Originally published on the DaninOttawa.com site on December 8th, 2011.
Next week is the final week in session for the House of Commons before it adjourns for the holiday season and resumes sitting in late January of 2012. It has been a historic session but also a very lengthy and at times very heated atmosphere on Parliament Hill. It saddens me to say that much of the decorum and courtesy that marked the opening of the 41st session of Parliament has significantly deteriorated. As a new MP I cannot compare it to prior House sittings but there are a few recent events that I believe are deserving of comment. A few weeks back in the House, while a vote was being taken, a colleague of mine used some hand gestures while a vote was underway. While the gestures themselves are open to interpretation, what happened next is not. Someone took the video footage from Hansard, and then waited until December 6th, the anniversary date for the Ecole Polytechnique Montreal shootings, to post the previously made hand gestures on YouTube as if to imply they were made specifically on the day in question as an insult to all involved. In other words the footage was taken out of context and used for low-level political purposes. The ploy worked in achieving negative political points however it does not change the fact that it was deliberately manufactured to do nothing more than lower the bar.
Ultimately I like to think of the Rotary four-way test. I don’t mean to drag Rotary into political shenanigans given the non-partisan nature of this outstanding volunteer organization but I do believe in the principles espoused by Rotary. Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it bring goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned? These are the questions from the Rotary 4 way test.
Granted it is perhaps naïve to expect all of these things in politics however I do believe that it is possible to disagree without being personal or resorting to low-level tactics. The upside is that there are many good people in the House and I was quite touched that yesterday MP Olivia Chow was kind enough to offer me some cough drops while I battle a particularly nasty cough. Hopefully next week we can instill a more respectful tone in the house and leave for the Holidays on a positive note.
In addition to his weekly MP Report. the Dan in Ottawa blog is another resource for residents of Okanagan-Coquihalla. Chronicling Dan’s personal experiences as he travels to Ottawa and throughout the riding as your MP.
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