Roundup: Near-fisticuffs and self-serving narratives

The big news of the Commons yesterday was what appeared to be the near-outbreak of fisticuffs between Peter Van Loan and Thomas Mulcair (a spectacle Bob Rae later referred to as making “Sumo wrestling look like a fitness contest). Apparently once the votes were over – and the Speaker ruled against an NDP Point of Order that the Report Stage vote last night shouldn’t have counted because Jim Flaherty wasn’t there to move his own motion – Peter Van Loan crossed the floor, shaking his finger, and said something along the lines of “it was your fucking guy,” referencing an error made by Deputy Speaker Joe Comartin in the chair when that vote was taken last night, and that Cullen was being a hypocrite by making a big deal out of it. And Mulcair allegedly snapped back with “get the fuck back to your own side.” And MPs started rushing over until Peter MacKay and Paul Dewar broke it up before any punches could be thrown. Now, Van Loan doesn’t deny his choice of words, but other NDP MPs are claiming that Mulcair only told Van Loan not to threaten his House Leader. What this does, however, is set up a couple of counter-narratives, each of them self-serving. For the NDP, it’s that Van Loan and Harper’s gang are bullies – and we are in the midst of a crusade against bullying these days. For the Conservatives, it’s about Mulcair and his temper, citing an incident three years ago where it was Mulcair who crossed the floor and menaced Gerald Keddy in a similar manner. And then there is the crowd that is shaking their head and lamenting it all – or as Colby Cosh put it, “Wah wah wah parliamentarians get angry sometimes wah wah wah disgrace to democracy etc. etc.” Pretty much. Good thing there are a mere seven sitting days left.

Conservative MP Mark Warawa tried to get the conversation started on his private members’ motion about banning sex-selection abortions yesterday and tried to couch it in the language of protecting women and girls from violence. All of which is of course pure nonsense that doesn’t stand up to any form of logical consistency. And…cue the NDP claiming this is all part of the government’s secret agenda to ban abortion through the back door, despite the government’s and Harper’s personal assurances that this is not the case and they too want this shut down. (And once again, the NDP doesn’t answer if their private members’ business is subject to their leader’s approval).

Police busted a theft ring that uses trafficked individuals from Romania – and Jason Kenney showed up to claim that this is why his new refugee measures are needed, while he continued to spout selective facts conflated figures to justify them.

Apparently the Conservatives have had the KPMG report on the F-35 audit for a week now, but haven’t tabled it in the House while they “study” it. One wonders if they’ll manage to table it while there are still sitting days left in the calendar year.

The Conservatives have quietly kept regulations around gun serial numbers from coming into force – regulations that would keep us in compliance with international conventions against gun smuggling.

Some Conservative senators are listed as speakers-for-hire, charging between $5000 and $10,000 per speech. But so long as they’re not speaking as senators, it’s okay.

Nick Taylor-Vaisey looks at the tactics that MPs use to ensure that nobody can get a word in edgewise, which is totally how debate is supposed to work – right?

Here is your recap of last night’s political shows, and all of the talk about the almost-fisticuffs.

And Steve Murray gives us a proposed redrawing of provincial boundaries – just because.