Monday, January 30, 2017

18 MPs called out for heckling in the House of Commons during fall sitting

"Answer the question, Pam."

It happens rarely, but sometimes the Hansard official transcript records the content of a heckle hurled across the aisle of the House of Commons during question period — as it did on Dec. 6, when Conservative MP Garnett Genuis was displeased with the response he was getting from Pamela Goldsmith-Jones over on the government benches.

"No, no, that's all talk. You're not doing it," NDP MP David Christopherson said on Dec. 13 in response to Navdeep Bains, the minister of innovation, science and economic development.

You can read the rest of this article here.


  1. The heckling is mostly fine and is a long-standing parliamentary tradition. Ministers and members should not give speeches during QP heckling helps them to remember to answer and question and be brief. Unsatisfactory answers are (sometimes rudely) noted by other members and through this admittedly inprecise metric ministers are able to "grade" how well or poorly their answer was received. It is an important feedback mechanism. Most importantly, members should have the ability to make their pleasure or displeasure known. Curtailing heckling effectively takes away part of a M.P.'s ability to speak freely in the Commons. Nobody has a problem with heckling except underperforming Liberal ministers who can't take the heat!

    1. As someone that watches from the minor party side of things, major parties are hypocritical because they endorse US politics and other systems being foisted upon us and their traditions. I think what we need is clearly a different kind of politics and an end to the Liberal/Tory/NDP style politics and catering to various groups and more better ideas in parliament, and that is why Canadians need an education in independents, the 15+ minor parties that exist, and how each level of government works. This will go a long way to destroying the failed left-right divide because the left-right divide only divides Canadians and does nothing about saving our social programs, true fiscal responsibility, full employment, having a reasonable and anti-war foreign policy, getting along with other nations, and having a true and independent media and Canadian parliament. That will bring new ideas and better decorum, and I am sick and tired of partisanship because it divides Canadians and only makes people believe in team sport politics. That must end for a freer and better Canada and for me a debt-free Canada, using the Bank of Canada like Mel Hurtig wanted.

      I endorse the Progressive Canadian party and the Canadian Action party.

    2. The left-right divide is also a way to divide Canadians from seeing the real truth about debt-based major parties, an Israel-first major party oligarchy supporting system, and heckling just reinforces that it is just a game to the parliamentarians that hate Canadians. They are like cartoon characters and not real people as far as I am concerned by their behavior. They are just playing roles like actors and actresses. We need serious people and compassionate people in supposedly the people's parliament.

      They only care about people when they want votes around election time. That alone shows how fake they are.

      And yet Paul MacEwan I wonder why you play the game, and buy into the left-right dichotomy? Do you have something to gain?

      I frankly feel that anyone that wholeheartedly supports a mainstream party and feels threatens when someone challenges that and insults it means they have something to gain from the system. It is all too obvious to me.

      We need ministers and questioners to be serious and act and be honourable and truly tell Canadians the truth about everything, otherwise they are overpaid and trying to avoid real work like in the private sector and where real Canadians work.

      We need legislation to ensure answers and smart questions and these MPs to serve constituents rather than party. This transcends the major party oligarchy and goes to the root of why Westminster parliamentary democracy was chosen over other systems.

      Parties are not supreme. Constituents should be supreme.

      That and independence must be what our system is based on, so that we can have meritocracy and any of the 20+ parties, including major parties, can win.

      Canadians deserve the best and independent-minded MPs, MPPs and councilors serving them!

    3. John,

      First Off, I am a spirit hence, The Ghost of Paul MacEwan. My corporeal form departed this life on August 3rd, 2003 from a brain hemorrhage. If you knew my temporal being you wouldn't ask such questions. As a spirit I have nothing to gain, Salvation is reward enough!

      You write:
      "[I]t is just a game to the parliamentarians that hate Canadians. They are like cartoon characters and not real people as far as I am concerned".

      Such statements are very troubling: I interpret them to mean; you feel no moral responsibility or social conscience toward them. Indeed, there is a hint of violence in what you write and certainly a good deal of anti-social behaviour. From what I can read and interpret your writing is a psychological theory not a philosophy of political or social import.

      Secondly, it is troubling you consider the left-right spectrum as a real thing! It is not! It is simply a human construct: Placing complex ideas and theories within an easy to understand visual form. It is not real but, you seem to think it is. One could turn the left right spectrum into a square, triangle or any other shape or none one may desire.

      Secondly, Canada has never had a left-right political spectrum and for the record; I have never bought into the "left-right dichotomy". The divisions in Canadian politics are regional and linguistic, historically religion was also a major division but, since the '70's has essentially disappeared with a few minor exceptions.

      Finally, constituents are supreme! They're called elections! We have them every five years at a minimum and sometimes more frequently! So whatever your "beef" with Canadian politics don't delude yourself into thinking Canadians are helpless or hopeless.

      As someone who in my past life dealt with brain and psychological trauma and disease I urge you to seek treatment should you need it. There is no shame asking for help. It is true the first step is the hardest but, I can write from my own experience the reward far outweighs any fear or anxiety you may have. It is never too late.

      Good Day,

      The Ghost of Paul MacEwan

    4. Even the fact that you are starting off the conversation pretending to be dead implies that you don't even take the conversation seriously as most Conservative supporters.

      I think the electoral system does need a change or else we will be stuck with Liberal, Conservative and NDP as mainstream parties till the end of time.

      That is what I am trying to get across by the comments that I give.

      Yes, I do believe that the Canadian people need to be informed about all parties and independents that exist or else they will be stuck in that lexicon of 5 parties with representation and not knowing anything else.

      I believe that they are hopeless and unwilling to change because Canadians for the most part do not have enough time to work to consider other options. They simply do not want to be educated.

      It is not bad-mouthing them but hoping that the system has a self-correcting mechanism or that hopefully a person wins in some by-election or in some general election at any level.

      I even suggested that I am with minor parties. Is that some bad thing? Can't Canadians ever learn about options?

      Do you want change ever?!

      Also, implying I need help means that you think anyone that thinks independently or differently is someone psychologically impaired or something. That is extremely far from the truth. If we have problems with the system, don't we deserve to have change and meritocracy in elections?

      Politicians for the most part do not help people. They help themselves, and live off the taxpayers. We need change and new options to give the people hope. Is that so much to ask?

      Everything nowadays is about the party and the leader rather than the constituents. That is how politics used to be.

      I am telling you what minor parties say to me all the time.

      Why do you refuse to get this in your head?!

      Do you not get the fact that people since the financial crisis have had it up to here with mainstream parties and not doing anything to protect the average people in society?!

    5. Yes, elections do occur every five years and constituents are supreme, but you interpret that based on what I read as we should vote and not come back or have any voice to listen to us for four or five years.

      Therefore, you buy into the system of politicians only coming to us when it is election time.

      I think actually that having a fourth or strong option to face against the mainstream order is the best remedy.

      I fail to see how my ideas are psychotic when I believe that Canadians want change and want an anti-mainstream option, and when I say that I mean seriously a left wing or middle right party.

      It would keep the system accountable and truly get well-meaning people into the system.

      I mean nothing bad by suggesting that MPs are cartoon characters, but in essence they have false outrage and anger, when they earn about 50% more than the average constituent or person.

      If I were an MP, I would donate half to fight poverty and seriously care about Canadians and give them an independent voice on all the issues.

      That is how to help Canada.

    6. Why would you assume I am a Conservative supporter? How I vote is none of your concern! If you knew my corporeal form you wouldn't ask such questions.

      Secondly, I am not pretending to be dead. I am a spirit in the afterlife. As the word afterlife implies, it is a type of living. I can describe myself however I wish. Please understand individualism is and should be respected in Canada.

      Thirdly, why should I take this conversation or anything else you write seriously? What have you done to earn my respect?

      Fourthly, FPTP is probably the best system for accountability amongst all political systems for major countries.

      Fifthly your ideas are "psychotic" (your word not mine) because you make an implict threat against parliamentarians by considering them less than human. Such a statement may be sociopathic. Especially, as you have now written: "I mean nothing bad by suggesting that MPs are cartoon characters, but in essence they have false outrage and anger",

      Of course you mean something untoward! You have once again failed to recognise and respect parliamentarians as human beings! People. Instead you consider them less than human by referring to them as "cartoons" and not empathetic by giving them a false sense of outrage!

      I of course believe voters must be able to criticise, protest and otherwise express their opinion between elections. However, Governments also need space to govern. A society of continual protest and disorder is one of anarchy. I believe most Canadians appreciate the stability our system provides however imperfect.

      You write that since the financial crisis people are dissatisfied with mainstream political parties but, facts demonstrate a far different narrative: In the federal election of October 2015 97% of voters cast their ballots for mainstream political parties. In the Saskatchewan general election of 2016 92% of voters elected to cast a ballot for mainstream parties. It is the same story for every Canadian election since the Financial crisis of 2007-9. So people may be dissatisfied but, not enough to change their voting behaviour away from mainstream politics.

      You write; "for the most part politicians do not help people". That is your opinion but, Agnes MacPhail had corporal punishment in jail outlawed. Did that not help prisoners? William Lyon Mackenzie King introduced the old age pension. Did that not help seniors? Gordon Campbell introduced a carbon tax. Did that not help the environment? Stephen Harper cut the G.S.T. Did that not effectively give the poorest Canadians a tax break?

      Help of course is a subjective term and certainly graft and corruption still exist in Canadian politics since, politicians are human and therefore imperfect. However, perception is also important. Most of what politicians do you can not see. When a M.P. meets a constituent you are not privy to their conversation, whether that constituent feels "helped" or not is a personal determination.

      Your animosity toward the Canadian political system seems to be born of cynicism. You provide no evidence politicians don't help people. It is a question of attitude not reality. Politicians do help people, but, not if one is always cynical such help, progress or positive interaction becomes clouded by an unfounded assumption their actions are wholly selfish.

      You write if you were a M.P. you would donate "half (my salary?) to fight poverty". That's great! Nothing is stopping you from being just as generous today except your own cynicism.

  2. I agree without the heckling Question Period would not be half as interesting! Not too mention sometimes a M.P. says something; outrageous, shameful, idiotic or worse that warrants heckles!

  3. The problem is heckling and T.V. do not mix well. Heckling if you will is best enjoyed in person.

    1. I get scared when I see heckling like I did when I went to Queen's Park last year. When I got home, I felt like I had a stress headache. I know people that watch and follow these parties on the neoliberal left, centre and right may enjoy it, but I abhor it. I think it is childish and it does not belong in our politics. How else can we get new voters into voting, and especially into taking politicians seriously.

      If people do have something against the mainstream, they should vote for new options!

    2. It's only politics. Politics can be fun too, sometimes very serious and proper debate happens but, within the system a whole cadre of individualism should exist. Members as The People's representatives must have a creative outlet to express themselves; heckling fills that niche.

      The Speaker has the ability to enforce order and I can't deny that sometimes heckling turns inappropriate even offensive but, so long as it is kept within good taste and humour heckling is an entertaining part of parliamentary tradition.


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