Wednesday, December 5, 2012


The unbridled arrogance of the government members, the lack of respect for our democratic traditions and a biased speaker make the House of Confusion less and less a hallmark of our democracy.

The partisan thrust of debate is expected. The zingers and one-upmanship is all part of the circus. It is an occupational hazard. The most sincere member will slip from time to time, engaging in banter and name calling.

One can excuse that as an unfortunate, if not childish, dynamic of the partisan atmosphere that is our system of democracy.

However, when a member rises to introduce a petition on behalf of voters, the members should show respect. They should remain silent and let the member use their allotted time to read the prayer.

If the voting public is so concerned about an issue that they are motivated  to sign a public petition for presentation in the House of Assembly, should it not be given the careful consideration and respect of the legislators!

It is one thing to disagree, quite another to display contempt for the democratic process. The tradition of the House of Assembly evolved out of the Westminster System – the world’s greatest democracy.  All members of the House are considered honorable, above contempt or lying.

Yesterday, the member for St. John’s North South presented a petition on behalf of concerned residents of the Avondale area asking government to intervene in a school closure issue. He presented the petition because the Progressive Conservative MHA, their elected representative would not do it.

The government members shouted, bawled & tried to frustrate the member as he read the prayer. It was a disgusting example of bullying. Why is it acceptable to act like bullies, to cast away any pretense of honorable behavior?

It is horrible to watch. It is frustrating to consider that those signatories to the petitions concerns mean nothing at all to the government. They could care less. In fact their behavior illustrates that the issue is falling on deft ears. Why is that acceptable?

Unparliamentary language and shouting down a member presenting a petition breaks the rules of politeness. Part of the Speaker's role is to ensure that members show proper respect for parliament. This speaker seems more intend on depriving opposition members of the privilege of being heard than policing his colleagues in the government caucus.

It is the speakers job, his role to enforce civility. Yet he allows the government side to run roughshod over the opposition.

I wish we demanded more from our elected representatives, instead of just accepting the shameful status quo.


Anonymous said...

I think you meant St. John's North, the member for St. John's South is not allowed to speak!

Anonymous said...

We do demand more Peter. But who listens anymore? The press? No. Even they seem helpless.

Anonymous said...

Kirby can put one to sleep with his daily petitions. When he stands that when the channel is changed. Boring to say the least....

Anonymous said...

To be fair, the Hon. Member for St. John's North does his fair share of heckling and shouting across the way.

Peter L. Whittle said...

No matter who the member is or how many petitions they present, the process is part of the democratic process. Kirby is just the vehicle by which the voter - the public - voice their concerns.

As for no one listening, I get the same feeling. I am a very frustrated individual. Not sure where one turns which is a recipe for apathy

Peter L. Whittle said...

To be fair, the presentation of a petition is not a debate. Compare apples and oranges.

Anonymous said...

Inappropriate behaviour is inappropriate no matter which side of the house nor which activity they are engaging in. Debate must be respectful as well. Kirby is as guilty as any Government member of disruption and childish nonsense.

Peter L. Whittle said...

I can't say anything about the behavior of any members in the House because frankly, I watch or view very little of it! I read the hansard at night.

What I do know is this, there will always be heckling in the House of Assembly. Ministers should be able to read statements verbatim free from harassment as should MHA's when they read petitions.

This is not about Dale Kirby, it is about the lack of respect for the petition and those that asked that it be presented in the people's house.

Lets not get into the he does she does. I am talking about the respect members should have for the people that elected them. What is honorable about that behavior

Anonymous said...

Members got to earn respect of other members. The member of St John's North haven't done that. I wonder how the people that elected him feel about it.

Anonymous said...

How many of these Anonymous posters are PC operatives who don't the balls to step our from behind the shadow of their keyboard?

PS I can't post my name because the Tories invented a policy last year to prevent civil servants from participating in the political process

Anonymous said...

Heard your comments on CBC last evening. Good on you. Darrin King sounded like an arse. As you say it is not about the member presenting the petition but the petition itself!

Peter L. Whittle said...

"Tories invented a policy last year to prevent civil servants from participating in the political process"

Really - hmm..I am a civil servant,,,should I be worried :)