Friday, September 26, 2014
Why the Con Speaker Andrew Scheer Should Resign
Ever since Andrew Scheer was appointed Speaker he has presided over the slow death of Canada's Parliament.
He has allowed his Cons to turn it into a fascist circus. He has allowed them to get away with not answering questions, and to make a mockery out of our democracy.
The way he allowed the Paul Calandra to answer Tom Mulcair's questions about Iraq the other day with a ranting rave about Israel, and then punished Mulcair for complaining was simply outrageous.
He has allowed it to become as Michael Den Tandt writes, nothing less a banquet of idiocy.
If any comfort at all can be drawn from the banquet of idiocy that Question Period has become on Speaker Andrew Scheer’s watch, it is this: By granting discourtesy, disrespect and outright stupidity free rein, he allows the people who pay for it all to see, and to judge.
And his claim that he doesn't have the authority to decide whether a question has been answered because “that is why it is called question period, not answer period,”
is utterly absurd.
Because that would that allow Con clowns like Paul Calandra to continue to turn the proceedings into a farce....
First, by this logic, it now becomes acceptable for a government MP to say anything at all in Question Period. Calandra could, when confronted with an opposition question, begin chanting in ancient Greek. He could speak in Sanskrit, or in tongues; he could say “Lalalalalalalala” while plugging his ears, the way kids do. He could read his grocery list. He could recite the ageless “To be or not to be” soliloquy from Hamlet.
Like he has done so many times before...
And by failing to rein him in, and impose some sort of democratic order, Scheer is not doing his job.
The Speaker’s job, in Question Period, is to preside. He can’t do that if he allows inanity to prevail utterly, making a mockery of the very institution in which he sits.
And as Paul McLeod points out, that's in addition to all his other failings.
As the House’s referee, it is the Speaker’s job to interpret and enforce many obscure rules. Scheer is a soft-spoken, amiable and utterly likable guy. And what he has allowed to happen under his watch is a travesty.
Like the way so many of his dubious rulings always seem to favour the government.
Back in June of 2012, Irwin Cotler, the Liberal MP for Mount Royal in Quebec, tabled a written question to the Finance Department about who it consulted for the budget. The response Cotler got was a glib reply of “countless” organizations. “If this were allowed as a response, it would make a mockery of our written question process,” said Cotler. But Scheer struck down his complaint.
That same month, he struck down a point of order from Green Leader Elizabeth May, who wanted to split the government’s massive omnibus budget bill. The Speaker ruled the government can throw whatever it wants into one massive piece of legislation, regardless of whether the sections are related.
Or as I pointed out the other night, the way he always seems to sound like a Con robot...
Or his master's voice.
Because he may be a baby face Speaker, but he is a Con and a religious fanatic, and the way he refused to allow a vote on transgender rights the other day was for me the final straw.
On Monday, the Speaker wouldn’t even allow a vote on hate crimes protection for transgender people because, technically, the House would be repeating itself. The House had already approved this policy, but it is stalled in the Senate.
So Randall Garrison, the NDP MP for Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca, tried another route: adding it to the government’s omnibus cyberbullying bill. But Conservative MPs voted that down during committee study and Scheer ruled that an open vote would duplicate the work of the committee. The Speaker could have allowed a vote using an “exceptional significance” exemption, but he deemed the matter unworthy.
Because when the Speaker of the House of Commons deems the human rights of some Canadians unworthy, it really is the limit.
Parliament has become a sideshow. If the Paul Calandras of the world refuse to act like adults, Canada needs a Speaker who will force them to. If Scheer doesn’t want to be that person, he should resign and let someone else be the saviour of common sense.
He is clearly not up to the job.
He is failing to protect our democracy.
He has sat on his throne long enough.
And he really is good to GO...
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Andrew Scheer is just another corporate Harper poodle listening to his master's voice. General Idea had the general idea about people like him. Did anyone really expect anything other than right-wing partisanship from Scheer?
What an absolute disgrace they are- making a mockery of the hoc. I really hope Canadians will wake up and see what these horrible people have done to our country before its too late.
Well its all connected by some thread. Masters of the Universe do not answer questions unless they are in dread. The best explanation of this con goverment is found in the Stargate series. Our current goverment is for sure composed of worshipers of Egyptian Gods from another universe. One thing they hate is commodity prices falling. A good Government would recognize this is a structural weakness in Canada and ameliorate. WE used to have such sensible folks and then those with an MBA from the GWB academy took over. Its pull every lever all the time. Its like monkeys seeking bananas when they know just one pull will give a reward. But just like the monkey this goverment never thought what next! God help us. What if he dont listen then what?
Andrew Scheer has always been, Harper's little dweeb. Scheer shouldn't be permitted to preside over an outhouse, let alone our HOC.
Calandra is just a dead ringer for another, yappy little Goebbels.
It is well past time, we kick Harper's evil dictatorship government, right off this planet. Harper can take his Communist Chinese with him. We have had enough of Harper's insanity. Harper had no right to sell Canada to China. This is our country, not Harper and his thugs country.
Now, now, boys and girls. Don't you dare make nice little Andrew cry. Shame on you for making little Pauli cry today. He didn't mean to be a naughty boy, he said, it was his passion and his anger (I did wonder what he was angry about, to be honest, but that is another matter). Kind of like Rob Ford reminding us that it was not his fault, it was the fault of his "disease". These Cons boys are really very sensitive fellas, remember Dean del Maestro? You made him cry too. So, be nice to Andrew because I sure as hell cannot stand to watch another grown man cry after he has been caught being naughty, eh?
or we could all just be in a big fog with all the generators on full.
The current speaker is more of a repeater, of the harper ideology. /with hundreds of years of history the question period is an opportunity for the opposition to ask questions, and yes, the party in government needs to answer. If the current Canadian speaker of the house doesn't get the concept perhaps we could send him to the British Parliament and he can have a look at how it is supposed to be done and study a few of their history books. Or he could even read a few Hansards and see how the Cons did things under Mulroney, Clark, Defenbaker.
Those Con politicos didn't have any problem answering questions. Its only this cult currently in office who can't get their shit together so they have to rely on perverting a system which had worked reasonably well for several hundred years. Of course the new system the current cult is using might be taken from a page of Putin and China Get used to these types of answers because that is all that will be coming out after 1 Oct. Of course then the responses will be, the trade agreement with China prevents the government from answering the question.
Scheer is clearly the worst Speaker we have seen in a long time, likely ever, I quite agree about that. I also agree that he tends to favour the government more than is appropriate. The problem is the Speaker is elected by the majority of the House, and currently the majority of the House is Harper's CPC, so what good would replacing him do? Would we suddenly get a better quality speaker from Harper's CPC? I rather doubt it. He also does have a point regarding the limits of his power to compel answers in QP, the section that a lot of people are citing about his ability to stop repetition curiously applies to all aspects of a Sitting, EXCEPT QP.
As to your point on the transgender issue, I admit I lack enough knowledge of that issue to have an opinion on the worth or lack thereof regarding Scheer's decision, so I have to leave it alone.
I am going to repeat what I said in the prior thread on the issue with Calandra, Mulcair, and Scheer though, and that is Mulcair crossed the line when he attacked Scheer the way he did. I had no problem with Mulcair's questions, I had no problems with his reaction to Calandra and his totally unrelated responses to those serious question, and I had no problem with his starting to show his irritation with Calandra for doing so. I did however, have a problem with him dragging in the Speaker the way he did, Mulcair should as a party leader, especially as a LOO have known that the power of the Speaker is as limited as it is in QP, I knew it, I've known it from well before the Harper government ever came to power. Mulcair also has the problem that there is a credible case to make that it is in his partisan interests to discredit the Speaker because of the issues the NDP is having at the Board of Internal Economy which Scheer chairs. So he needs to make sure any time he goes after Scheer, especially with the nuclear level in Parliamentary terms charge of partisanship/bias that his case is rock solid in substance, and this time it was not.
I also understand that it is exceptionally dangerous to call a Speaker biased/partisan, and not something a leader should be doing unless they are willing to go all the way with it, and have absolutely unquestionable proof of said bias/partisanship, and that was lacking in this issue. Your two linked sources that speak to this, one fails to understand the QP exception, the other equated what the UK Speaker can do with ours, when the precedents are significantly different. Would I prefer the UK powers in the Speaker, of course, but I deal in reality as it is, not what I wish it was. Mulcair let his anger with Calandra interfere with his judgment when he dragged the Speaker in, and he muddied matters when he did so IMHO.
If I thought getting rid of Scheer would get us a better Speaker, then I would be all for it, but until Harper is removed that is not going to happen now is it. We know Harper has nothing but contempt for Parliament, the rules of the House, and legal protocols in general. We know he is going to nominate a Speaker who he can get to lean as far in his favour as he can get away with. Given all the other perversions of government into Harper/CPC partisan tools this is obvious, is it not? I agree Scheer dishonours the Office he holds, as Harper does his, but until we un-elect this government I see no real way to change this. I also think that it serves Harper's long term agenda to damage as much of the Parliamentary traditions and Offices as he can, so I am not happy when I see someone like the LOO helping him in such a sloppy manner.
to be concluded...:
As I have noted many times before Simon I am a process geek about Parliament even before I have any other partisanship for leaders, parties, and political ideologies/beliefs. So I take such things seriously, and while I agree about Scheer being the worst Speaker ever, in this particular matter with Mulcair I am forced to side with him, and that Mulcair was in the wrong when he attacked him in the Calandra affair. It also bothers me that Mulcair, a trained lawyer, someone who has been LOO now for a couple of years either did not understand this or worse ignored it to score his own partisan points. I'll give the NDP and Mulair credit when they do something I agree with (take the recent aboriginal House debate they forced, I had nothing but praise on that on here), but this time I really think Mulcair did the wrong thing, the only question I have was whether he did it in ignorance(which is bad) or knowingly (which is worse) for someone like me.
Scheer is but another symptom of the much greater disease that is the Harper government. As bad as he is, it could be worse, which is why I do not see the point in arguing he should be replaced as Speaker in advance of replacing the entire Harper government. Citing him as a further example of what is wrong with the
Harper government/CPC, sure, I am all for that. Attack him when you think you have further evidence of his ruling with partisanship, also fine, but make sure you are rock solid in doing so (and it sounds from what you have said you have a better case with the transgender issue than Mulcair did with Calandra).
I will close though with adding that the Calandra apology was the worst farce I've seen in a while. The fake tears, the choking up, we all know he was acting on direct orders with a prepared script when he derailed Mulcair the other day, and we equally know that what we got today was also under orders and almost certainly as scripted by the Harper PMO as the former was. Until Harper himself apologizes for sending Calandra out with that script and for perverting the point of QP even more than usual there is no true apology. Calandra is Harper's puppet in the House, he is after all his Parliamentary Secretary, it is literally his job. So when he acts on behalf of his boss but only apologizes on his own behalf then the apology has no real substance to it by definition.
Simon, You must see Calandra's tearful apology in the House. Its priceless. Only yesterday, he was still tweeting in defiance. He's either a good actor, or someone scared him. Anyway, there should be a rule about crying in Parliament. After all, it is the Speakers duty to maintain dignity and decorum.
hi anon....After discovering that he's one of the religious fanatics who inhabit the Con Roach Motel I expected nothing from Scheer, and as predicted he has been a miserable failure from the day he was appointed...
hi Emma....it is an absolute disgrace, and it is entirely consistent with Stephen Harper's contempt for democracy. He wants to make it disgusting so he can turn people off politics, because the fewer people that vote the greater his chance of winning an election. It is in fact just another form of voter suppression. But don't worry I think more Canadians are waking up, and we're going to give the HOC a really good cleaning... :)
hi Steve....two things...one I've done a Nile cruise and I can say for sure that the people who built some of those amazing temples were clearly better than the Cons, so they can't possibly worship them. and if there are any Christian gods they would have disowned them long ago... ;)
hi anon...well let's give thanks that they can't hide what they are. They have turned our Parliament into an outhouse, and we are going to flush them...
hi anon...I just finished a post on Paulie's astounding performance, and I've REALLY enjoyed writing it. especially after finding that the PMO set him up, and Paulie lied about it. And as for Dean Del Mastro, he makes a guess appearance in that post. So I hope you enjoy it... :)
hi e.a.f....I just think Scheer is not up to the job. They say he's a pleasant person, but he's a lousy Speaker, and he has allowed our Parliament to become a toilet. A strong Speaker might have been able to make a difference but as far as I can see Scheer never even tried. So he really should resign....
hi Scotian....look I agree that in there present situation we can't expect a better Speaker, but since Scheer has lost control of the situation he should be punished or censored not rewarded.
As for your position on what Mulcair did by questioning Scheer's neutrality, I agree that in a normal Parliament that should not be encouraged. I have a lot of respect for our House of Democracy, that's why I try to watch Question Period whenever I can. But we do not live in a normal country, we do not have a normal Parliament, so pretending that we do is to participate in a farce. Scheer is a lousy Speaker both because he has lost control of the chamber, and because whenever he has been called to act in a neutral manner he has failed so completely. When we finally regain control of this country we will have to restore faith in our democratic institutions, and thanks to the Cons that won't be easy...
hi Scotian...I just finished a post about the Calandra apology. It took me longer than usual to write it, because I had to stop every few minutes and laugh my ass off... ;)
hi TheBlueGrit....yes I've seen it, and I have to say I enjoyed every second. And what made it even more special was finding out that the PMO set him up, and Calandra denied it so he was left looking even more foolish. If that's possible. Couldn't think of a better way to start the weekend, I'll be laughing until Monday... ;)
Yes, and a lot of psycopaths have been described as "pleasant" persons.
Scheer isn't up to the job if he can't do his job as he ought to. He may not have the skills or he may see the job as he is doing it, making it ever so easy for the cons to make a mockery of our Canadian democracy. We can only hope he is not re-elected.
The only problem I have with that Simon is that precedent lives on afterwards, that is its nature, and that is the only reason why I cannot agree with you in this respect. Part of what Harper does is to create precedents that weaken/destroy the fabric of our systems of governance, and this time Mulcair aided him. As I said, I get the frustration, both Mulcair's and yours, but we need to not let that get in the way of using good judgment in how we fight back. I more than most people am well aware of how these are not normal times, and why this is true, I was after all one of the Cassandras who actually tried to stop this before it began, as you know. I agree it will take a long time to restore any faith in our democratic institutions thanks to the Harper period, but I would prefer we limit the collateral damage we have to do in the meantime, and that is where my issue here is rooted. It was a bad judgment call by Mulcair in this instance, he could have illustrated Calandra's conduct without doing it, and as I said he muddied the issue when he did so. I have no more respect for Scheer than you Simon, but I am still respectful of the Office he holds and want to limit the damage done to it while Scheer holds it. What really annoyed me in this incident is that Mulcair had to know he was asking more of the Speaker than the Speaker can do where QP is concerned, that limitation preceded the rise of the Harper regime to power, and that is why I am so irked by it, because if I knew it I have a hard time thinking the LOO didn't.
What I also would point out is that as bad as Scheer is I suspect any replacement for him would have us wishing for Scheer as the good old days. So while I no more than you want to see him rewarded, I also do not see anything that can be done about it that does not make things worse while Harper holds a majority. Scheer at least offers a pretense of caring for precedent, I would not be surprised that his replacement from Harper wouldn't even have that much, which would only make the damage that much worse.
We live in evil times, which means we need to accept that which we cannot change, change what we can, and the wisdom to know the difference...at least until the next election where hopefully we cast Harper and his CPC aside into near oblivion (I say that because I would prefer to see his faction discredited and the old Red Tories come back and have a party that they can take back over, rather than set up another decade or two of factionalism which in the end leaves a repeat creation of another extremist party like Harper's CPC). Then we can start the real work, which will not be years but decades in completing, that damage Harper has done is so severe.
You are a good Canadian, and a wise person Simon. I always enjoy your spin on things. I think it's past Time to shame the shite out of these con crybabies. Enough is enough. Lying sacks. I am so fed up with them, my head is spinning. I can't keep up with the crap they are pulling. Thanks for keeping Canadians up to speed.
Have you seen this one? It's a remix with sad violin music: http://www.pressprogress.ca/en/post/emotional-video-conservative-mps-tearful-apology-will-make-you-cry
hi j evans...yes i used it in my post. I had another version when I filed my post. But I saw that one a few minutes later and I just HAD to have it. I'm thinking of a version with an organ grinder grinding away in the background.... ;)
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