January 29, 2013
Share this article
Cullen introduces initiative to bring civility back to Parliament
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JANUARY 29, 2013
OTTAWA - Today, Nathan Cullen introduced a motion in Parliament as part of his ongoing Civility Project to promote better decorum and more respect during debate in the House of Commons.
Citing a decline in decorum during House proceedings - especially during Question Period - Cullen called for Parliament to give the Speaker of the House more powers to penalize Members who abuse, harass or personally attack their fellow MPs. "To stand and speak in the House of Commons is an enormous privilege," said Cullen. "When we fail to do our jobs with respect and civility, MPs should lose that privilege."
In particular, Cullen's motion aims to give the Speaker the power to suspend MPs without pay when they heckle and make personal attacks. It would also give the Speaker the authority to revoke questions during Question Period when their Members are repeatedly out of order.
"The level of heckling in the House not only causes MPs to become disengaged, it also causes Canadians to lose faith and trust in their elected representatives," Cullen added. "We tell our kids in kindergarten not to behave this way, so why should we accept this kind of behaviour from MPs?"
Promoting civility in the House of Commons, and creating an environment for vibrant and respectful debate, was a legacy left to Canadians by the late Jack Layton. Cullen affirmed New Democrats' commitment to working to improve decorum in the House, but also called on the government and other parties to recognize this goal cannot be achieved by New Democrats alone.
The challenge, he said, is for everyone to commit to working to make things better. "We're trying to take the political headshots out of Parliament."
- 30 -
Contact: Hugh Pouliot, email@example.com, (613) 993-8662
Share this article