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Comparative Canada-U.S. Juvenile Politics

November 10, 2009

Oslo baby statue tantrum

Politicians - a bunch of children? Photo taken of Vigelandsparken tantrum statue in Oslo by Flickr user 'BabyDinosaur'.

The governing Conservative Party has recently taken some heat for juvenile behavior in Parliament, particularly when it comes to women speaking in the House.  The touchstone for this controversy was the Conservatives heckling and shouting down Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett’s question about how swine flu vaccination impacted women.  The media took notice, and opposition MPs and leaders demanded apologies for the  infantile behavior.

Well, it looks like our neighbours to the south, also embroiled in a health care debate of another kind (health care reform, not swine flu) seem to have taken notice, with the Republican Party stealing a few plays out of the clever Canadian Parliamentary playbook (emphasis on play) with with Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives screaming and shouting down House members of the Democratic Women’s caucus speaking to health care reform.

With Canadians often wrestling with the question of government reform, such as adopting a republican system akin to the Americans, it’s pleasant to see that whatever the political system– parliamentary or republican– neither the Canadian nor American House speakers can maintain proper House decorum.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. corsullivan permalink*
    November 13, 2009 10:02 am

    It’s certainly unfortunate when parliamentary debate descends into a screaming match. With that said, I think heckling, cheering and booing all have their place, provided no one is actually being drowned out or prevented from speaking. From what I’ve seen and read, Westminster often gets this balance about right.

    Of course, it could be worse. For proper unparliamentary behaviour, you have to go to places like Taiwan.

    My best suggestion for reforming the Canadian parliament is that we make a deal with Terri-Jean Bedford: she can run all the common (or uncommon) bawdy houses she likes provided she also agrees to serve as Speaker. She’d have those MPs whipped into line in no time.

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