Letter to the Editor – The Senate is no place to protest By Stéphane Groulx – Cornwall Ontario – June 5, 2011

Letter to the Editor – The Senate is no place to protest  By Stéphane Groulx – Cornwall Ontario – June 5, 2011


There is a time and a place to protest, and during the throne speech on the Senate floor while theGovernor General is addressing the nation on behalf of the Prime Minister is definitely not the timeor place to have done so. As much as I and many other Canadians disagree with its existence, thebottom line is the Senate is still a federal institution, and we therefore need to conduct ourselves in anappropriate manner and with the utmost respect while there.

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Brigette Depape, the now infamous ex-parliamentary page who interrupted the speech to hold up apaper stop sign she had smuggled in with the words “Stop Harper” written with big bold letters shouldhave recognised the sanctity of the federal institution, and the position she held. She seems like aninformed, smart, and passionate young woman and I sincerely hope she comes to the realization thatshe has made an error in judgment and issues a formal apology.

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She was there to serve her country asa page; a job which requires oneself to somewhat practice a type of cognitive dissonance in regards toserving the government with respect, while unbiasedly maintaining one’s own separate political views.

In holding up her sign in protest, Brigitte Depape failed to acknowledge the sanctity of her job, and thesymbolism of what she was doing. There are rules we all must follow in this country, if she wanted toprotest she should have done so outside of the federal institution. Her actions were not courageousor heroic, they were spiteful and in bad taste. Being audaciously uncivil is not the way to efficientlyoppose Stephen Harper. The best way to effectively oppose PM Harper is to hold him to account for thepositions and actions his government will take under his leadership during the next four years.

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Stan
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Stan

Don’t hold your breath waiting for an apology Stephane, as you said “her actions were spiteful and in bad taste!”. As a society our young people seem to be losing respect for anything that isn’t about them! They throw caution to the wind and blindly lash out at all around them, even spoiling the day for a great number of young people who DID enjoy the Governor General reading the Throne Speech in the Senate. It was an honour to be there and everyones honour was so blatantly stepped-on by Brigitte DePape. Now tell me, how democratic was that?

mikel
Guest
mikel

In short, she should have protested where it could be sure that nobody would have noticed. Part of the problem in this country is the idea that ANY political office is ‘hallowed halls’. Now, if she had run naked through the chamber screaming then I would have been both more entertained, and more inclined to think that she had broken ‘decorum’. As it was, she said nothing she wore a tie, and stood silently with a sign and left when ordered to. If only our elected (and unelected) politicians would learn such decorum.

left-or-right
Member

The Harper government and its leader have shown nothing but contempt for the Canadian electorate. Harper himself has made a mockery of the Senate so please don’t start with the sanctity of the institution. It has become dysfunctional a., wasteful, and completely redundant under his spiteful leadership. Yet when this young Canadian chose to stand in silent protest it spoke volumes to what many of the silenced majority is actually thinking. To the right she is a villain, but many Canadians see through the Harper government and as such do not like what we see. To many of us, Brigette… Read more »

Furtz
Guest
Furtz

Had Ms. Depape held up that sign last summer at the G20 summit, Harper’s police would have arrested her and locked her up. Good for her!

PJ Robertson
Member
PJ Robertson

Not the time or place. But “spiteful”? Give me a break. That word belongs to Harper.

Stéphane
Guest
Stéphane

Allow me to kindly reply to as many of you as I possibly can… Stan you said “As a society our young people seem to be losing respect for anything that isn’t about them” I don’t think this has anything to do with her being young. There are a lot of young people like myself, do not fit that stereotype, and are as politically active within the rules as possible. Now Left-or-Right, you said “Harper himself has made a mockery of the Senate so please don’t start with the sanctity of the institution” I agree with you, if you read… Read more »

Stéphane
Guest
Stéphane

Update: Left-or-Right, after careful review, I noticed I made reference to the sanctity of federal institution, which was a statement concerning the manner of which someone should act, and express themselves while within the Parliament buildings; which in effect is a collective statement in regards to both current houses of the governing body in Ottawa.

SWP
Guest
SWP

Growing up, we were always taught about what a hero Ghandi was for his use of civil disobedience to protest the government of India. While this girl is certainly no Ghandi, it seems like a double standard to view her as spiteful while Mohandas was heroic. You can also be sure her message would not have reached national headlines if she had held up that sign outside of the Parliament buildings. The election may be over, but the Conservative majority is just beginning it’s term in office, and Ms. Depape’s actions have kept us in tune to the goings on… Read more »

Garfield
Guest
Garfield

Although I feel Harper absolute is best and most logical choice over Layton or Ignatieff, I at first saw the actions of Brigette in a naive light. Initially of someone speaking up, voicing opinion and taking action, regardless if their opinion and belief is contrary to my own. My naivety was result of my belief too few people speak up and voice opinion with politics and national affairs. Upon reflection I realize her actions are definitely not to be admired nor promoted in that it happened in the sanctity of the Senate. I got to thinking how as a Page… Read more »

Reg
Guest

And the Bombastic Award goes to…….Garfield!

Garfield
Guest
Garfield

My first reaction was kudos to Brigette for speaking up and voicing her opinion. Upon further reflection and deeper thought I realized my knee jerk reaction was not with consideration of other aspects. Those that are anti-Harper, anti-establishment, strongly to the left will absolute applaud and perchance even give her standing ovation. To me that is of little substance as it is from a partisan crowd. Of more telling substance is what percentage of the more moderate and in the middle applaud her actions. That of course is something I do not know. Michael Moore can applaud just as I… Read more »

left-or-right
Member

As usual Garfield makes some sense, yet he fails to recognize the absolute disdain in which many, many Canadians feel about this particular government, the way it has portrayed us to the world, and the way it has treated the opposition, which includes the majority of the electorate. I believe that never before in the history of Canada have more Canadians spoken out in more ways against the elected government. It speaks volumes. This is not our parents Conservatives, for if it were this form of protest may never have evolved; there would be no reason for it. As long… Read more »

Garfield
Guest
Garfield

Regardless of the politics or disdain for Harper it does not make the actions of this Parliamentary Page to behave in such manner to be acceptable by any yardstick of measurement. We had a election under established and accepted rules. The electorate has given a mandate. By those standards a mandate was given… indeed a increase in seats each election Harper ran and this time a majority mandate. To not agree with Harper and conservative policies is democracy and personal privilege, however our society is with socially accepted ways to express ourselves and with privilege to do so with tolerance… Read more »

Roy Berger
Member

Brigette Depape’s behaviour is certainly acceptable. It is the yardstick by which many will measure her generation. A country may make the mistake of voting fascists in but, as our parents’ and grand parent’s generation proved, – there is but one way to get them and their appointments out. It wasn’t through signs or voting.

PJ Robertson
Member
PJ Robertson

Thank you for the English lesson, Stéphane. Of course, the word “belongs” may apply infinitely depending on context. In this context, let’s say “spiteful” belongs to Harper in the sense that, given his position, he has by certain actions (e.g. treatment of Helena Guergis) made the word peculiarly his own. Of course that doesn’t mean Harper has a monopoly on “spiteful”. Anyone can be spiteful, if they behave like Harper.

PJ Robertson
Member
PJ Robertson

PS: Stéphane: no way was Ms DePape being spiteful. Disrespectful perhaps, but not spiteful. Comprenez-vous la différence?

Garfield
Guest
Garfield

@Chain Reaction: There are multiple perspectives with events in life. Granted many applaud Brigette and condone her actions, especially leftists and anti-Harperites; thankfully many also do not and see a bigger picture. Going to the extreme even atrocities are with it’s supporters. There are zealots on the left with obvious bias. There are zealots on the right with equally obvious bias. The opinions in either camp are entrenched and very seldom change or with compromise. The opinions and viewpoints are known in advance because it is blatantly partisan. Thankfully there is also a much larger grouping in the middle. The… Read more »

Roy Berger
Member

You haven’t seen anything extreme, Garfield. October was extreme. Reason, logic and science have fled both Health Canada and our worthy elders to find refuge in tyranny. That group in the middle will get hit by the first truck speeding into the passing lane.

Emile Durkheim said,” Nothing up my sleeve. Sixty-percent cognitive dissonance in my hat.”

Rocky and Bullwinkle said, “Laura Secord had a cow. Bridgette Depape had a stop sign. Same message. The enemy is coming, there is no where to hide. Stand.”

flipper
Guest
flipper

A young lady quietly gets up in front of a lazy collection of bagmen, cronies and toadies and suggests stopping Harper… well good for her. It is a pitiful and false bunch of arguments above that would liken her actions, to anything other than peaceful civil disobedience. And it’s a frustrated pile of useless baggage salivating for revenge that must swallow its own bitter spit, for there is no excuse or justification to do her harm. And the letter to the editor that leads this pile of wind and whimper, is a self contradictory piece of trash. The author purports… Read more »

Garfield
Guest
Garfield

Perhaps you are correct with your prophecy of what awaits. The sabre rattling of the left is not of concern to me. At present I am fed up by a number of aspects of the left, especially during Chretien’s era. Ignatieff certainly fixed the Liberal mindset “they are the anoited ones to govern”. Thank you Mr. Ignatieff. The Bloc has for now been decimated and that is a bonus. As for Layton I shall make no comment but will say I am curious how he handles the unexpected surprise of his Quebec caucus which he absolute will cater to. If… Read more »

Garfield
Guest
Garfield

Hmmm, very eloquent verbosity Mr. Flipper.

Furtz
Guest
Furtz

I was wondering about the picture of the senator at the top of the article.

Stan
Member
Stan

flipper is beginning to smell like fish…….

Stephane
Member
Stephane

Flipper: I don’t understand what your referring to when you say the owner of this letter has never turned down a pay cheque, or a dinner at “our” expense. The Senator (Mike Duffy) is not the author of the letter….I am, a young franco-ontarien, left-of-centre minded individual and prospective university student born and raised in Cornwall, ON…

Stephane
Member
Stephane

@PJR Alright, I’ll concede, I’ve always seen spiteful as a synonym of disrespectful. I apologize for the blunt and harsh words I threw your way, I was unjustly defensive when I shouldn’t have been. I also agree with you. Harper has done far worse to Canadians than the actions of Miss DePape, hell Brigitte and I would probably have a lot I common, I just a a stronger sense of order, probably comes from the service-before-self mentality I was taught during my military training during the 2 years I was a reservist.

Stephane
Member
Stephane

Oh I hear you, doing what she did must have been hard for her, and she probably rationalized about the whole things for a long time before making the ultimate decision to go forward with it. It was just not in my opinion, the smartest of actions to take. If It is for the same reasons I as an Atheist would not hold a “there is no god” sign in the middle of a Christmas mass. It would certain be extremly gutsy, and require me to be very brave to hold such a sign during the x-mas mass, but would… Read more »

Stephane
Member
Stephane

*there should be no “If” at the beginning of the sentence “It is for the same reasons I as an Atheist would not hold a “there is no god” sign in the middle of a Christmas mass” my mistake, sorry typing too fast on my keyboard 😛

Roy Berger
Member

Golly gee guys, are we going back to propagating the old left/right falsehoods? Sorry. I didn’t know. All groups enjoy clean air and water and peace. Many concepts and needs cross all political lines. No need to enhance the experience of opposition with those. The liberty of the group to extinguish the liberty of the individual is not a left right issue. It’s an issue. All persuasions benefit from a balanced cheque book. Incorporating religious belief into law, taking a government stand in the bedroom, throwing away national borders is more than just a quiet drift into dark politics. Wikileaks… Read more »

left-or-right
Member

What I perceive from some views posted here and elsewhere on comment boards all over Canada is now that Harper has a majority of seats the members of the disenfranchised electorate no longer have the right to protest or vocalize their objections to what they perceive to be attacks on their values and beliefs. So many of the right wing pundits gloating over their recent victory, have trashed the views of the centrist left to left minded electorate, branding them as nothing more than sour grapes or the mindless ranting of leftist kooks, commie pinkos, zealots, baby killers, atheists, and… Read more »

PJ Robertson
Member
PJ Robertson

Gracious words, Stéphane. Merci, pas grave.

Eloquently said, left-or-right, and right on. Ms. DePape has taken a lead in speaking for democracy in Canada, and we must follow her lead at every appropriate opportunity.