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Parliamentary fisticuffs


Theres a lot that went on in Parliament last month that most Canadians probably didnt hear about. For example, on May 28, opposition and governing MPs traded blows during a heated parliamentary debate on constitutional changes being pushed by the prime minister.

Theres a lot that went on in Parliament last month that most Canadians probably didnt hear about.

For example, on May 28, opposition and governing MPs traded blows during a heated parliamentary debate on constitutional changes being pushed by the prime minister.

Three weeks earlier, members of parliament threw punches, sprayed water and wrestled with one another in a dispute over an electoral reform bill. Two MPs were injured and one taken to the hospital in that melee.

You probably never heard about those incidents because they happened in Turkey and Taiwan, respectively.

Instead, what Canadians get is much less severe. The most disruptive these rowdy men and women get is dueling drum solos at their seats when one of their colleagues has outsmarted a member from another party.

Sometimes we get to laugh when MPs make personal cracks, like when BonavistaGanderGrand Falls-Windsor MP Scott Simms is pierced by the sharp wit of fellow Newfoundlander Loyola Hearn, when the St. Johns SouthMount Pearl MP jokes about Mr. Simms height.

But even the short MP said the quips arent anything to be short-fused about.

Occasionally and rarely we watch with eyes glued to the tube when Parliament mimics a soap opera, like when Foreign Affairs Minister Peter McKay, the MP left heartbroken when his blonde beau Belinda Stronach bolted for the Liberals, was accused of comparing his ex-girlfriend to a canine. He denied the allegation.

But even if he did say it, the ministers bark is certainly much worse than his bite.

If the most rambunctious this crowd gets is discretely making dog references about an ex-girlfriend and jokes about other members height, its hardly an argument to label them a brash bunch.

Unfortunately, we also get MPs approving extra money for themselves and senators for trips all over the world.

According to a Globe and Mail story last week, our elected members and appointed senators approved a $1.2 million raise to increase funding to $4 million for junkets and other perks for parliamentary committees.

In other words, thats more money to travel to faraway places to discuss whatever business seems necessary to discuss in person rather than via teleconference.

The paper stated 54 delegations of MPs and senators travelled around the world last year on its approximately $3-million budget.

Seems like good work if you can get it.

Perhaps its time our officials start letting their tempers get the best of them. Theres no need to follow in the footsteps of their foreign colleagues and duke it out over a dispute whether or not to put more money into summer student employment job creation, but a few heated exchanges will make Parliament a little more exciting with a few more heated moments.

And probably a lot cheaper, too.

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