‘Chuckles’ chooses chaos.

Have you ever wondered at how Members of Parliament can keep on speaking while being constantly heckled? It seems it is all part of the theatre that parliament provides and is a big part of the daily question period. There will always be exceptions but the chaos heckling creates can be easily quieted if just three of the players in the House said “Enough is enough.”

The guy with the most power to quiet things does not have the largest problem. Prime Minister Trudeau, through his Liberal House Leader, MP Bardish Chagger, can easily insist on bringing the Liberal side of the House’s noise levels down to reasonable. The question is whether they would want to—given the heavy heckling to which they are under every day?

Smaller parties such as the New Democrats have to really speak up if they want their heckling to be heard. These MPs tend to be the most vocal when they feel they are being mislead or not being given an answer they consider truthful. During the recent leadership race, there was little attention paid to the NDP’s performance in the House and it will take MP Guy Caron, new party leader Jagmeet Singh’s choice as house leader, time to assert some authority.

The largest problem in the heckling chorus are the 96 Conservatives who are the official opposition in the House of Commons. With their new leader this year, Andrew ‘Chuckles’ Scheer MP and his shrill house leader, MP Candice Bergen from Manitoba, we are certainly hearing from the pack.

And when you consider that “Chuckles’ has served as Speaker of the House, he knows very well the chaos that heckling creates for the House and the spectators. He also knows how the television cameras are directed to focus only on the speaker and people watching on the parliamentary channel across Canada have no idea which party is creating the noise behind the camera.

While the majority of parliamentarians feel that the heckling in the House is out of control, it is these opposition members who keep the practice alive.

Part of the shame is that even female members of Scheer’s party have complained about the sexist and inappropriate heckling. The truth is that this party has no intention of giving up on heckling. They seem to believe that: when in doubt, you should shout.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

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