of Parliament.

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