Friday, November 07, 2014

The Scandal on the Hill and the Old Boy's Club

As if Stephen Harper hadn't degraded the image of our Parliament enough. 

Reduced it to a fascist circus where the Big Lie rules, and shame goes to die.

Mocked it, muzzled it, or just crapped on it like a monstrous alien monkey from outer space. 

Now we find out it's also a place where power corrupts even basic human decency. A boozy place stuck in the past, where young women are routinely harassed. 

And considering all of the above, I have to say I found what Tom Mulcair had to say today extremely disappointing. 

Two female New Democrat MPs have been victimized a second time by Justin Trudeau's decision to publicize their complaints of inappropriate behaviour against two Liberal MPs, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says.

Because what did he expect Trudeau to do after the two women complained to him personally? If he had done nothing he would have been crucified by his opponents.

Green party Leader Elizabeth May said Trudeau would have been "damned if he did and damned if he didn't" take action on the complaints. And she called on the NDP to stop politicizing the issue.

And Elizabeth May is right, it is time to put partisanship aside, and work together to clean up this ugly problem.

Parliament is in many ways living in another decade when it comes to how things work and how women are treated, NDP deputy leader Megan Leslie says.

"It's a really special place. It's a glorious place sometimes. But sexual harassment and harassment in general is an issue. Is it worse here? I'll certainly say it's different here."

"I do think that we are back in another decade here."

Time to drag that "different" place kicking and screaming into the 21st Century.

And demolish what's left of the Old Boy's Club.

One by one, the Old Boys’ perks have fallen, unlamented. 

Friday nights in the Press Club, off-the-record Gallery dinners, long, liquid lunches, the first jug of draft brought up to the office on Friday afternoons, smoking in the Centre Block foyer, selective government leaks, Christmas expense account blowouts at long-ago bulldozed restaurants, unilingual anglophones aspiring to national office, ignoring sexual harassment. 

The last one is proving the toughest to eradicate.

Because this too is true:

There is harassment in newsrooms, law offices, hospitals and insurance companies but the bar for a safe workplace environment should be set higher in our Parliament than anywhere else.

And I've always believed that in the Temple of Democracy one should behave accordingly.

Just like I believe that the NDP and the Liberals should work together to clean up that temple.

Evict the filthy Cons who have degraded it beyond recognition. 

And make it safe and decent again...

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  1. You would like to see the NDP and the Liberals work together on the real political problems we face: so would a lot of others. Instead Mulcare is trying to score cheap political points against Trudeau. Doing so supports Harper's reelection bid, but Mulcare seems to have decided to run against Trudeau ( and give Harper a free pass ) to maintain his meager political power and position.

    I am a natural NDP supporter, but will not vote for them again.

    1. "I am a natural NDP supporter, but will not vote for them again."

      That makes two of us.

      I voted NDP in the last Ontario election because it was the strategic thing to do in my riding, but it wasn't because I wanted to otherwise. Ever since Layton helped put Harper in office, my respect for the party has never recovered, and after seeing them in action lately, including Olivia Chow and Horvath's most recent (disastrous) campaigns, I'm convinced the NDP doesn't actually have a whole lot of aspiration to lead. They seem to be in their happy place when they can throw wedges into discussions and be the PC police from a position of not having to be responsible for their positions.

    2. hi rumleyfips...there is nothing more depressing for me than to see progressives divided. Especially since if we were united we would crush the Cons like bugs, and keep them out of power FOREVER. And yes, although there are some very good people in the NDP they have disappointed me recently. Andrea Horwath's campaign was simply appalling, and the party is drifting to the right and failing to inspire me. So I'm not ruling out voting for them again, but they will have to pull up their socks...

    3. hi Rev...yes my experience mirrors yours exactly. I too voted for a Liberal in the one-time NDP bastion of Trinity-Spading to make sure that Hudak didn't get in, and because I didn't want to encourage Horwath who I believe is taking the provincial party in the wrong direction. As I told Rumleyfips, I still have warm feelings for the NDP, as I do for many Liberals. And my only consolation is that judging from the way the polls are going it looks like the two of them will eventually have to work together in a coalition government. So they better be nice to each other... ;)

  2. Anonymous7:17 AM

    In order for the NDP and con-lites to work together, one of the parties would have to already be in power (dominatrix-style) with the other willing to become its submissive and only then would anything possibly be accomplished. That won't happen with troodles and tommy two-face jockeying for an unwinnable spot to lead Parliament. They're just going to hand the goddamn leadership back to harpie again. All our choices for "leadership" are so flawed and weak and spineless and amoral that I don't you/we will ever see the Canada you speak of so eloquently ever again.
    To do what you actually suggest, Simon, implies that you think there are grownups in the mix and all I see are a bunch of spoiled-rotten rich kid little boys playing at what they think is being mature and responsible and not seeing past the end of their megalomanic noses at what they can gouge from this country now to line their own political and financial pockets further and fuck all the rest of us.
    Happy Friday, y'all! Better learn to speak amerikan now before the big spring rush starts and harpie brings more coch brother agents up here again to "win" this next election too!

    1. hi anon...I'm not quite as pessimistic as you are about the two parties eventually working together. Necessity after all is the mother of invention, and goodness knows the need is great. But then of course I'm the guy who is always looking for the pony in the heap of manure...;)

  3. Anonymous7:17 AM

    I'm a natural NDP supporter and I don't like this either. I will vote for the NDP candidate in my riding and I think he will get in because he is a good bloke, but if I lived in another constituency I would think twice about it if things don't change.

    1. hi anon...I'm not going to give up on the NDP just because of this unfortunate incident. But yes, like you, I hope that they can do better than they have been doing. We need all good progressives to come to the aid of this country and save us from the bestial Cons...

  4. Anonymous11:36 AM

    I was really surprised that Mulcair would have made this novice mistake. It was disappointing that the NDP would politicize this instead of working to ensure a safe environment for all.

    Justin did the only thing he could have done after being informed by one (not two) of the NDP MPs.

    Justin's call for more established procedures to deal with sexual harassment, instead of shunting it to the secretive and partisan Board of Internal Econ., was also most reasonable.

    The two accused Lib MPs deserve the right to defend themselves against the allegations: if the situation had been reversed, those two NDP MPs would have expected no less for themselves too.

    1. hi anon...I too thought it was uncharacteristic of Mulcair, and the only thing I can think of is that he was annoyed by the fact that those two MPs complained to Trudeau directly, and that he didn't get a heads up and was left looking out of it. I really hate to see progressives fighting over such an issue, when we all need to get together and fight it as hard as we can...

  5. I don't know which remarks by Mulcair you are referring to, but the ones i heard were mild in the extreme, simply paying lip service to the fact that sexual harassment needs to stop..... and did not in any way single out the Libs..
    Even the Cons were bobble-heading around the idea of sexual harassment being a no-no...probably grateful for once that heir own indiscretions weren't leading the media pack anymore..
    After a lot of thought, I have concluded that what happened in the States could easily happen here if the two parties don't co-operate..sad as it is to me, since I am way too progressive to vote for either party if there were a decent alternative...there isn't..
    I have given up arguing against co-operation between the LIbs and the NDP...I just cannot see how else the CreepyCons can be brought down...
    The only thing that we have going for us is that there is usually a Con in power here when there is a Dem in the States..but the Dems are so right-wing these days that it is difficult to know what will happen, and why it will matter..Hillary Clinton, the great Democratic hope, is to the right of Obama..let's see how much support she gets when she runs..
    The same is true here for Trudeau as opposed to Mulcair..and I think it is a foregone conclusion that Trudeau will be on top in the polls if nothing else...
    BTW Simon, recently moved into Elizabeth May's riding...she is an amazing example of how a leader can so exceed the party that the rest of the Greens must be breathless, trying to keep up...not ecstatic with much of the philosophy re economics and labour, but May is the most impressive party leader on the Hill, in my mind

    1. yeah Elizabeth May is amazing, The rest of the leaders could take lessons from her.

    2. hi mizdarlin...I just thought the whole tone was off. Accusing Trudeau of "revictimizing" the two women was in my opinion too harsh. I understand there are delicate issues of privacy, but if the two women didn't expect Trudeau to do something why did they complain to him? As for the two parties cooperating as you may know it is one of my fondest dreams. From the moment the Cons united it has always seemed to me that the writing is on the wall. Either we unite or we will face disaster every single election.
      I wouldn't rule out Mulcair though, since I also believe that if Trudeau's star should fade, people will swing their vote behind him as the one best able to defeat Harper. as for Elizabeth May I also agree that she has been outstanding recently. A voice of reason on many issues, and a person who has clearly indicated that she is prepared to work with the other progressive parties, and we need more leaders like that...

    3. hi deb...yes let's hear it for Elizabeth May, a good woman and a good Canadian...

  6. Mulcair`s latest gaffe has sealed the party`s fate, game over, caput...Clearly the 2 NDP MPs who complained to Justin Trudeau personally must have felt that Thomas Mulcair wasn`t proactive....I believe that Mulcair was planning on dropping this sexual harassment issue at a more appropriate political time, like during the next election writ period.....

    Mulcair hadn`t launched an investigation, no, he`s been sitting on the information for a long time...

    What Mulcair is angry about is....

    His ace in the hole is gone......So, now Mulcair has not only lost his ace in the hole, lost respect of potential female voters..he`s lost his chance to form government...One stupid political scheme will cement the federal NDP back in their rightful place in parliament..

    A third place yappy poodle party.

    Good Day

    1. hi said above, I don't think this unfortunate episode will prove fatal, but it is certainly damaging. The NDP should always take the high road, and when they don't they really look bad. What I don't understand is if Mulcair knew about what had happened, why the his two MPs feel they needed to complain to Trudeau? This whole incident is very unfortunate, and I really hope that all parties can move on and do the right and decent thing...

  7. Between the public infighting of the Manitoba NDP and now this BS from Mulcair, I am freaking fed up the orange brand. They have successfully moved their party rightwards both provincially and federally, completely jettisoning any remaining principles of socialism.

    1. hi Beijing...I know how you feel, and remember those of us in Ontario had to deal with the Horwath horror show, where it was sometimes hard to tell who was more right-wing in a hideous populist way, the Cons or the NDP. I have always believe that the NDP should be more left-wing not less, because the future can only be more left-wing if the planet is going to survive. So while that position may not be popular now, history will eventually prove them right...

  8. In my opinion Elizabeth May is the smartest and wisest MP on the Hill, and the Cons are the Fools on the Hill. 8-)

    Although they claim to be wise, they have become fools.

    1. hi David...Im not sure that Elizabeth May is the best and the brightest, but she sure has been doing a hell of a job. And of course you KNOW I agree with you about who are the Fools on the Hill... ;)

  9. Not fools David & Simon tools of the Harper regime...