Wednesday, November 23, 2011

“Some honourable members: No.”

On Wednesday November 2 Members of the House of Commons stood to mark the start of Veterans Week. As appropriate the Hon. Steve Blainey, Minister of Veterans Affairs, started off with a speech recognizing the contribution of so many men and women who served in the Canadian Forces over the decades. He was followed by Peter Stoffer (NDP) and Sean Casey (Lib) who both paid their respects.

However when Louis Plamondon (BQ) rose to pay tribute to Canada’s veterans some Conservative members (unidentified) refused the unanimous consent required in order for him to be allowed to speak.

In pressing his case Mr. Plamondon said:

“Mr. Speaker, I would like to seek unanimous consent once again, as dean of this House, as a member of this House. Like all other members, I would like to pay tribute to veterans on behalf of the four members of my party. I also ask on behalf of the Green Party. I do not see this as a partisan act. I see it simply as a noble gesture in order to say to those individuals who went and fought, and those who gave their lives, that we pay tribute to them.

How is it that I cannot get unanimous consent? This is not meant to be a precedent that I will use any other time. Today is a special day. That is all. I simply want to pay tribute to veterans, like everyone else, as we have always done.

I am seeking unanimous consent and I appeal to the Conservative members to grant it. It is only fair. The minister said in his speech that this House is a symbol of our freedom and democracy. He said that. I think I should have the right to speak.”

To which the Honourable(?) Gordon O’Connor responded:

“Mr. Speaker, the Standing Orders say, in response to a minister's statement, that only members of recognized parties can make statements. The Bloc is not a recognized party.”

Whether you agree with the BQ or not (and I don’t) the fact that the HarperCons refused to let them recognize the sacrifices of veterans on behalf of the thousands of Canadians (some being veterans themselves) who elected them is an appalling affront to not only all Canadians but the brave men and women who have served this country so honourably in the past.

To say I am disgusted would be an understatement.

If you want to follow the whole sorry affair, here’s the link to Hansard: Scroll to the 1520 mark.

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