Here's your problem - Macleans.ca

Here’s your problem

Never mind civility, first free the backbench MP

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An exchange between Conservative MP Harold Albrecht and Minister of State Ted Menzies from this morning’s QP.

There are at two problems here.

First, the Speaker—in this case, Deputy Speaker Joe Comartin—should have interjected to rule the question out of order. It has nothing to do with the administrative responsibility of government. (It doesn’t even pretend to have anything to do with the administrative responsibility of government. I argued on Tuesday that the moment Mr. Albrecht starts talking about the NDP, the Speaker should intervene. But even if you think it is somehow too overbearing to interject based on the preamble of a question, even the actual question here isn’t about government business—it’s about NDP policy, or at least the version of NDP that Mr. Albrecht has been sent up to read.)

Second, shouldn’t Harold Albrecht have something better to do? Mr. Albrecht is a backbench MP. He could be asking about something to do with his riding. He could be conveying a concern that has been raised with him by his constituents. He could be asking the government to account for something that he is curious about. He could be expressing a concern he has about the government’s actions in some regard. He could be anywhere else doing just about anything other than this. Mr. Albrecht is a former school board trustee, pastor and dentist who has contributed to relief efforts in Honduras, Venezuela, Colombia, Zambia, Nepal, India and the Dominican Republic. He has won three elections in Kitchener-Conestoga. He owns a hobby farm. He is wearing a suit. Why would we ever want such an adult, as part of their duty as an elected representative of their fellow citizens, to stand in the House of Commons, home to the 308 individuals elected to serve and represent us, and read such stuff into the record?

We shouldn’t (as, again, I wrote on Tuesday). Free Harold Albrecht, I say.