Can I get a witness?


Noel Kinsella, speaker of the senate, comes to the Prime Minister’s defence.

There have been some media reports focusing on the Communion Service during the funeral of the Right Honourable Roméo LeBlanc last Friday in Memramcook, New Brunswick.  These reports have questioned whether Prime Minister Stephen Harper consumed the host that was given to him at the funeral.

I would like to state that I personally witnessed Prime Minister Harper consume the host that was given to him by Archbishop André Richard.  Sitting only a few seats behind him I had a full view of the proceedings and clearly saw the Prime Minister accept the host after Archbishop Richard offered it.  The Prime Minister consumed it.

Canada being a multicultural society is by consequence a multi-faith society and it is a Canadian value to be respectful of all our faith traditions. As a Catholic, I was therefore pleased to see the Prime Minister of Canada express his solidarity and Communion with all those present in the sanctuary as we celebrated the life of the former Governor General.

I reflect that it was only one year ago that Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the Primate of all of Canada hosted the World Eucharistic Congress and was supported by Prime Minister Harper and his government.  Together with Minister Jason Kenney we were pleased to host in Quebec City all of the Cardinals and Prelates from around the world who were in attendance at this World Eucharistic Congress.


Can I get a witness?

  1. Is it true that Guy Giorno is Catholic?

  2. I think that puts paid to the sacrilege question: honest mistake on the PM's part.

  3. How about we chuck this one in the "what goes around, comes around" in gotcha moments and constant attack mode. ALthough if anyone but the Cons had done it, there would be a web site and another Doug-Finley-slumming-for-cash letter papered wherever the MP sending it is not based in.

  4. Didn't I hear that it was a Catholic minister (or is it Priest? Sorry, not familiar) saw him put it in his pocket?

    So now we have a witness for both sides, and a video where Mr. Harper is obscured for 2 seconds and could have done it.

    We're not that much better off then.

    • It depends on your definition of "consume". Had Kinsella said he "clearly saw" Harper put it in his mouth, then I'd say we had conflicting reports.

  5. Well, I think I'll take Senator Kinsella's clear statement over your "didn't I hear". Unless you have an actual statment from someone saying the PM put it in his pocket, and I don't think you'll find it, the matter is at an end.

    (Kinsella is wrong, by the way, to suggest that it is a nice ecumenical gesture for non-Catholics to receive communion. There were some bishops and priests who used to feel that way, but the Church has made the rules very clear in recent years that it is not appropriate. Having said that, the practice does occur, and people make mistakes. So long as it is a simple mistake, as it is here, it is not that big an issue. I'm sure the PM won't do it again)

    • Don't get me wrong, I don't think the PM would intentionally make a blunder like that. It would be nice if he personally came out and apologized for taking it though and stating that he ate it as soon as he put down his program.

  6. More to the point, in my view, this merely clarifies the Prime Minister's and Canada's New Government's problem; "Are you going to believe me, or your lying eyes?"

  7. Host commenter.

    I'd check with Harper's dry cleaner before reaching any conclusions.

  8. Wow – for a minute there I suspected the witness wanting a seat in senate (a little quid pro wafer as it were) then I realized Noel was the speaker -> ROFL – I have no idea of why iI find it funny but I do.

  9. I tend to believe the speaker on this.

    However, this part of his statement doesn't quite ring true with the video:

    "I would like to state that I personally witnessed Prime Minister Harper consume the host that was given to him by Archbishop André Richard. Sitting only a few seats behind him I had a full view of the proceedings and clearly saw the Prime Minister accept the host after Archbishop Richard offered it. The Prime Minister consumed it."

    The video clearly shows Harper walking out of the pew with the host sacrament either in his pocket or his hand, and clearly not yet consumed.

    • The video shows nothing of the kind. It cuts away from the PM a few seconds after he received the host. It does not show him walking away, sitting down, or doing anything you describe.

      • It cuts from a close-up of Harper to a shot further back that includes Harper, where he leaves the pew and sits down. There was maybe half a second as they changed cameras where he could theoretically have "consumed" it, if he has lightning-quick arms.

      • It shows him turning away from the altar rail holding his program in both hands. In which hand does he have the host?

    • "consumed" doesn't have to mean "ate". One could say by taking the host, he consumed it (used it, disposed of it, wasted it, whatever).

      Kinsella said he clearly saw Harper take it, that's all. I would not read anything further into this. If Kinsella had some knowledge about what Harper did with it and wanted to be clearer, he could have been.

  10. These non-statements like Kinsella's just make it worse. If they couldn't they find someone willing to say Harper stuck the thing in his mouth, then Harper should have just apologized right off for taking it in the first place and left it at that. It would have been unseemly to hound him about where it ended up after he apologized.

    • That isn't a non-statement by Kinsella. What part of "consumed the host" don't you think is clear?

    • That isn't a non-statement by Kinsella. What part of "consumed the host" don't you think is clear?

      • Also, if you're ignorant enough of the Mass to think the priest is just handing out snacks, why wouldn't you eat a wafer when it is given to you? Surely not religious scruple. He must have eaten it, it just doesn't make sense that he would put it in his pocket.

        • if you're ignorant enough . . . but Harper is the smartest man in the room, isn't he?

  11. He couldn't be clearer. Do you really think by "consumed", in the context of the statment, Sen. Kinsella meant "wasted it?" No, of course you don't. Why the pretense?

    • No pretense. I was struck by what Kinsella did not say after going to all the trouble of issuing a statement. He appears to be using consume and accept interchangeably. Of course Kinsella wants us to think he saw Harper put the wafer in his mouth, but he doesn't say that.

      Sitting only a few seats behind him I had a full view of the proceedings and clearly saw the Prime Minister accept the host after Archbishop Richard offered it. The Prime Minister consumed it.

      • What he said is completely clear. Do you want a description of how many times the PM chewed? This is a pretense on your part, nothing more.

  12. He who lives by stupid and meaningless attacks shall die from them. It is Harper and his band of bloodthirsty conbots who have banished civility in Ottawa and in its place have instituted mean spirited and mindless attacks as the norm. I was shocked as I was watching the funeral live that Harper took the Host at all. That being said, everyone makes mistakes. He has noone to blame but himself and his ruthless team who whip up half truths and try to pummel the oposition with them. He should shake off his current team of goons and try to really govern in the manner of a Prime Minister of arguably one of the greatest and most fortunate democracies on this planet.

    • Yeah, but on this one I think one runs the risk of using a sacred ritual for political gain.

      • I agree, but Harper's thugs brutalized Dion – they kicked him to the curb and then kicked him some more. They saw how well that worked and they got to work on more pre writ ads to misinform Canada about Iggy's intentions. They thrive on brutalizing the sacredness of humanity and integrity rather than debating actual issues. I would say that one is not more serious than the other. Perhaps I am overstating my point but the current gang of federal Conservatives make me feel physically ill with their tactics. Canadians should wake up and stop this Orwellian nightmare of a government! (okay – I know that I am over the top now!)

  13. Ulike the genteel politics that saw health rumours abound about Dief, or the constant mockery of Joe Clark, etc etc etc. Politics isn't, and never has been, a tea party. The pretence that it is any more "brutal" now than it was in the past is largely just that, a pretence put forth by those who are uncomfortable being on the losing side.

    (yes, you are over the top, but not much more than many of the government's critics, or Aaron Wherry for that matter.)

    • The fact that politics have never been a tea party does not justify thuggery. Pre – writ Rovian ad campaigns have never been a part of the Canadian game. (The Martin ads for Harper were questionable yes – but were nowhere near the level of this government's) Anyhow – this comment section is about the Prime Minister and a gaffe. He has thrown so much crap at his opponents, that he can't cry "unfair" about this minor slip up.

      • Hear hear on the thuggery. I like to think that in the past, however brutal it may have gotten, the brutality was in the service of some agenda; for the Harper Tories, it's more of a raison d'être.

        • What bothers me the most is that the Conservatives seem to think that they are being clever – that they have successfully gamed the system.

          My belief is that the Canadian political system wasn't meant to be stress-tested in this way. By now, it's gotten to the point where no one can put forward any policy at all for fear of being shredded by their rival's war room. It's as if everybody stopped obeying the traffic laws.

      • Bridget, Here is my problem with your argument concerning Dion and for the most part Iggy. Their own actions and words are being used against them. Dion was an incredibly weak leader and it was obvious from the own in-fighting in his own party as much as his in ability to read the public mood. As to Iggy, well its the same thing, it is his own words that they are using against him and the LPC should of seen this coming, it is no different then when Harper's own words and correspondence were successfully used to define him in the previous election before he became leader, i.e. comments abouts Atlantic Canada, the Alberta Firewall etc. The difference between the two situations now is the LPC was really good at getting the word out between elections utilizing the media, the CPC is still not good using the media, so they pay for ads. Right now the LPC has no ammo because ever they could use the helped bring about with their support of the CPC so now were talking about communion wafer, now if you want to be sad about something in Canadian politics, that is what you should be sad about.

  14. Kinsella was appointed to the Canadian Senate on the recommendation of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney on September 12, 1990, as a Senator for New Brunswick. He sat as a member of the Progressive Conservative Party caucus until 2004 when he joined most of the Tory caucus in becoming a Conservative Senator.

    ….interesting isn't it.

  15. Hmmmm…also interesting:

    The Honourable Noël Kinsella was Opposition Whip (1994 – 1999) and Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (1999 – October 1, 2004) when he became Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. On February 8, 2006, he was named Speaker of the Senate by the Governor General on the advice of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

  16. Pardon this bit of rational analysis, but he said he was BEHIND Harper. The video was in front of Harper, and it clearly shows NO consumption after the communion was given. Maybe later, who knows, but what he thinks he say CLEARLY didn't happen. Key word is BEHIND Harper, video FRONT.

    • Ah but you're forgetting the Prime Minister is noted for his transparency

      • Lol! Good one!

  17. So on this topic we have:

    * people who have suggested that Harper is unfit for office because of this.
    * people who believe the Speaker of the Senate may be lying about Harper consuming the host as a partisan favour for having appointed him speaker.
    * people for whom the speaker's statement isn't good enough and want video evidence that the wafer entered his mouth.

    Honestly…should we spend $20 million on a public inquiry to determine what happened to the host? Do we need Harper to provide a stool sample?

    And you guys think conservatives are partisan whack-jobs? A little look in the mirror would do you folks a world of good.

  18. Kinsella lied.

    • It seems odd to be responding to a fellow Anon, but — is it possible that we're not fully understanding the meaning of the word "consumed."

      To the Prime Minister, putting it in the pocket, and therefore, in the near vicinity of his stomach could constitute consumption.

      • I feel like I'm at the nexus of the universe

      • Sort of like a "technical" recession, if I'm following?

  19. people care about this?

  20. This is ridiculous; to say how wonderful it is that Harper expressed "Communion" with Catholics when he isn't in communion with us at all on matters of faith and morals is totally oxymoronic. What happened was a disgrace, both on the part of the PM who showed a complete lack of respect for the teaching of the Catholic Church and on the part of the priests present who displayed their own disregard for their Church.

    • Yes, this is the part that bothers me. IF you were a priest and you were presiding over a Mass at which you knew the Prime Minister was attending, wouldn't you, for curiosity's sake if nothing else, check on said Prime Minister's religion? If such common knowledge was unknown to you in the first place, which I also find a little hard to believe, what with your job and all (I know the Prime Minister isn't Catholic, and religion has nothing to do with my job–mind you, while I know he's Protestant, I don't know what particular kind.)

      It would have been a perfectly simple matter for the Priest to bless him without offering the Host, as is done all the time.

      • If I was the priest I would have thought all these above average intelligent people would be worldly enough to know better.

        Maybe this one, knowing Harper's reputation for pouting when things don't go his way, didn't wan't to broach the subject. Heck, he might have even started kicking some pews over (there being no chairs available).

        And, off the topic a bit, about Harper's penchant for kicking chairs . .. does anyone know his technique? If he used his toe, you would expect to see him get hurt, walk with a limp occasionally. Maybe he does the semi-stomp, raising his leg and bashing with the bottom of the foot. Or maybe he wears steel-toed shoes at all times, in order to be able to kick chairs whenever he urge stries him? I would really like to know.

  21. Either it's a slow news day, or Catholics are just far too sensitive.

    Hey guys, guess what, the rest of us don't know or understand all your wacky customs. Until today I didn't know it is a GRAVE OFFENSE to not eat the ChristCracker, either.

    • An I for an I.

      Looks like you dropped yours.

    • You don't speak for the rest of us.

    • I'm not Catholic but you should know that the host is considered to actually BE the body of Christ, as in the PM put Jesus in his pocket…..if you don't believe in transubstantiation than you shouldn't take communion…period….