Friday, December 05, 2008

Parliament in the Penalty Box

You would think that the current clusterf*** in the House of Commons might break my blogging hiatus. It's been a busy week for me, though, so I've been limited to brief paragraphs on Facebook and trying to stay on top of the whole charade.

I could summarize what's been going on but I think I'll just link to others who've already done a good job with that, including Mad Jenny and interestingly, The Yarn Harlot, who gives a very clear and non-partisan summary of the scenario (thanks to Azura for the tip).

I have my own personal opinion on the matter, of course, but I respect the right of others to disagree and present their own arguments in defence of their stance.

Except when they lie.

This is Bob Dechert, Member of Parliament for Mississauga-Erindale, and a member of the Conservative Party of Canada.

Mr. Dechert has been among the more vocal members of the Conservative caucus (including the Prime Minister) in denouncing the Liberal-NDP coalition. In doing so, he misrepresents our system of government by calling it a "coup" on his website, and referring to it "as close to treason and sedition as I can imagine" in the international press.

According to his biography on his campaign website (whose direct link was removed from the homepage overnight for some reason), Mr. Dechert is a lawyer with over twenty years of experience in Canadian and British law. He has no excuse for not knowing how our parliamentary system of democracy works. Thus, I felt compelled to send him the following letter:

Dear Mr. Dechert,

I understand in times like these, partisan rhetoric can become passionate or even inflamed above the usual level of political discourse. This does not excuse our elected representatives from misrepresenting our system of government to the citizens, as you have done.

I would expect a man of your experience in both Canadian and British law to understand how our parliamentary democracy functions, instead of throwing around inaccurate terms like "coup" on your website, or "treason" and "sedition" as reported here in the International Herald Tribune:

I thought a "conservative" was one who respected our ancient institutions and traditions, not one who held them in contempt. There are more rational ways to argue your position without willfully obfuscating the laws and traditions of this country.

I've spoken with Conservative Party members who do understand how our system of government works. They have legitimate arguments against the coalition. But if Mr. Dechert and Prime Minister Harper and their fellow travellers believe this sort of stance is "conservative", well then George Washington was a loyal subject of His Majesty King George III.

I might try to summarize my views on the matter later but for now, Rick Mercer gets to the heart of it for me: