06.06.2011 06:46 AM

Oh, for the love of DePape

She’s a kid, for Pete’s sakes.  A kid.

I led a student protest on Parliament Hill, many years ago – against a Liberal government, no less – and I probably said some things that were over-the-top, too (actually, now that I think of it, I haven’t really stopped in the intervening years).

For all these columnist guys who have been bashing/tut-tutting Brigette DePape for the past few days, I ask you: if the rest of us were permitted to poke through your high school-university yearbooks, poetry and poli sci essays, what gems would we unearth?



  1. Anne Peterson says:

    Must. Must. Must. Main stream writers are all saying she must respect parliament. The government must be respectful of Canadians but it isn’t. The government must be open and honest but it isn’t. The government must reflect Canadian’s wishes, but it doesn’t. The government must not lie to Canadians and hide things from them but it does. The government must not show contempt for Canadians and parliament, but it does.

    And the media. Well they are like that fellow who lost his memory. Contemptuous and dishonest things are forgotten every day. Bruce Carson, contempt of parliament – oh, that’s forgotten, we won’t remember it. We’ll behave as though everything is hunky dory and the government doesn’t have only the 24% of eligible votes it really does have. How disrespectful is that.

    Parliament belongs to the people. That chamber doesn’t belong to the Governor General, or to the politicians or to the senators or to the dignitaries there. It belongs to the people. They pay for it. Everything that has gone on with the senate lately has been disrespectful of the people but this. What Brigette did is honourable and honest for a change.

    • Philip says:

      Like Contempt of Parliament dishonorable? Or some 21 year old kid showed more guts in 20 seconds than the entire Conservative caucus will ever posses in a lifetime dishonorable?

  2. Philip says:

    I have to admit I loved the harumphing and finger wagging from Mr. Layton, no small expert at spotlight grabbing himself. There was a time when this young lady would have been embraced by the NDP as one of their own. Apparently a new day has dawned. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, eh Jack?

  3. Mike says:

    In dictionary under: courage of her convictions: Depape

  4. bigcitylib says:

    Hardly anymore over the top than some of the stuff coming from the adult MPs that participated in elexn 41.

  5. Paul R Martin says:

    The kid was wrong; however, a lot of the critical comments were directed at Heather Mallick’s defense of the kid in the Red Star. As an adult, Mallick should know better; however, Mallick seems to live in a strange world created in her own head. If Mallick had not written the column, the kid would have received much less criticism.

  6. Kyle Lambert says:

    Ordinarily respectable writers of all stripes are embarrassing themselves over this one. The tut-tutting of the political news masses (Wells, Silver, etc) over the act of one undergrad are both hilarious and kind of sad. These guys pretend to have their finger on the pulse of the nation, but are so insular and Ottawa-centric in their thinking that an event like this (shaming Parliament, the horror!) is given far more press than it deserves, all so that such writers can feel good about themselves.

    Serious lads, get over yourselves!

  7. wassup says:

    “She’s a kid” my a$$.

    In the 1980s I was a commissioned officer at 21 with a platoon of teenagers to lead. None of were as entitled as her, military service in Canada has never been the chosen path of our national liberal elites.

    None of us had the luxury of “choosing” which legally elected leaders we would obey, and none of us were considered heroes for doing our job. In fact we were mostly insulted. Usually some 40 year old man would call me or one of my men a “baby killer” on any given remembrance day parade. People who were devotees of the Liberal Party, followers of the great “I’m too important to die fighting in WWII” Trudeau were the worst.

    This “kid” attacked the most important institution of our democracy. She did it while Canadian “kids” her age are being asked to risk their lives all over this planet by that parliament.

    She is a product of the Madrasah of Ottawa, an institution that is in crisis. This young womyn was brainwashed by a group of liberal University of Ottawa elites and then set loose to reek havoc. Excusing her behavior is no excuse at all.

    • Greg says:

      Take a pill dude. The kid had a sign. She didn’t attack anything but your brain.

      • Wassup, Junior says:

        People are willing to die to defend that parliament. It took thousands of years and rivers of tears & blood to build. Our Parliament is what protects sentient humans from rule by the animals who walk among us. This is the one thing in life not worth chilling over.

        War-Man may have protested in his youth, but he was presumably a more or less private citizen at the time, not a trusted member of the parliamentary staff.

        • Attack! says:

          and yet so many — millions — of you same people with knickers a-twisted over her little sign of protest in one of the hallowed Halls of Parliament apparently thought nothing of the demonstrable contempt of Parliament the CPC administration showed to Both Houses of Parliament by refusing to provide adequate costing information for their crime bills and planned military jets procurement, and to explain how, when, why and by whom an international aid organization was denied federal funding…. the critics of that were ridiculed and told to chill, and the Government was rewarded for it with reelection. Talk about Stockholm Syndrome.

        • Robin says:

          “Our Parliament is what protects sentient humans from rule by the animals who walk among us” … really? Ask Aboriginal peoples how Parliament has protected them. Hint: it hasn’t. But thanks for the sermon of self-righteousness.

      • Philip says:

        That’s it Lame 90s Catchphrase Senior, get your panties in a bunch over a simple little sign. She protested in a civil manner, got fired (which I agree with BTW) and took her consequences of her actions like an adult. Don’t like her message, too bad. It’s called freedom of speech, deal with it. Oh and while you are at it, spare us the military sacrifice, more Canadian than thou horseshit. Some of us on this board also have served in the CF but are adult enough not to have to wrap ourselves in the flag to score points on an proto-blog.

    • Jon Adams says:


      Were you paid for this comment, or was your dad?

    • Michael says:

      When did the Senate become the most important institution of our democracy???

      And if you want to get over the top, which you obviously do, her “attack” pales in comparision to the “attacks” on our democracy by the Harper government.

    • E. Lindsay says:

      Thankyou Wassup – you said it far better than I could.

  8. I respectfully disagree, Warren.

    She had this whole thing prepped out for maximum coverage including a press release and contact information. She’s also twenty-one and has a degree. She might be still relatively green in the ways of the world, but she’s learned how to get her fifteen minutes of fame. Frankly, her call for Canadians to have our own version of an Arab spring is either the height of comedy or pathetic, I haven’t yet decided which. How precisely are Canadians oppressed along the lines of what drove Arabs to risk their lives to have what Ms. DePape has enjoyed all her life? What kind of oppression has a university educated woman in a wealthy democratic country faced that can compare with living under Gaddafi or Mubarek or the Syrian leadership? Anyone? Anyone? The most oppression Ms. DePape has experienced is along the lines of the inconvenience of losing your Internet connection for ten hours.

    She put herself out there. She invited the scrutiny. Let her be scrutinized.

  9. W.B. says:

    The media elites don’t like young women with courage. Recall how they poured disdain and ridicule on Mary Ellen Brousseau, the “Vegas girl”, and University Pub worker, and single mom, who put her name on a ballot and got elected legit, in the system. It didn’t make that much difference did it?
    I wonder if DePape looked at Brousseau’s treatment and said “What the Hell??
    But right or wrong, phenomenal courage is what you can’t take away from DePape, but the elites, who never show that quality, won’t cut her any slack for that or her youth as you suggest.
    Finally, Rob Silver who writes on this in the Globe, shows a lot about what’s wrong with the Liberals these days. He should just join the Conservatives. I for one, won’t be paying any attention to him on anything from now on.

    • Warren says:

      Rob’s business partner is the Big Tobacco lobbyist who runs the Hudak campaign, FYI.

      • Pedro says:

        Recall how they rained down disdain on Sarah Palin?
        Bueller? Bueller?
        Let’s open up the debate!

        • smelter rat says:

          Are you referring to the half term governor of Alaska? She’s not a kid, and possibly not even a sentient life form.

        • Attack! says:

          What, there was something amiss in both the press and the comedians noting how badly informed this 40-something former State Governor is, who was on the Presidential ticket and quite possibly could have become the most powerful person in the world (given McCain’s age)?!

          And you’re somehow equating that with all the scorn this 21 year-old gofer is receiving for her one little moment in the sun, which was basically to try to encourage more youth to vote to try to stop the Conservatives from getting a mandate from just one quarter of the eligible population?

          That’s some perspective you middle-aged, get off my lawn old farts have. An ugly, self-serving one.

  10. Transplanted Doerite says:

    Would it qualify as very punk of her? She was almost in proper punk attire, after all 😉

    My daughter joins the HoC page team in the Fall. Her response to the DePape incident was “WTF?!” So, I guess she’ll have the job long enough to help pay for some tuition, books and beer.

    What an exciting time to be on the Hill!

  11. Sean says:

    Agreed… Possibly the most boring, meaningless, overhyped story of the year.

  12. Ottawacon says:

    It was a breach of trust that shows a fundamental lack of respect for institutions that most of the rest of us deem to be democratic, because she did not like the outcomes. Maybe over-hyped, but it speaks volumes that one of the unions for the supposedly politically neutral civil service wishes to hire her. Presumably they would feel equally supportive of unelected bureaucrats who breached Cabinet confidence because they disliked those outcomes?

    • Robin says:

      “a fundamental lack of respect for institutions that most of the rest of us deem to be democratic” … c’mon, is the Senate really democratic? Haven’t both the NDP and CPC been arguing for years that it isn’t democratic at all?

  13. The Other Jim says:

    It was an inventive stunt. I don’t agree with DePape’s opinions and found the “Arab Spring” comparison to be offensive, but isn’t that the point of being a 21 year old idealist? To shock 40 year old guys with mortgages, kids, and doughy waistlines?

    The commentary on both sides has been ridiculous (if I hear her described as brave one more time I think I’ll puke), but when aren’t the pundits sounding like morons these days?

    • Michael says:

      To paraphrase Benjamin Disraeli:

      If you don’t pull a stunt like this before you are 30, you have no heart. If you pull a stunt like this after you are 30, you have to brains.

    • Cath says:

      well said other jim – I agree.

      the “Arab Spring” comment worries me a bit and wondering if she’s a young woman who struggled with in her World History class or is her interpretation typical?

      The media fawning is typical of the usual suspects with nothing to do.

  14. nic coivert says:

    What she did was admirable.

    And all that shit about respecting parliament is hooey, Harper himself doesn’t respect parliament, in fact, he was guilty of Contempt for Parliament.

  15. JStanton says:

    Damn, I’d be a proud parent, if my child cared that much, and had that much courage to act.

    I’m increasingly delighted and relieved at the social conscience and political awareness of youth. I hope, desperately, that they are able to coalesce as a political force to effect real change to the corrupt, parasitic and abusive world-wide body politic.

    God knows, the boomer generation, despite the new awareness that occurred during the sixties, simply stopped bothering at some point, and turned into their parents, instead of pursuing the promise of a new world order. That’s Mr. Fifties in a nutshell. Focus on yesterday’s problems, and use solutions developed the day before. Build prisons, so that we can fill them, increase military capabilities, so that we can fight more often, decrease corporate taxes so that workers can pay more, and, above all, silence women and minorities, so that they have to do as they are told.

    Maybe there is a silver lining in this. Just as Mr. Martin begat Mr. Harper, as Canada is moved by Mr. Fifties increasingly out of alignment with the scientific reasoning that forms the basis of advanced societies the world over, and poverty here becomes an epidemic, the effects of all this may be just the catalyst needed for a party and leader to arise and generate support to finally enable the paradigm shift we have been waiting 50 years for.


    • The Doctor says:

      “and poverty here becomes an epidemic”

      I’m curious — are our poverty rates in Canada rising? What is our official poverty rate? Can it be shown that it has risen significantly since Harper became PM?

      • ottawacon says:

        No, it is about the same as it was in 2005, though I suspect we will see a minor uptick in the next round of data in light of the economic situation. It did increase in the period 1994-2005.

        However, ‘poverty becomes an epidemic’ is just silly. Canadian real incomes are increasing about as well as anywhere in the world. Further, ‘poverty rates’ as usually measured are mathematically impossible to eliminate because they are defined by % of the average income – they do not reflect the ability of the society to provide for its citizens. Put more simply, if we all tripled our income in 2012, the poverty rate would remain unchanged.

      • Jerome Bastien says:

        Tsk tsk. What are you a reactionary bourgeois or something? You’re not supposed to ask these questions. Criticism of Harper is like global warming, you’re just supposed to accept the conclusions of our betters without justification.

        Besides, when you see a doozie like “out of alignment with the scientific reasoning that forms the basis of advanced societies the world over”, the proper thing to do is to walk away from the computer and rinse your eyes with soap.

  16. patrick Deberg says:

    Micheal Moore should do a movie on her !! Call it ” Harper, not a love story!! “

  17. The other George says:

    Miss dePape exercised her right to freedom of expression and should be applauded for it.

    Anybody can express themselves, but when under duress or threat, then those that express themselves are truly show conviction, whether you agree with them or not.

    To say otherwise, puts you in the group that thinks asking only 5 questions is OK.

    Besides, what “law” did she break? Convention? Maybe. Understanding? Perhaps. Some code of conduct? I would not be surprised. But, what criminal act did she breach?

  18. Scotty Rowe says:

    She got her fifteen minutes of fame, which was fourteen more than it warranted, and I suspect that was the whole idea. Her little giggle-fest on Question Period with Jane Taber was sad to watch. I haven’t heard such a vapid exchange since Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie did that stupid TV show a few years back.

    I just think that it was the wrong place and the wrong time. It is no less wrong than if one of those Tea Party nuts had done the same thing during a State of the Union address, holding a “Stop Obama” sign.

    I wonder if she would have ended up on Question Period, or any other mainstream news show, if her sign had said something right-wing, like “Abortion Kills Children,” or “Scrap Government-run Healthcare” or “Kill the Gun Registry.” I doubt that Jane Taber would have asked her for an interview then.

    • Patrick Hamilton says:

      Re: right wing signs…..couldnt you have come up with something the Harper govt REALLY is opposed to, like…..the environment, improving water quality on First Nations reserves, action on climate change, etc?

  19. chris says:

    What she did is far less serious then the Con’s contempt of parliament. The media has HDD.

  20. Campbell says:

    I believe it was the Speaker of the Senate Noel Kinsella who referred to this indignantly as a “contempt of parliament”. That piece of hypocritical irony is all that needs to be said about the backlash against this woman. It is apparently a lot easier to dish out than it is to take for the Conservatives… perhaps her explanation for her contemptuous behaviour is that she was merely following the lead of her country’s own “Harper Government”? Who else to turn to for an example of how to act?
    I think the mainstream media is all upset about this because they witnessed a 21 year old woman able to openly say the things they themselves should have been saying all along. At least somebody finally stood up. Congratulations to her.

  21. Jon Powers says:

    I don’t get it. “Stop Harper”? Does this mean she is against all democratically elected governments? I guess so. Must be pro-facist.

    • The Doctor says:

      No, she’s just opposed to the ones she doesn’t like. It’s a really, really principled position.

      • Philip says:

        She pretty much has that right, last time I checked. As for principle, well coming from Conservatives that is really, really rich.

        • The Doctor says:

          Well Philip, I’m not a Conservative, so I don’t know what your point is there.

          Philip, IMO this goes to the problem of what this woman did, in terms of mixing messages. She claimed in one breath to be taking issue with our first-past-the post electoral system (thus her point about the number of votes cast for the CPC etc.). That’s a fair and legitimate issue. But in the next breath she’s calling Harper a dictator and claiming we should rise up against him as though he’s the equivalent of Assad or Ghaddafi. And then in the next breath, she’s launching into a very partisan attack on Harper’s policies — which is fine, but then it undercuts her point about electoral reform, because it’s clear that her problem isn’t so much with our electoral system but rather this particular electoral result — I mean, let’s face it, if Layton had won with 39% of the popular vote, it’s clear that this woman would have no problem whatsoever with that. So while I don’t begrudge her for her expressing her views, she comes across to me as a partisan hypocrite and a sore loser.

          • Philip says:

            I can completely understand why you might not want to admit that you are a Conservative in mixed company. Had your two posts been reversed I could give you the benefit of the doubt. Yet you simply slipped in your trademark one liner and only made a more fulsome explanation when someone called you on it.

            So you take exception with the clarity of Ms. DePape’s message and really take exception with her call for an “Arab Spring” in Canada. Fair enough. You are perfectly entitled to those opinions, and you are perfectly entitled to express them however you choose just as she is perfectly entitled to hold and express hers. That remains my point.

  22. Nuna D. Above says:

    Depape is the Kayne West of Canadian politics, a publicity seeking drama queen. Chretien would have throttled her.

  23. Bil Huk says:

    she had me up until “Arab spring”.


    • smelter rat says:

      Did you ever say anything dumb when you were 21? Besides just now, I mean.

      • Bil Huk says:

        besides just now? No, up unitl this moment i’ve been absolutely perfect in my life.

        But it would appear i’m not the only one whose capable of finding fault in others.

  24. David Law says:

    Patriotic, passionate, wrong. It happens, especially with kids. The Senate should offer her the job back, on condition of her apology. They’d all be better for it.

    • Pat Morfee says:

      I am a senior who has witnessed many events in my life but when I heard about this woman voicing ( although silent protest), I laughed and said good on her. She did not yell and scream as others in other places would but merely did it in the polite very Canadian way. When I have been in other countries I am always told how polite Canadians are and apologetic. It is too late to Stop Harper now but do hope that Canadians who want Harper gone will remember her in the next election and voice their opinions at the polls. I hope I live so long to see that.

  25. Liz J says:

    Harper and his lackies have shown much more sustained and serious contempt of parliament than Depape.

    Also, it should be considered along the same lines as when MP’s pull stunts in the house, or bring in props (which are not allowed). They get repremanded by the speaker, they apologize to the house, and that’s the end of it. She is NOT the first person to stunt in parliament. Why are people acting as if she is?

    Nevertheless, it’s great that she has inspired so many people.

    • ottawacon says:

      Perhaps because all the other morons have a democratic mandate that gives them the privilege to speak in Parliament.

    • Jon Powers says:

      Odd how lefties keep declaring that Harper has shown such “sustained and serious contempt of parliment”, and yet his party was still DEMOCRATICALLY elected. It’s also funny how now they are all bemoaning our first-past-the-post electoral system now that we have a Conservative government, and yet were strangely silent about it when Chretian formed 4 governments with less than 40% of the popular vote. Please start whinging about something else – it’s getting boring.

      • Liz J says:

        Yup, that’s right. You can still get elected after showing contempt for parliament.

        Maybe Depape should be running for election 🙂

  26. Patrick Hamilton says:

    I wondered when Mr. Kinsella was going to comment on the DePape protest……

    As stated on another thread: If Mr. Harper can run roughshod over the rules and conventions of Parliament, why not a page?……..

    Was it an inappropriate venue?, absolutely……but I admire her act of calm, quiet, civil disobedience, as she was speaking the truth…..

    I hope we see more of this as Mr. Harper’s 4 year reign of error begins……

  27. Bruce M says:

    Childish and pathertic.
    She did it at the end of her contract so she risked NOTHING.
    Which is fine, because she achieved NOTHING.
    Unless you count the ever-higher screening process the page’s will go through for a program that brings Canadians together from across the country to serve in the heart of our democracy.

    • Patrick Hamilton says:

      I think she achieved something…..does anyone really remember what was stated in the throne speech?….no, post speech the coverage was basically all about Brigette DePape…..in this regard, it was a masterstroke……much to Mr. Harper and co and obviously your, chagrin…..
      Im sure there was some broken furniture in the PMO shortly thereafter….lol

    • smelter rat says:

      Did you send this from your Mom’s basement?

  28. CQ says:

    My above average income neighbourhood high school-university-okay big city community college never issued yearbooks during my yuppie 80s era / six years’ attendance. We did still have our “free” pictures taken for some reason or other at the high school.

  29. dave says:

    Ironies for me have to do mostly with the supporters of the Conservative Party:

    I enjoy the irony of Conservative supporters complaining about somebody else displaying contempt for our parliamentary institutions;

    I enjoy the irony of supporters of a party that the Speaker found guilty of contempt of parliament nattering on about what people have sacrificed in defence of parliamentary democracy;

    and I enjoy the irony of any of my fellow citizens who voted to give a mandate to a party that has shown so often its contempt for parliament and democracy (including the Speaker’s contempt finding, with a minister’s contempt pending) using that mandate as an excuse for dumping on this young woman.

    Oh, and I just love the Conservative spokespersons whose response is to suggest that security be beefed up.

    (Perhaps her protest failed, though. All I see is people arguing about what she did. I don’t see anything about the issues that she addressed.)

  30. RDS says:

    I just think it’s ridiculous to call this civil disobedience and make references to the Arab Spring. If you want to pretend your actions are in a league with Rosa Parks or Mohamed Bouazizi you are pretty much begging to be put in your place. Yes, people her age are supposed to be self-important twerps, but that doesn’t mean we have to encourage it. I don’t like Harper either, but it’s not like anybody who does is going to think, “Hey, that self-important twerp has a crudely-lettered sign that says she doesn’t like Stephen Harper! I shall immediately revise my entire world view!”

    • smelter rat says:

      People do what they can. What have you done lately to make the country a better place?

      • E. Lindsay says:

        Too easy Smelter Rat. I voted for Harper to make the country a better place.

        • Philip says:

          I like people who admit they voted for Harper in 2011. When the wheels come off the Canadian economy and the deficit continues to climb, I will know exactly who to point to. When both the US Navy and Marine Corp pass on the F-35, driving the per unit cost of our purchase through the roof, I’ll know exactly who to blame. When the AG’s report on the G8/G20 money pit is tabled, I will know exactly who rewarded Harper.
          After a couple of months you will hard pressed to find anyone to say they voted for the Harper gong show.

          • The Doctor says:

            Philip, I assume you meant to say that the national debt continues to climb, not the deficit. Because the deficit has clearly been going down for many months now. A rudimentary google search would reveal that.

          • Philip says:

            I’m not going to lie, I kind of screwed that one up, I did mean to refer to the debt not the deficit. Bit of a red face on this end to be honest.

          • The Doctor says:

            You just moved way up in my list of admired/credible posters. So many other posters will never admit when they make an honest mistake. Good on ya.

  31. Anne Peterson says:

    The conservatives won 24% of the eligible vote. If that is really a majority I’ll eat my hat. It’s only because of our scewed ridiculous system it’s a majority. AND the membes of the government swore an oath too, and to my mind they break it all the time with their pork barreling, contempt and secrecy.

  32. jenjen says:

    Those poor misunderstood people in the ‘new government’ – nobody shows them the respect they feel they deserve. They have to contend with a media and civil service that don’t like them and senate pages that protest them during the speech from the throne.

    Roll out some violins to play a sombre concerto – and perhaps we can all chip in and send some flowers to boot.

  33. Tristan Tondino says:

    From the interview I saw… we ought not to describe Brigitte Depape as an idealist… she’s a realist and her analysis of our predicament is correct on every point. Her “Yearbook” understanding of our real problems is way ahead of the CONS and most LIBS unfortunately.

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