As part of the Parliamentary process, the population is permitted to petition the House of Commons—formal, signed requests read into the record by MPs during time allotted most days for such presentations. For those of you so interested, the copious rules pertaining to the petitioning process are printed online.
Anyway. This is perhaps not terribly exciting stuff. Checking Hansard for the last Thursday before Parliament adjourned in June, I see that petitions were presented on Darfur and the environment and gas prices and the CBC radio orchestra.
But on June 10, the NDP’s Libby Davies rose with this.
Well. Setting aside, for a moment, the relevant concerns for animal cruelty and natural health products, that first one was a bit, well, noteworthy, no?
Here’s the official explanation from Ms. Davies’ office, excerpted from an email exchange with her legislative assistant. “For the record, Libby reading a petition should in no way be construed as an endorsement of it’s contents. Libby considers it an MP’s duty to present petitions from consituents, even on positions she does not necessarily support, provided the petitions are not derogatory or offensive. Libby introduces dozens of petitions every year – it’s routine business, and generally not a big deal from our perspective.”
I suppose if there is a quibble here it might be with how one defines derogatory and offensive.
(Coincidentally, Ms. Davies represents Vancouver East, which is adjacent to Vancouver Centre, which is currently being prepared for the arrival of Michael Byers.)