Thomas Mulcair in flight

Addressing the House on the situation in Iraq

Sean Kilpatrick/CP Images

Sean Kilpatrick/CP Images

As part of our coverage building up to this year’s Parliamentarian of the Year Awards, John Geddes has a good look at the state of debate in the House and there is much that might be debated therein. There’s also something to be said for simply expecting the House to be a forum where speeches are given by the major players in our political game.

On that note, a note about this week’s emergency debate in the House on the situation in Iraq. The New Democrats have been quite happy to note that their guy was there—neither the Prime Minister, the defence minister, the foreign affairs minister or Justin Trudeau took part—and, on the night of the debate, there were various tweets about what a fine speech he gave. (I didn’t watch it live and only saw it last night after the party uploaded his full address to YouTube.) It’s worth a watch.

You can follow along with Hansard here. One might quibble with Mulcair’s view on Parliament’s right to vote on military deployments—here is Phil Lagasse’s latest contribution to that debate—or with any of his other arguments on this issue, but it’s at least an interesting 25 minutes of speechifying and debate, including some rather fun back and forth between Mulcair and his critics from the red and blue teams. (Chris Alexander might be more careful about claiming an opposition leader has just made a historically unserious speech on a matter of international security, so long as this is on the official record.)

It’s not all brilliance and light, but it’s at least our primary forum being used as a primary forum—in this case, to debate to what degree that forum should be able to pass judgment on the deployment of our national forces. And that’s a basically good thing.