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
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.