Brigitte DePape could be charged with contempt of Parliament
When (now former) Senate Page Brigitte DePape seized the national spotlight today by holding up a "Stop Harper" sign on the Senate floor during the speech from the throne, Canada's far left should have been hoping that DePape would have something truly unique and worthwhile to say.
Instead, during an appearance on CBC's Power & Politics, DePape spouted the same exhausted demagogic rhetoric that failed to win the 2011 election, running through the same "Stephen Harper disrespects Canada" rhetoric back-to-back while tacitly refusing to answer any questions.
"Harper's agenda is disastrous for this country and for my generation," DePape declared in a press release. "We have to stop him from wasting billions on fighter jets, military bases, and corporate tax cuts while cutting social programs and destroying the climate. Most people in this country know what we need are green jobs, better medicare, and a healthy environment for future generations."
To anyone who doesn't actually follow Canadian politics, these charges would seem alarming indeed. Cutting social programs is a tough political sell for any government.
To anyone who has paid attention to Canadian politics, these charges seem comically alien to anything resembling fact. The brutal social program cuts forecasted when Prime Minister Stephen Harper first took office have never materialized. No such cuts were called for in the throne speech.
As it turns out, DePape just doesn't have what the far-left despeartely wishes she has to offer: just some disjointed ramblings about the need for an "Arab spring" in Canada. (We just had what those rising up in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya want: an election. No "Arab spring" required.)
All she has to offer the far-left -- and they will gleefully accept it -- is selfish demagogic glory-hounding and genuine contempt for Parliament.
In fact, in disrupting the speech from the throne could be construed as impeding Parliament in its role. After all, Parliament must pass a motion adopting the speech from the throne, and if they're distracted from it, they've been impeded.
Considering the far-left's disingenuous penchant for declaring the Conservative government to have been in contempt of Parliament, it seems like a good opportunity to educate them on a genuine case of contempt of Parliament. Call it a teachable moment for Canada's far-left.
Quite naturally, they won't be happy about it.
They won't clue into the fact that it isn't about DePape's politics: she's entitled to them. It's about her actions. It isn't her job as a Parliamentary Page to use her job to oppose the Conservative agenda. It's her job to help Parliament function, not impede it.
It's very different from the opposition approach, wherein contempt was based largely on the government's politics, not on its actions. (When you can't convince Ned Franks -- one of the top advocates of Parliamentary privilege in the Commonwealth -- of the virtue of the complaints, you haven't got a prayer.)
This doesn't necessarily mean that DePape should be charged with contempt of Parliament. Frankly, it does seem petty. Then again, so is running up some truly candy-ass "contempt" complaints, then ramming them through a Partisan committee out of sheer political desperation.
It is a stark reminder of the far-left's approach to Parliamentary contempt. If it's from their side it's to be applauded. If it's from conservatives, it's to be fictionalized.
Which is also a remidner of who really has contempt for Canadians.