Thursday, May 19, 2016


My take on the Trudeau thing...because I've been involved in parties on "the left",  I have more FB friends who favour "progressive" politicians. And I'm seeing a number of them try to defend or minimize what happened (which, taking what is uncontested from the news, is that he was frustrated with the opposition being slow to vote, pushed through a group of MPs to pull the Conservative Whip through a crowd until that MP told him to get his hands off him, and in doing so accidentally elbowed Ruth Ellen Brosseau, who left the Chamber as a result). 

So, I'm gonna did you react to the video below when it happened?  

went back and checked...there was NO accusation that this collision was anything but accidental contact on Ford's part, but it was a politician becoming careless by acting to a heated political situation in a break.  If anything, Trudeau's breach is a bit more egregious, because he admits he went there to make physical contact with at least the Tory Whip.

One of the things that worries me in politics these days is that we are losing firm lines of behaviour of what we should never do. And part of the problem is we let our own side away with stuff that used to be beyond the line. I see friends who decried Harper the autocrat giving Gallant a pass on shutting down Legislative debate and ducking media.  Friends who call Kathleen Wynn a liar will excuse absolutely bizarre conspiracy peddling by Donald Trump.  And don't get me started on the "everybody does it" stuff -- it's often a lazy way of saying that, because every politician makes mistakes, we can stop decrying truly undemocratic behaviour. 

You want to say this isn't the only basis on which to judge Trudeau? Fine...I actually agree. That his apology closes the issue? Fair enough. But don't spin it or excuse it, please. Opposition MPs slowing down an inevitable closure vote in protest has generally been in the bounds of discourse (open to criticism, sure, but not beyond the pale). Losing your temper and putting hands on people is not. That line matters. And if you're giving one guy a pass because he's on your're part of the problem.

UPDATE: After the Prime Minister offered a true apology (not an "if I offended anyone" apology) that rose above the spin his more hyper partisan supporters are trying to sell, I offered the following (unsolicited and likely unwelcome) advice to the opposition:

In keeping with my earlier post about holding the party you support to the same standards of behaviour as the others....

Now that the PM has apologized in a clear, unreserved and decent fashion AND withdrawn the motion to limit debate in the Commons, the Opposition would do well to show that it will use its right to debate constructively. This would involve withdrawing the motion to keep debating Trudeau's mistake, debating the assisted suicide bill with substance and seriousness, and avoiding any description of the fracas with a tone and language that sounds like you actually witnessed a colleague being devoured in a zombie apocalypse.

Avoiding these steps for another 24 hrs may cause Canadians to revise who has the moral high ground here.

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