Green Party Leader Elizabeth May said MPs’ rude antics during question period are turning voters off.
“Our House of Commons is not a game and people when they turn on question period are disgusted with Parliament,” May told reporters Thursday. “We wouldn’t permit [this behaviour] from our children. [MPs] are like a bunch of schoolyard bullies. They are like bags of testosterone bouncing off each other in the House of Commons. It’s not acceptable.”
All parties contribute to the “disrespectful” atmosphere, she said, but by far Conservative MPs are the worse when it comes to heckling, booing and name-calling.
“Not just because they are more of them but because they are persistently louder and persistently ruder,” she told reporters. “It’s not possible to watch [question period] without drawing this conclusion, it is not a partisan conclusion,” she added.
May frequently watches question period from up above in the diplomatic gallery. She said she knows that Government House leader John Baird is quite capable of cooperation but since Monday he has just sat there and smiled as his caucus heckles.
She called on every party leaders and the House of Commons Speaker Peter Milliken to enforce the rules that are already in place which forbid MPs from taking over one another.
MPs should not be interrupt each other and ministers should be forced to respond to questions in a relevant way, even if they are not obliged to provide “honest” answers, she said.
May believes if constituents were told of the rude comments their MPs make in Ottawa, it would serve a sanctioning method and shut them up. She pointed the finger at Pierre Poilievre and Dean Del Mastro.
The daily record of the House of Commons, Hansard, rarely identifies which members are heckling or exposes extreme examples of unparliamentarily behaviour in the chamber.