Who gets to pay tribute to Vaclav Havel

by Aaron Wherry

In November, Elizabeth May was twice denied the House’s consent to mark Remembrance Day. This afternoon she was apparently denied an opportunity to join the Conservatives, New Democrats and Liberals in honouring Vaclav Havel. Justin Trudeau is unimpressed.

Conservatives just refused to let party leader @ElizabethMay rise to pay tribute to Vaclav Havel. He was a champion of free speech. #irony

Update 5:23pm. Here is the video (such as it is) of the incident. Citing an anonymous MP, Ms. May says Government House leader Peter Van Loan was one of those who spoke up to deny her consent. I emailed Mr. Van Loan’s office to ask if he had indeed spoken up. In response, I received only a copy of text of the standing order that applies in such situations. I restated my original question and will update this post if or when I hear back.

Update 7:03pm. Still waiting to hear back from Mr. Van Loan’s office. In the meantime, here is the statement Ms. May says she would have delivered.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker,

And thank you to those who have just spoken to the spirit and inspiration or an extraordinary human being. I was particularly moved by the words of my friend, the Hon. Member from Toronto Centre.  Václav Havel’s life was of the order of Nelson Mandela, or Aung San Suu Kyi.  His genius as a playwright and poet put him also in the company of Ken Saro-Wiwa, who was murdered by the Abacha regime in Nigeria. Totalitarian regimes dislike the free speech of satirists and poets.

It was a nearly miraculous change of fate that both Mandela and Havel overthrew the oppression of earlier governments to become presidents.

It is the nature of a poet, a creative genius like Havel, to refuse to accept the world as he found it.  An unlikely politician, Havel never lost sight of his complex humanity.

I wish to share his own words with you and ask that we seek to emulate them:

“Let us teach ourselves that politics cannot just be the art of the possible, especially if that means the art of speculation, calculation, intrigue, secret deals and pragmaticmaneuvering, but that it can even be the art of the impossible, namely the art of improving ourselves and the world.”

Let light perpetual shine upon him and let us live inspired by his example.




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Who gets to pay tribute to Vaclav Havel

  1.  We be nice to them, if they be nice to us – Gollum

  2. She really threatens them. it seems.

    • Don’t, please, be silly.  Why should anyone, let alone the majority party in Parliament, give Ms May any more oxygen of publicity?  

      • Plus, of course,  she is an irrelevance. 

        • Like Deb Grey was when she was the only Reform member?

        • “Don’t, please, be silly.  Why should anyone, let alone the majority party in Parliament, give Ms May any more oxygen of publicity?..”.
           
          “…Pus, of course,  she is an irrelevance”

          hmmmm, one logically follows the other – not!

        •  ”Plus, of course,  she is an irrelevance.”

          Like all MPs in a Harper-dominated HoC.

  3. I wonder how the people of Saanich-Gulf Islands feel about having their MP’s voice silenced so often in the House of Commons?  Pretty disrespectful to the institution of democracy..

    • There’s probably a shadow MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands who will use this to demonstrate to the constituents that things would be better for them, they’d have a louder voice, if they had a government MP.  These conservatives are going to get smaller and pettier over the next few years.  Fasten your seatbelts…

      • After years of Gary Lunn, it would be hard to convince us.

    • We are not amused! 

    • Actually no, the government is abiding by the standing order that applies in this situation, so they are being respectful of our democracy.

      And yes, I would think that there are many in Saanich-Gulf Islands who regret sending May to Ottawa—don/t worry, it won/t happen again.

  4. What is the “standing order that applies in such situations”? Could you post it too please?

  5. These vile, sickening scumbags wouldn’t know class or decency if it gouged out their eyeballs and fed them to their grandchildren.

    2015 can’t come soon enough. I’ve already rounded up a dozen new voters.

  6. The ideas of  Vaclav Havel are lost on most of you here

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