It's all in the timing (II)

Glen Pearson on another moment from yesterday, this one just before Question Period.

Today’s developments almost bordered on irreverence. Prior to Ignatieff giving his statement, another Conservative clone rose in the House to speak of his unsuitability for leadership. Then, to everyone’s surprise, the Liberal leader got up and delivered a deeply reflective statement on the death of the three Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan yesterday. The House grew silent, not just because of the subject because of Ignatieff’s beautiful phrasing and heartfelt delivery. He reminded all of us that it was we who sent these soldiers to war. He spoke of the deep despondency and the burden faced by the soldiers’ families and that such a load should never be faced by them alone, but also by those very politicians who sent the soldiers in harms way. Put simply, it was a beautiful tribute and received the standing ovation it deserved.

Not sooner had Ignatieff sat down that another Conservative stood up for the last statement before QP and unleashed his torrent at the Liberal leader. To people of finer senses it was jarring. I know that Conservative. He’s a decent man and wants to help others. But he was told to get up and read a speech written by someone else. The entire House just wanted him to sit down and be quiet. His intervention was highly unsuitable and out if place. During one of our finer moments in the House, a man permitted himself to become a patsy for the party and demeaned a meaningful moment and the soldiers’ memory in the process.

For the record, here’s that exchange.

Mr. Michael Ignatieff (Etobicoke—Lakeshore, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I rise in sorrow to salute the bravery and devotion to Canada of the three soldiers who died in Afghanistan yesterday. Dennis Raymond Brown, Dany Olivier Fortin and Kenneth Chad O’Quinn gave their lives to protect fellow soldiers and Afghan civilians. They had defused one roadside bomb when their lives were claimed by another.

We in the House bear the burden of sending these soldiers to do their duty, so we must share the burden of sorrow now falling upon their families. We honour these families and we grieve with them in their hour of desolation. Our soldiers in Afghanistan must know that in our respect for their courage and dedication, all divisions in this House are stilled and we rise in common tribute.

Mr. James Bezan (Selkirk—Interlake, CPC): Mr. Speaker, recently on VOCM Radio in Newfoundland and Labrador, Liberal Senator George Baker said, “The day is coming”. He was referring to the day that would see the creation of the Bloc Newfoundland and Labrador party. He even went on to say the party would run in the next election.

With the most senior Liberal parliamentarian advocating for the creation of the Bloc Newfoundland and Labrador party, it is clear that the Liberal leader tolerates these views in the Liberal Party. The Liberals were willing to make a deal that would see the Bloc Québécois have a seat at the governing table and now their most senior parliamentarian is advocating for the creation of a Bloc Newfoundland and Labrador party modelled after the separatist Bloc Québécois.

It is clear. The Conservative Party is the party of national unity; the Liberal Party is not.




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