Friday, June 03, 2011


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.


  1. Regarding the astounding act of courage and civil disobedience by Brigette DePape. Others have written in calling her all manner of names. This is deplorable. Her actions, which speak volumes about freedom of speech and freedom of expression, are at worst, a minor infraction of the law (which it shouldn't be) and at best, laudable. In answer to all those who disagree with with her, I forward the following notes, written by Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi, at the beginning of the non-violent protest movement, dated (from what I have been able to determine) September 11, 1906.

    "Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state has become lawless or corrupt. And a citizen who barters with such a state shares in its corruption and lawlessness...Every citizen is responsible for every act of his government...There is only one sovereign remedy, namely, non-violent non-cooperation. Whether we advertise the fact or not, the moment we cease to support the government it dies a natural death....My method is conversion, not coercion, it is self-suffering, not the suffering of the tyrant....I hope the real Swaraj (self-rule) will come not by the acquisition of authority by the few but by the acquisition by all of the courage to resist authority when abused. In other words, Swaraj is to be attained by education the masses to a sense of their capacity to regulate and control authority.... Civil disobedience is the assertion of a right which law should give but which it denies...Civil disobedience presupposes willing obedience of our self-imposed rules, and without it civil disobedience would be cruel joke....Civil disobedience means capacity for unlimited suffering without the intoxicating excitement of killing....Disobedience to be civil has to be open and nonviolent....Disobedience to be civil implies discipline, thought, care, ttention...Disobedience that is wholly civil should never provoke retaliation....Non-cooperation and civil disobedience are different but [are] branches of the same tree call Satyagraha (truth-force).... Coercion cannot but result in chaos in the end....One who uses coercion is guilty of deliberate violence. Coercion is inhuman....Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as cooperation with good... Nonviolent action without the cooperation of the heart and the head cannot produce the intended result....All through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall, always."

    I believe that such a movement is necessary today, in Canada, It is the ONLY way (short of violence) that the government is going to get the message that a majority of seats in the House is not enough - you must also win the hearts of a majority of people.

  2. If you really intend to compare Brigitte DePape to Ghandi, you're a moron.

  3. Constitutionwriter:

    Our political system is set up such that you must win the hearts and minds of a plurality of people, not a majority. This seemed to be just fine for all of the Prime Ministers back to Lester Pearson, none of whom received your coveted majority of the hearts and all of whom created and instituted incredibly damaging social programs built on the intergenerational transfer of wealth from their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

    Depape isn't smart enough to use Ghandi as a justification and you shouldn't be attempting to ascribe those noble words to her. Her actions weren't noble, they were the actions of a university graduate who realizes that her chosen degree is useless in a country where the federal government will be undergoing a seismic shift towards efficiency and smaller government. In short, her actions are a reflection of the selfish desire to ensure that she can get a government job that sets her up until retirement. That's all her degree is good for, and that's the only motive she had.

  4. ... and for the record, she SHOULD be charged and convicted with Contempt of Parliament for no other reason than to ensure that she can never get a job in government again.

  5. She probably won't be eligible for a job in Parliament. Her stunt was also a breach of security, and so she likely would not pass the security check.

    So sad.


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