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The Commons: Our house of glass

“Mr. Speaker, H1N1 is not funny”


 

091028_bennettThe Scene. Shortly before Question Period began this afternoon, Jack Layton stood with something to say.

“Mr. Speaker, citizens appoint a member of this House to represent their values of cooperation and mutual respect,” he posited. “During Question Period we have been witnessing undeniably sexist heckling from members of the government side. This abuse is growing hotter, it is growing more frequent, and there is more bullying.”

For this, he was, of course, heckled and jeered.

“I can hear some of it now, except in this case it is not targeting women as it does all too often in this chamber. It targets women representing opposition parties, all the opposition parties in the House,” Mr. Layton continued. “Sexist bullying cannot be justified in Canada and can never be tolerated in our Parliament. As a parliamentarian, as a man, a father, a grandfather, I call on the government’s leadership to really get a grip on its members and set a higher standard.”

Members of all three opposition parties stood to applaud the NDP leader’s call. Government members sat impassively. Asked afterwards, Mr. Layton declined to specify any particular taunts of a particularly sexist nature.

His statement of concern comes a day after Carolyn Bennett, a rather forceful member of the Liberal side and a favourite target of Conservative members opposite, had been mocked and shouted at while trying to ask about the confusion some pregnant women are apparently expressing about vaccination programs for the H1N1 virus.

“This isn’t funny!” Ms. Bennett had yelled at her tormentors.

For sure, there is something to her contention. There isn’t that much funny about any of this, no matter how uproariously some members guffaw at the stylings of John Baird. But, of course, genuine and laudable wit is only part of what it is so sorely lacking.

A short while after Mr. Layton had made his plea, Michael Ignatieff stood, straight and narrow, to begin the formal inquiry.

Concern about H1N1 was widespread, he said, and the government has failed to properly communicate with Canadians. “The government spent $60 million to promote itself,” he said of the government’s concerted campaign to advertise all of the ways in which it has saved us from the economic ruin the Prime Minister assured us wasn’t a threat in the first place, “and a fraction of that to promote public health.”

There was yapping and grumbling from the other side.

Then, the question—and very nearly an actual query, rather than a lecture with a question mark at the end. “Can the Prime Minister,” Mr. Ignatieff asked, “explain why he made these choices?”

“Mr. Speaker, this government has spent over half a billion dollars on an information campaign about influenza A,” the Prime Minister reported, proceeding then to encourage everyone listening to get their shot.

(In fact, that half a billion figure includes the purchase of the vaccine. According to government figures, the Public Health Agency has spent $8.5-million to date on advertising related to H1N1.)

“Mr. Speaker, the question was about public information,” Mr. Ignatieff clarified with his second opportunity, proceeding to restate his hypothesis and question.

“Mr. Speaker, there is no contradiction in informing the public about the economic action plan and also informing them about H1N1,” Mr. Harper said, asserting apparently his ability to walk and chew gum simultaneously.

Back then to the events of the day before.

“Mr. Speaker, on the same subject, yesterday the member for St. Paul’s rose in this House and asked a serious question about H1N1. She was greeted with jeers and catcalls from the other side,” Mr. Ignatieff reminded. “Can the Prime Minister explain how this disgraceful scene occurred, and is he now prepared to apologize?”

The Liberal leader was jeered and catcalled as he spoke, then applauded by Liberals and NDP alike as he returned to his seat.

In response, the Prime Minister stood and implied, without specifics, an alternate version of events. “Mr. Speaker,” he said, “of course I did not see things that way myself and I was here.”

Such is politics perhaps, everyone seeing everything differently.

The Liberals turned then to Carolyn Bennett, the Conservatives hollering and laughing as she stood.

“Mr. Speaker, H1N1 is not funny,” she said. “Just ask any pregnant woman, confused and worried about her health and her future child.”

The rabble quieted slightly.

“In the United States there have been 700 cases of H1N1 in pregnant women. Of these, 100 pregnant women were admitted to the ICU and 28 have died,” she continued. “Why is the government forcing expectant women to make a choice between the risk of getting H1N1 in these next two weeks or taking a vaccine for which clinical trials are lacking?”

At the other end of the room, the Health Minister stood to offer a response. “Mr. Speaker, the Chief Public Health Officer and Chief Medical Officer of this country have both stated that both adjuvanted and unadjuvanted vaccines are safe for pregnant women,” Leona Aglukkaq clarified. “Second, Canada’s obstetricians and gynecologists also say that they are safe and available to Canadian pregnant women. We take the advice very seriously of the Chief Medical Officer, and I think the opposition should as well.”

Back to Bennett. “Mr. Speaker, this is about putting patients first, not politics,” she said.

“Ohhh!” cried the Conservatives. The yapping returned.

“We need clarity and unambiguous messages,” Bennett said. “Why has the government only delivered confusion?”

As the Health Minister accounted for the government’s efforts, Gary Goodyear freestyled his own response.

“You’re the only one confused, Carolyn,” he said.

The rest of the hour followed suit. Mr. Baird made a funny about the Premier of Ontario. Various Liberals loudly congratulated Industry Minister Tony Clement for the sidewalk in his riding that has won federal funding.

After Question Period there was a discussion of who precisely was to blame for the tone and tenor of the House. Olivia Chow of the NDP pointed to the Conservatives. Conservative Dean Del Mastro argued the NDP were just as objectionable. If, in your youth, you ever tussled with a sibling, you will recall having had this same discussion when your mother or father inquired as to who precisely could be said to have started it.

Ms. Chow lamented that the young people who often visit the House on school field trips would be present to witness such spectacle. But on this she perhaps had it backwards. Indeed, it should perhaps serve as inspiration to the next generation to see how easily, and with such little effort, they should be able to surpass this one.

The Stats. Ethics, eight questions. Pensions, seven questions. H1N1, five questions. The environment, four questions. Government advertising, foreign affairs, crime, trade and employment, two questions each. The gun registry, Iran, Afghanistan and fisheries, one question each.

Stephen Harper and John Baird, eight answers each. Jim Flaherty, four answers. Deepak Obhrai, Leona Aglukkaq, Tony Clement, Jim Prentice and Lawrence Cannon, two answers each. Jay Hill, Lisa Raitt, Peter Van Loan, Rob Nicholson, Gail Shea and Daniel Petit, one answer each.


 

The Commons: Our house of glass

  1. Much as I dislike Layton's propensity to overdue the gravitas on occasion, I have to give him credit for his statement today condemning the actions of the Harper party against a Liberal MP. Well done, Jack.

  2. I'm finally going to write what I have been avoiding saying straight out: the Copnservative MPs are a bunch of pigs.

    • All members of parliament who hoot and holler, insult and jeer in the house of commons (intentially no caps) are pigs. Lets not just call the conservatives pigs. The whole process stinks and makes me discount any politcian as a loser. I rather they swear than use this type of intimindation. They truly are the scum of the earth.

      • But it isn't every Member of Parliament doing this, and when you "discount any politician as a loser" you are just letting the perpetrators off the hook. What incentive is there for an MP to be more circumspect if people like you are going to just lump them into the same category as Dean del Mastro?

        • Carolyn Bennett is an idiot. it must be tough not to mock her.

  3. “We need clarity and unambiguous messages,” Bennett said. “Why has the government only delivered confusion?”

    And what is the allegedly confusing ambiguous message of which the Health Minister is guilty? This: “Mr. Speaker, the Chief Public Health Officer and Chief Medical Officer of this country have both stated that both adjuvanted and unadjuvanted vaccines are safe for pregnant women. Second, Canada's obstetricians and gynecologists also say that they are safe and available to Canadian pregnant women. We take the advice very seriously of the Chief Medical Officer, and I think the opposition should as well.” Both vaccines are safe. To Dr. Bennett, this is confusing as all get-out.

    This is what bugs me about the follow-up question. So often, it matters little whether the govt answered the question or not (although, in fairness, it so often does not). The partisan insult is the de rigeur preamble.

    A pox on all of 'em.

    • Well, I guess the Government doesn't need to spend 8 million dollars on an H1N1 information campaign. They can just communicate what the pubic needs to know during QP. That is, if the Opposition asks the right questions and the Conservatives can hear them while their oinking and snorting like the pigs they are.

      • What is a shame is that the correct answer is: "Mr. Speaker, the provinces are responsible for informing their citizens on obtaining the vaccine, since the provinces are responsible for delivering it. Ottawa will not be placing a card in each mailbox telling Canadian families which shopping mall or shuttered car dealership to go to for the special vaccine clinic, or when, because Ottawa just isn't setting that part up. If the Honourable Member is confused about the vaccine, she should take that up with her provincial government. We've delivered the vaccine in sufficient quantities to the provinces. I wonder if there are any questions that actually pertain to our role, Mr. Speaker. If so, I would love to hear them."

        • Ottawa will not be placing a card in each mailbox telling Canadian families which shopping mall or shuttered car dealership to go to for the special vaccine clinic…

          Why not? They manage to shove at least two ten-percenters a week in my mailbox.

        • I agree with you mostly. Where's the money coming from?

          • I am not sure what "money" you mean, here.

          • The money the provinces are suposed to spend to educate and inform Canadians about the federal supply of H1N1 vaccines and the federal vaccination program?

        • If that's so, why did I receive a brochure yesterday in the mail from "Government of Canada" on H1N1? It was not well done either.

          • Well, we can expect the federal H1N1 information campaign to be almost eight times less effective than the Action Plan campaign.

        • Matters of Public Health, particularly related to a pandemic (which is international in nature, remember) falls under the jurisdiction of the Feds also.

          I second the notion about the 10 percenters, and would like to add that the number of Re-Election Action Plan signs beside vacant brownfield lots in my riding is growing.

          • But Michael, the vaccine is now in the hands of the provinces for administration to the public. Ottawa ought not to say too much about thevaccine beyond “Get it!” From: notifications@intensedebatemail.comTo: bobbarne@hotmail.comSubject: Michael replied to your comment on The Commons: Our house of glass

          • myl – edit or delete your posts if you're looking to keep your email private…

          • But Michael, the vaccine is now in the hands of the provinces for administration to the public. Ottawa ought not to say too much about thevaccine beyond “Get it!” From: notifications@intensedebatemail.comTo: bobbarne@hotmail.comSubject: Michael replied to your comment on The Commons: Our house of glass

  4. The inability for the Prime Minister of Canada to dismiss the conduct of his bobbleheads and the content of what Carolyn Bennett tried to articulate (which I thought was awkward) it still resonates with women.

    To defend the entire partisanship with "I have balls" and his omission he didn't see it that way will undermine the Billy Shears moment with women.

    Grumpy old men go ballistic – until you can repeal a woman's right to vote you go right ahead and rage.

    • Now Bonnie, it was not the gov`t that went ballistic—-the PM and Health Minister seemed to be very calm and truthful in their responses—-Ms. Bennett, on the other hand…….

      Also, it appears that most of us who choose to defend the gov`t approach to Bennett`s accusations use respectful language in reference to her and her colleagues. It is you and Holly and For. who use the nasty language—bunch of pigs, snorting, oinking, bobbleheads, ballistic and balls. Which group will this language appeal to ?

  5. I get it that the idea is to portray Ms. Bennett as some kind of mother earth figure but I don`t think the Libs could have come up with a more inappropriate choice to lead their latest mudsling. She just doesn`t come across as a sweet nurturing type—-she can`t help it—she is what she is. The gov`t Health Ministry seem to be very calm and optimistic that the vaccines will be available as Canadians want them. In contrast Bennett goes into hysterics while talking about a pregnant friend of hers who is confused after speaking to her and 6 other doctors—-that would confuse anyone.

    • The only ones who went into hysterics were the Conservative MP pigs. Bennett was acting like a grownup. The piggywiggys belong back in a sty.

    • Seems your CON-coloured glasses can't make out which side is which. If it oinks and squeals, it's most covered in mud. That was the action from the government side. Defend it if you will, but alongside already documented disgusting displays — jokes about food poisoning, wistful musing about a death as 'hopefully it was an opposition member', calling cancer 'sexy' as pertaining to a career move — you are among the unwashed, billy boy. Your mother, your grandmother and all your forebearers would be greatly amused, no doubt.

      • If you have a specific disagreement with what has been said you should state it—-good argumentative remarks can be taken seriously—name-calling and hysterical slurs will be regarded as just silly.

        Ms. Bennett would like to be taken seriously—-she would like to be minister of Health. After watching her for the past while, do you think Canadians would be reassured to have her there—-doubt that.

  6. I’m a woman and am not offended in the least with the government. The Conservatives were not lauging at Bennett’s questions, they were laughing at her. She comes across as crazy. Her frothing at the mouth questions are ridiculous. If she just asked a question without screaming and being hysterical, then she would get the respect she deserves. From what I’ve seen during question period, she, Mark Holland, and Marlene Jennings are the worst offenders when it comes to poor manners and decorum.

    If anybody is not aware of H1N1 and the immunization program, then they are stupid. The information is everywhere.

    • You're not a woman are you? A REAL WOMEN robot perhaps. But your BS about frothing at the mouth etc sounds more like fratboy sexism. Whattsamatta, you scared of a woman who is smarter than you?

      • You related to Caroline Bennett, Holly?

        • When there's no defence for such boorish acts – stupid responses like this.

    • She comes across as crazy. Her frothing at the mouth questions are ridiculous. If she just asked a question without screaming and being hysterical, then she would get the respect she deserves.

      Woman is shrew to woman. At least that's bit better than a commenter in a previous thread who drew out her claws and raked them across Ms. Bennett's face, accusing of her being a sloven, rage-filled drunk.

    • If anybody is not aware of H1N1 and the immunization program, then they are stupid.

      Conservative civility, ladies and gentlemen. Don't you just love it?

      • It's pervasive from Harper down to the rightwing bloggers. I agree totally with Bennet; they are sociopaths.

        • And I agree with the First Nations Grand Chief,
          Liberals are using the H1N1 to try to score politcal points.

          Caroline Bennet, walk on down that hill….

  7. "If, in your youth, you ever tussled with a sibling, you will recall having had this same discussion when your mother or father inquired as to who precisely could be said to have started it."

    That does it; somebody call up Lizzie to have her come down and shout "I don't care who started it!"

    • Both sides are at fault. However, I can't get the bizarre image out of my mind of Lizzie May being the one to come and ask the kiddies to behave themselves. What a laugh!

      • Um … I think Edward meant the Buckingham Palace Lizzie, Two Yen.

  8. There has been a terrific amount of cooperation and information from the Dept of Health. Weekly mtgs., consultation with opposition parties, working closely with the medical community. Really, how much more could the gov't have done? The Minister has worked incredibly hard in an effort to stem this H1Nl threat. We are much more prepared than the U.S., for instance. I do find that Carolyn Bennett is shrill and 'over-the-top'. Remember, it was she who bellowed 'appalling' during Question Period at the Minister of Health so loud that we heard it on TV. It seems that she is trying to create the very confusion that she speaks (rants) about.

    We see what the gov't has done. They have a fine line to walk between creating cofidence and panic. I do think that the Liberals, through, Carolyn Bennett, is politicising this issue. I'm so thankful that we have the present Minister of Health… always calm and hard-working. She never says anything without being very sure of what she says… she doesn't just spout off. I wonder if that could be said if Ms. Bennett were the Minister of Health.

    P.S. I feel very sad tonight… my cousin's boy was killed in Afghanistan today.

    • P.S. I feel very sad tonight… my cousin's boy was killed in Afghanistan today.

      Condolences Bettie.

    • Condolences also.

      On the other part, how you can separate one side for politicizing is amazing. But in the end, if you are using that as an excuse for mocking, howling and deriding someone trying to ask a serious question on a health issue, i wonder where your head's at. Quips and barbs are one thing, but derisive bullying and mockery on an issue as this is beyond the pale, if you ask me.

    • Bettie, my deepest sympathies to your family.

  9. why are women going against women? ''That's like the first rule of feminism'' – as Elle Woods would have said it

    • Women are their own worst enemies

  10. Foreigner, a half hour ago: the Conservatives… oinking and snorting like the pigs they are.

    Foreigner, about five minutes ago: Conservative civility, ladies and gentlemen. Don't you just love it?

    • If they hadn't behaved like pigs, I wouldn't have called them pigs.

      Meanwhile, "Barb" calls people who may not be getting accurate information "stupid."

      • Foreigner,

        the arbiter of all things porcine. behaviour, swine flu, best pork chops in the city where or where does it end?

    • So you would deplore it if someone supported the insulting of an MP by saying: “of course I did not see things that way myself and I was here.”

      Of course, Harper didn't really say that, he oinked it.

  11. I thought she stomped on a Bush doll and got herself thrown out of the Liberal Party years ago. Or is that another Carolyn?

    • You mean Bush the War criminal? Bush the Torturer? Bush the Economy Destroyer?

      • yah, the Bush that Michael Ignatieff stood up for. The Iraq war and use of torture that Michael Ignatieff stood up for.
        That War criminal.

        • yah, the Bush that Stephen Harper stood up for. The Iraq war and use of torture that Stephen Harper stood up for.
          That War criminal.

          • The Bush that Harper still stands up for by copying his economic and foreign policy. The so-called leader who has yet to give a true follow-up response as to why he supported a war (I guess he hasn't thought about using the ol 'John Howard made me do it!' response) or provided a rational climb-down like others. While he tried to pawn off a "people change, ideas mature" theory during one election, he has yet to tie that to any of his own actions other than for instanteous political gains.

    • That was Carolyn Parrish. She had a Mississauga riding, but didn't run for re-election in … 2004? (maybe in 2006). Wajid Khan came in after her. Carolyn Bennett is the MP for St. Paul's in Toronto. She is a doctor, was health minister, and ran for the leadership in 2006/7, but won little support.

      • clearly the Liberals are sexist for not giving her more support.

  12. This is one of your best accounts, Wherry. I repeat my insistence that these be collected and published in due course.

  13. Liberals politicizing the H1N1 flu,
    no Caroline, it's not funny.
    Calling Mr Donolo to the OLO office.

    Grand chief accuses Liberals of using body-bag debacle for political gain
    October 28, 2009
    Joanna Smith
    OTTAWA BUREAU

    …Evans held up a black-and-white..
    photocopy of a pamphlet distributed by the Liberal Party of Canada with the headline "No vaccines, just body bags…
    Evans said he was offended by the pamphlet, which includes photos of the body bags and a crying child, because it was politicizing an issue he thought should be non-partisan…

    Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett, whose name is on the pamphlet, apologized for causing offence

    Conservative MP Colin Carrie called on Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff to apologize to First Nations in the House of Commons.

    Bennett told reporters she would do so…

    http://www.healthzone.ca/health/newsfeatures/swin

  14. I sent an earlier message to Bonnie but it got lost in the wall somewhere—-the life lesson that Ms. Bennett needs to learn is the same one many of you should learn. How can Bennett be taken seriously if she continues to act as she does. The folks above who choose to defend the gov`t actions against the Bennett accusations use on the most part respectful language and much like Bennett, some of you like Holly, For. and Bonnie seem to be screaming out such words as —bunch of pigs, snorting, oinking, bobbleheads, balls, and of course sociopaths. So calm down, remember angry people never win arguments.

    • We're not elected officials.

      • Unlike the oinking, snorting conservative MPs.

        • Calm down Carolyn.

  15. Bennett is the Baird of the Liberal party. Reap/sow.

    I don't see any confusion in the governments messaging: the shot has been made available to the provinces. Get it. Everyone.

    Any confusion stems from everyone and his uncle having an opinion on this. But what can the government do? Enforce a gag order on all citizens not to discuss this? Perhaps the government could have done things differently to ensure that both versions were available at once. And they probably should have a back-up source. But none of this has to do with their messaging, which makes it just a weird tactic for the Liberals to pick up on.

    • Get your oinking leader to be on camera when he gets his shot. Maybe that will sell more timbits in Mississauga. As far as weird tactics go, the litany of twists coming from the CON team is enough to drive many a sane soul into rabblerousing.

  16. My niece, grade 11, came home today,
    said now she is scared to get the vaccination tomorrow.
    The entire social study class was spent talking about H1N1,
    many parents will not allow their kids the shot, because their moms are worried the vaccine will kill them.. her words, and true story!

    The teacher even showed a film of some girl that got a vaccination and ended up with some form of paralysis.

    I will be speaking with said teacher tomorrow, but hell, even healthcare providers are refusing to get the shot!

    So it's TOO MUCH INFORMATION from too many conflicting sources that is confusing people.

    • Sure that happened…

  17. I wonder what porcine behaviour the Conservatives will exhibit tomorrow.

  18. Next QP see the Conservative MP's mothers in the stand; soap bar in on hand and rosary in the other.

    • Guess its just a result of too many wafers being pocketed…

  19. Another attempt to simply manufacture a "scandal!!" out of whole cloth,

    check that, not whole cloth, only part cloth,

    the other part comes from a base willingness to exploit an flu outbreak and the very legitimate fears of Canadians.

    Melodramtic victimhood and faux outrage are never good replacements for facts.

    If the statement that the Feds have delivered sufficient quantities of vaccines to the Province is a falsehood, get on with the facts of showing it.

    I suspect we'll have more self pitying tears instead.

  20. I think the bigger story here is that it is clear the Liberals are losing women voters – or at least that was where Harper's breakthrough was. The pink book, the Iggy hug, Hagen Dasz on 22 minutes and this attempt to incite a gendered backlash all fit into that general story. I suspect, like the McCain campaign's attempt to make "lipstick on a pig" an issue, it will flop. Incidentally, this is bad for female politicians – not the heckling, but the underlying theme that women are wilting flowers who cannot be heckled.

  21. So, Wherry, I assume this is your covering letter and resume for the position of Director of Communications in the OLO?

    Before holding Carolyn Bennett up as some sort of Mother Teresa, you might want to, you know, report that she had to apologize for basically accusing the government of wanting natives to die from H1N1 in her ten percenters.

    Trying to spin this into some sort of sexism debate is ridiculous. She can dish it out, so she should be able to take it. And as far as I've heard, no one has accused her of cheerleading for the deaths of Canadians, as she has accused the government. What's worse? Laughing at someone getting whipped into a lather in the House of Commons, or sending printed materials into native communities telling them that the government hopes they die?

    • Wherry isn't the one spinning this into some sort of sexism debate.

      Do you have any direct quotes from those printed materials you allege were sent into native communities telling them that the government hopes they die?

      • If you want a copy of the flyer you'll prolly have to contact the Liberals or Dr. Bennett directly.

        But here's the news story.

        OTTAWA — Liberal MPs apologized Wednesday for distributing a household flyer that attacks the government's handling of H1N1 among aboriginals with the slogan “No vaccines, just body bags.”

        The flyer, mailed as a message from Liberal health critic Dr. Carolyn Bennett, features a picture of body bags in a lab and a sick aboriginal child.

        Bennett apologized, saying her party's intentions were honourable.

        http://www.winnipegsun.com/news/canada/2009/10/28

        • I hope Donolo puts a stop to this crap. What the hell happened to the Ignatieff of a few months back? Asking civil questions in the house and trying to take the high road – this was his strength for god's sake! i know he only received insults and generally got crapped on by the Tories, but it was working – or would have given time. That was a bad error. Who the hell gave hm that advise? Acting like junkyard dogs is just playing into the Tories hands. Why on earth do anything to help Harper look statesman like. Rank amateurs! When did the liberals become such rank amateurs?

          • Look where it got him. The CONs just ramp up their level of degrading crap followed by their imbecility repeaters (see the cheap 'reap/sow' crap above) and the media hum and haw and fawn over Pianoman. If it comes down to going down in flames via the high road, is it worth it when you are handing cart blanche to this howling oinking zoo of a party?

          • …."Why on earth do anything to help Harper look statesman like. Rank amateurs! When did the liberals become such rank amateurs? "

            Oh, I don't know. Perhaps when they asked someone called Warren to handle their dirty tricks campaign?

          • If you see the poll in the star, you will knew what has happned to him I am full of glee when reading said poll.

        • Absolutely unbelievable and disgusting.
          These mailers should be vetted by someone with a little common sense before they're sent out.
          I withdraw my earlier characterization of a Bennett as competent and articulate.

    • You beat me to it Emisar

      Come on Aaron…this is disgraceful. Where the hell are you on this? I can't even begin to imagine how much attention you would be paying to this if it was a Conservative who produced a flyer like this.

      Give your head a shake. You're either interested in decorum and decency in politics, or you're not, and you're just using it as one of many clubs that you have to beat the Conservatives with whenever it suits you, while ignoring worse behaviour from the Liberals. Make up your mind and let us know.

      • Aaron's post is about the swinish behaviour of the Conservative MPs while Caroline Bennett was asking a serious question about H1N1. Swine flu indeed, it totally belongs to the Conservatives who are so amused when Canadians die because of stupid Conservative decisions. (see also listeriosis)

        So don't bother tryinbg to change the subject.

        • you and Carloyn deserve each other. go piss off in your socialist/feminist whining universe and leave us alone.

          • Keep on oinking mike. Who are you really, Baird?

  22. When Carolyn Bennett spoke of pregnant women I honestly thought I heard government backbenchers tittering like school boys unaccustomed to hearing such things. Would "great with child" have been understood without giggles boys?

  23. When one looks beyond the stupidity that occurred in the House against Dr. Bennett, you can see the larger picture. If one were to check out the blogs on CBC, CTV, the G&M, and just about every other national news outlet (not to mention some of the completely asinine editorials and columns I've been reading as of late), you will notice that not only are the Cons setting the tone for the House, they're setting the tone for the rest of this beautiful country. The antics in the House are but a symptom of a disease that is spreading faster and more voraciously than the H1N1 virus itself.

    • And Harper supports it and makes no effort whatsoever to restore decency and decorum.

  24. Having waied in with my 2 kids from 4 to 9 last night and not having yet received the vaccine, we go back today, I can tell you first hand that the government doesnt need to do any more encouragement to get your shot.

  25. Norman Spector says it well in today's Globe:

    "An inveterate heckler herself, she (Bennett) claims now not to be playing politics, but it's been hard for some time not to see the look of contempt bordering on hatred that, no matter what the issue, invariably appears on her face when she rises in the Commons to ask a question of the mild-mannered Aglukkaq."

    • Aglukkaq has handled herself admirably over the past few months. I wonder how Lisa Raitt feels about that?

    • This is the same Norman Spector who called Belinda Stronach "b*tch" over the public airwaves. is it not?

    • Is this the same Norman Spector who had failed to see that the Bear Head project was ongoing? He must have changed his glasses now that he can see so clearly.

  26. who knew civility would prove to be such a wedge issue?

  27. It's nonsense to try and lay all of the blame on the Conservatives. This kind of behaviour has persisted in Question Period as long as I've been alive (52 years), no matter which parties were on which side of the house. The NDP like to portray themselves as walking the high road, but who was it that was behind the unruly protesters of a couple of days ago?
    If the NDP were truly interested in the truth, they would admit their culpability.
    The Liberals, of course, have no moral high ground to stand on. Their revered Pierre Trudeau flipped the middle finger to Western Canadian farmers, used the F-word in the house, and suspended civil rights in Oct 1970. The Liberal rat-pack disrespected all conventions in their attacks on Mulroney. Chretien's group of thugs showed no respect for the opposition while robbing the public purse. Holdover Warren Kinsella has the most vile acid tongue of any partisan I've ever seen.
    No, let's not lay it all on the current Conservatives.

    • Nice bit of moral relativism Fred. You start out with the perfectly reasonable argument that all sides are guilty of poor behaviour, and then proceed to undermine it with a rant about liberal sins. By the way – small point – the proclaiming the war measures act whlie regrettable was perfectly legal and supported by the overwhelming majority of Canadians ; Trudeau flipped the bird at protesters in Salmon arm from off the train. Not defending it, but context is nice. You may still be right though…there probably were one or two farmers in the crowd.

    • Perhaps not. But we can certainly lay the current tone on them. Especially because their primary campaign promise in 2006 was that things were going to be different.

  28. You are right. of course Those of us who are not monarchists somehow don't have "that Lizzie" come to mind on a regular basis. Lizzie May, who sits in the balcony during QP, had been running around the cooridors the day before telling evderyone to be nice to the activists. That's why her image immediately jumped into my mind. Believe me. I'd rather have the Queen's image jump into my mind any day than that of Lizzie May.

  29. Well done Aaron – you've got the PMO trolls out in force with this one.
    Smells like the Prime Minister's philosophy all the way down the line. Never apologize for bad behaviour. Oink back – and misdirect!
    Peter Van Loan is the ultimate player at this – but Baird and Poilievre are right behind there.

  30. Oh – and I forgot to give credit where it's due to Jarrid and MadeyouLook and William – right up there with Poilievre.

  31. The way the Conservative acted during Bennett's question was inappropriate, but sexist? What? Let me guess, if she were black the Conservatives' heckling would also be considered racist, yes?

    Layton is being disingenuous, and Ignatieff is content to let him do so as long as it gives the Liberals more ammunition. Wherry too, apparently.

    A little honesty would go a long way.

  32. I enjoy watching the literacy challenged Con backbenchers trying to read the Member's Statements prepared for them by the PMO. Whether it's a reading disablilty that plagues the backbench, or lack of rehearsal, or just shame at being led around like sheep, the stumbling diatribes against Michael Ignatieff are sometimes hilarious and worth watching for the 15 minutes before Question Period.

  33. The last statement is the ONLY true staement in the entire discourse – the only confusion is is carolyn's – she needs to smile once in awhile the fake outrage is starting to look like it may become permanent someone should tell her!

  34. "This is the same Norman Spector who" – 1 hour ago

    "Is this the same Norman Spector who" – 22 minutes ago

    Way to mix it up there fellas…

  35. I still recall, quite vividly how Elsie Wayne was treated, as was Deb Grey.I believe deb was tuned with pig like noises. Bennett is a crab!

  36. This bit from Olivia Chow about schoolchildren visiting the House …
    I have, on a number of occasions, taken political science students from a US university to Victoria, where we have visited the BC legislature and sat in the gallery for Question Period.
    Most of them love it, they don't find it appalling at all, and wish our system had something similar. They also recognize it for what it is – a daily piece of theatre that if used correctly, can put pressure on a Government. Nothing more, nothing less.

  37. "Asked afterwards, Mr. Layton declined to specify any particular taunts of a particularly sexist nature."

    Well, I'm convinced.

  38. Amen, Mr. Layton, amen.

    H1N1 is a serious matter, especially for people with immune deficiencies, such as members of my household, one of whom has already contracted H1N1. Apparently, we have 1 million vaccines stockpiled and ready to go. Great, but as Rick Mercer put it, "There are 35 million people in Canada. Does that mean I have to strangle 35 others on my way to the clinic?" We tried to attend one of the high-risk clinics, but were not deemed "high-risk enough". Which is great, except for the fact that the member of my household who was looking for the shot because their immune system barely functions, now has H1N1.
    So much for "We are ready to combat a pandemic in Canada".

  39. Bennett heckled and Layton heckled.

    Why is it only sexist when Bennett gets heckled? Or is sexist to suggest that one is different from the other?

  40. Typically there is no mention in the piece of the request for apology from MP Carolyn Bennet for a Liberal pamphlet bearing her name which included a photo of a crying aboriginal child and a body bag under a heading “No vaccines, just body bags”. The apology was requested by Grand Chief Ron Evans of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs who objected to the exploitation of aborigal children for political gain.

  41. At the end of the day, the Conservatives have little respect for women. They want to control their bodies (abortion laws) and are NOT providing clear information about H1N1 for any group. THE reason why the Cons will never get my vote.

  42. Lets make a review of some of the recent political digs made against the Cons.

    -body bag scandal. Liberals agressively and very wrongly argue that the racist Conservatives representative of WASP Canada are marginalizing Aboriginals

    -Wherry's knock on Harper as having English as his first language when he answers a question in French but switches to English to put a colloquial cap on it. The narrative is that the ASP Conservative government's linguistic heratige is unrepresentative of Quebec and French Canadians.

    -H1N1, see these comments. Good old boy Tories misyogyny is actively marginalizing and damaging Canadian women. Just when it's believed Harper's finally having some real success in attracting more women voters!

    It's the politics of division, full steam ahead.

  43. The opposition parties seem to be in league with the vacination conspiracy theorists in trying to create confusion.

    … the Health Minister stood to offer a response. “Mr. Speaker, the Chief Public Health Officer and Chief Medical Officer of this country have both stated that both adjuvanted and unadjuvanted vaccines are safe for pregnant women,”

    Where is there confusion about whether or not pregnant women should get vaccinated?

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