Canadian democracy: Think of it as authoritarianism with manners. -

Canadian democracy: Think of it as authoritarianism with manners.


Can this (scroll down to No. 2) possibly be true? Can one really be tossed out of the Parliament Buildings for wearing a Greenpeace T-shirt? WTFF? (The first F is the adjective version of the second F.)

Talk about a policy that can’t withstand even the first of the myriad questions it raises. For instance: Who gets to decide what is considered “political or partisan?” Is my red tie a form of Liberal propaganda? Is my sweater vest an acrylic-based tribute to Stephen Harper? Is my moustache turning on Olivia Chow?

On the other hand, I suppose we want to preserve decorum. We wouldn’t want a few people in Amnesty International hoodies or Ayn Rand hot pants sullying the sacred non-partisan traditions of our elected representatives.

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Canadian democracy: Think of it as authoritarianism with manners.

  1. It seems it isn't new. From your own link:

    “No one is allowed to carry, or wear anything of political or partisan nature,” she said. “It is not new.” She noted, for example, that people wearing anti-abortion buttons have been asked to remove them to sit in the Commons gallery. The same, she says, applies to committees."

    So largely I guess it's a case of what's good for the goose is good for the gander. I wonder when this (unofficial?) rule came into effect. Was there an uproar about freedom of speech at the time? Is it an extension of the dress code?

  2. They'd never do this to the WWF – everyone loves pandas.…

    Now, if it was a WWF tshirt with the likeness of Hulk Hogan, all bets are off (Elsie Wayne used to have his likeness on a sweater, as I recall)

  3. Greenpeacers can't expect to storm the Parliament Buildings, hang an illegal sign out, embarass the RCMP and expect to welcomed with open arms. Throw the bums out.

    • Yeah, fine, but what if wearing one of their shirts helps get me laid?

      You see the intellectual predicament we're in.

      • Snap! The Tiger Woods Gambit….well played sir.

      • I'm not so sure wearing one of those shirts helps anyone get laid. If you wore it on Dayton Beach at spring break you'd have sand kicked in your face by a guy named Biff. If you wore it to a dance club you wouldn't get past the bouncer.

        • Maybe at a folk music festival. . . .

      • Scott you might still be get laid…. or maybe not, but you can prob get away with the shirt. I can definitely attest the enforcement of these rules is questionable at best as I have definitely dined in the Parliamentary Dining Lounge sans jacket.

  4. I was more gobsmacked by claim that staffers read Macleans comments and show them to Minister to illustrate what Canadians are saying outside of Ottawa. I agree that Macleans writers reflect mainstream opinion well but I have my doubts about us commentators.

    • But Critical Reasoning just enjoyed an unwitting audience with the Minister of National Defence.

      And, jwl, you might allow that of all the commenting arenas hosted by major mainstream media outlets in this country, Maclean's has the least nonsensical.

      • "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds"

        I am conflicted about this. I am populist, think people should be heard much more often, but I am also believer in Churchills's quip about the best argument against democracy is a few minute conversation with average voter.

        So I think it is great that Minster gets to hear Crit_Reasoning thoughts but I am also a bit disturbed that our Minister is taking advice from kermit.

        Tho I agree that Macleans has the least nonsensical comment section but that's only because I am here. :)

        • "but I am also a bit disturbed that our Minister is taking advice from kermit. "


          It could be worse. Imagine if he started taking the views of Arsenal fans to heart…

          (We already know he listens to musicians, like that Yo Mama guy…)

          • "Imagine if he started taking the views of Arsenal fans to heart…"

            No need to worry. No one ever listens to me but god help you all if that changes. :)

        • I think it is great that Minster gets to hear Crit_Reasoning thoughts but I am also a bit disturbed that our Minister is taking advice from kermit.

          Jolyon, direct access to cabinet ministers is one of the superpowers that Maclean's commenters acquire when they achieve a triple-digit reputation score. In AD&D parlance, I'm a Level 20 commenter who gets to cast "Summon Minister" spells.

          • That makes 4 regular commenters and at least 2 maclean's pundits that have admitted to having played D&D and made references during my time watching this site. It makes me feel like I belong. ;)

          • "direct access to cabinet ministers is one of the superpowers"

            Awesome, something for me to look forward to and for everyone else to quiver in fear.

            In all seriousness, it must have been shock/entertaining/flattering (???) to find out in Globe that Mackay is reading your opinions.

          • It was definitely a surprise. I know that staffers and Ottawa insiders often read the Maclean's blogs, but I had no idea that our humble blog comments are sometimes read by ministers. I certainly wouldn't want to be mistaken for a representative of public opinion, as Jack points out.

          • I'm a Level 20 commenter who gets to cast "Summon Minister" spells.

            Top hole, my Faustian friend. Now, what level confers the power to cast "Ministerial Competence" spells?

          • Heh. Level 30, I think… it's well beyond my powers.

          • Well, do something, qucik! Joylon is at 94!

  5. Ayn Rand hot pants? (Insert shudder here). Time to go get my weekend drunk on and try to forget that image!

  6. Congrats to Critical Reasoning! I for one am thrilled that the Minister and his staffers are paying attention to his comments — though it's rather strange to see him taken as representative of what the "average Canadian outside Ottawa" is thinking. If that were true, we'd be well into the new Golden Age already.

    • I'm assuming that you meant to refer to the Gilded Age ?

    • Thanks, Jack. From my lips to the minister's ears!

      (Well, technically, from my fingers to the minister's eyes).

      • congrats CR. Out of curiosity what do you think the take away the staffers were attempting to impart on McKay in sharing your comment?

        • Your guess is as good as mine! I was just making the point that a lot of the furore is politically motivated, and we need to take a step back and look at the big picture. There are thousands of human rights violations happening in Afghanistan every single day, and here were are myopically dissecting one such example from 2006, just because Canada might theoretically be tainted by it.

          • while i don't agree exactly on what we are doing, or why… you are definitely correct on the multitude of other abuses that are occurring. and that is important.

            I can't help but fear, given the the way the article portrays the transfer of your post to the minister's ears, as you say, that the take away message was to signal a diminished importance of this 'one case'.

  7. I suspect you are being ironical.

    • No, obtuse obscure obsequious.

      • Will you get an ID account already? Your objectionable obduracy obstupefies me.

        • Read the latest Colby. Btw, the irony about CR's populist "man on the street" comment was that, as I recall, this was his most negative score to date (at one time hitting -5 or -7 or lower, can't remeber – maybe the PMO officials boosted it back up to -3 before submitting it to the Taber).

          • Yeah, I'm not afraid to post the occasional unpopular comment that I know will be modded down to oblivion. It helps keep me on my toes.

            I'm gunning for the title of "most influential anonymous blog commenter".

          • I wouldn't count on it lasting. Steven Chase of the G&M is looking to out you – searching for a frog with toes.

  8. I have been wondering since I noticed your 101% rating how high ID thinks percentages go.