OTTAWA — It's not every day the Speaker of the House of Commons stands up to condemn heckling only to be heckled in turn by the misbehaving MPs.
But that's what happened during Tuesday's question period — just the second of 2016.
As usual, the Conservatives heckled loudly. The NDP — led by leader Thomas Mulcair — showed they have given up their old promises not to heckle and enthusiastically joined the crowd. The Liberals weren't without blame either.
House Speaker Geoff Regan calls out hecklers during question period Tuesday. (Photo: Screengrab)
But the NDP's action may be most surprising. The party once ran a petition campaign, calling heckling "harassing" personal attacks, and "counterproductive behaviour" in the Commons that derails debates.
The noise was so bad new that House Speaker Geoff Regan — who has made it his mission to make the Commons a more civilized place — stood up to say he was hearing noise "from more than one side" and that it was "not a good sign."
"I know we would rather have no noise from no sides. If we could all co-operate, that would help," he said. As Regan went on talking about the Commons as the "crucible of democracy" and a place for "vigorous debate," the Tory caucus loudly heckled.
"The test of an idea is not how loud the applause is or whether it is a standing ovation."
"It is a place where ideas are tested, but the test of an idea is not how loud the applause is or whether it is a standing ovation, nor is it whether it can withstand rude interruption. The test is time," he continued.
Elizabeth May unhappy
After QP, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, who sits behind the NDP caucus, stood up to remind her misbehaving colleagues that House rules make it an offence both to interrupt members when they are speaking and to be disrespectful to members.
"I would like to see some respect for our rules and decorum in this place … because in the noise, I could not hear members' questions and ministers' answers," she said.
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