Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Three cheers for the Speaker - again

Updated below (7:20 p.m.) to include Teneycke comments.

"Tory MP warned of suspension from Commons over attacks on Ignatieff." The Conservative brain trust seems intent on playing childish games in the House of Commons, using the "Member Statement" session not for business in the nation's interest, for statements recognizing Canadian accomplishments, causes or other justifiable purposes, but for partisan theatre and misrepresentations. And now, the Speaker is saying, enough of the games, he may suspend a Conservative MP:
Commons Speaker Peter Milliken has threatened to suspend a Conservative MP if he continues making personal attacks against Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff.

Daryl Kramp received the warning after accusing Ignatieff of hypocrisy on a number of issues.

Milliken told MPs several weeks ago that he would no longer tolerate them using members' statements, which precede question period each day, to engage in personal attacks.

He began cutting off MPs who ignored his ruling.

To avoid being silenced, Kramp and other Tory MPs have taken to issuing scathing assessments of an unidentified politician, whom they identify as Ignatieff only at the very end of their statements - when it's too late for Milliken to cut them off.

Milliken's warning suggests he's willing to take more drastic measures to put a stop to the personal attacks.
The Commons should not be used for amateur hour playtime. The cries about free speech and suppression of debate will ensue, no doubt. So, a reminder of the Commons floor time that the Conservatives are abusing:
Statements by Members
(Déclarations de députés)
A daily 15-minute period preceding the oral question period, when Members who are not Cabinet Ministers may make statements on matters of national, regional or local importance. Statements are limited in length to one minute and opportunity to speak is given equally to all private Members.
One need only look at examples of what the Conservatives have been saying, it's not anything of "national, regional or local importance," it's partisan hackery at its worst.

Update: (4:50 p.m.): "Brain Kramp."

Update (5:15 p.m.): pogge, Maxwell's House, life in moderation.

Update (7:05 p.m.): Liberal Arts & Minds, Peterborough Politics.

Update (7:20 p.m.): On behalf of the Prime Minister, Teneycke expresses support for the trash that Conservative MPs are framing as "debate."
Kory Teneycke, communication director for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, gave no indication that Tory MPs will let up in their attacks on Ignatieff, a former Harvard academic.

"This is the House of Commons. Debate of a partisan nature is nothing new and in our estimation should not be restricted in that way and certainly not restricted on one side of the House in a way that is different from the other side of the House," Teneycke said.

"This is politics. This is not a Harvard classroom. You have to be able to take it as well as give it."
There you have it, what the Conservative party supports, as set by the tone from the top. Click on the links in original post to the House of Commons transcripts to see just a few samplings of what Conservative MPs are offering to the people of Canada at this time, as officially sanctioned by the PMO.  A carnival sideshow to distract from their economic record.