05.07.2016 07:58 AM

Conservative MPs, you are a disgrace

Disgusting, despicable, detestable: none of those words adequately captures what Conservative MPs did this week. 

Forget about the fact that the anthem needed to be changed. Forget about the fact that their former leader, Stephen Harper, proposed changing the words in his 2010 Throne Speech. Forget about all that. 

To do what they did to Mauril Belanger, who is dying, is just…sick. It is beyond words. 

They will profoundly regret this. 

Conservative MPs have thwarted a bid to ensure that dying Liberal MP Mauril Belanger gets to realize his dream of a gender-neutral national anthem. 

 Fellow Liberals, with the help of New Democrats, tried two procedural manoeuvres Friday to expedite passage of Belanger’s private member’s bill, which would change the second line of O Canada from, “true patriot love, in all thy sons command” to “in all of us command.” 

But Tory MPs blocked both.


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    MonteCristo says:

    Just be glad the Conservatives didn’t resurrect the flag debate during their reign


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    PJH says:

    The spirit of Randy White et al of Refoorm lives on I see……

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      BlueGritr says:

      Conservatives may have a shot at forming a government……in 2023. But not before. These guys have not learned a thing about making people comfortable, voting for them. It’s going to be a very easy ride for JT.

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    Charlie K says:

    This is exactly the sort of thing that people look at and think “those f*ckers haven’t changed one bit” and exactly why Conservatives are sitting in Opposition right now. A great deal of hot-air was exhausted after the election by CPC MPs about the need to change their “tone”; great to see they haven’t done shit-all to act on their supposed epiphany.

    A full day has passed and I’m still utterly disgusted with these MPs and their behaviour yesterday, absolutely repulsed by their justification and willful ignorance to the circumstances of the situation.

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    HarryR says:

    A minority of MPs thwarted the efforts of a majority of MPs? How can that happen? We’re the majority of MPs not in the house?

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      Charlie K says:

      I believe it has to be unanimous to move to a vote or extend debate.

      Conservatives voted neither to take it to vote nor further debate. As result, bill goes back to the bottom of the pile.

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    Brooke V says:

    So what you are saying is that every pet project of a dying MP should become Law for the rest of the Country? Because with everything else going on in this Country from Fires to Unemployment I do not see or hear a groundswell of the rest of Canada asking for this.

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      Charlie K says:

      Jesus Christ, you Conservatives know as much about parliamentary procedure as a 4 year old knows about brain surgery.

      First of all, this bill is going to become law, whether you like it or not. The bill has majority support in the House from both Liberals and New Democrats and will inevitably become law. All yesterdays travesty achieved was prolonging the process so that the man behind the bill will be long dead by the time the bill passes.

      Second, thats a completely false dichotomy. Just because there children dying in Africa of starvation doesn’t mean that poverty in Canada isn’t a legitimate issue. Just because there are fires going on in Alberta doesn’t diminish the importance of what Belanger’s bill is trying to achieve which is linguistic equality from men and women in our national anthem.

      Third, instead of having the fortitude and balls to exercise their democratic prerogative, Conservatives didn’t vote against the law yesterday, they ran out the clock on debate so the that “dying man” couldn’t at least see his “pet project” get voted on.

      This was about showing respect for a fellow MP who is at the end of his life; whether those Conservatives agreed or disagreed with the bill is entirely irrelevant –they outright robbed Belanger the pleasure of seeing his bill progress through the proper legislative process to allow the bill to pass or fail of its own volition, while he still can.

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        Maps Onburt says:

        If the Liberals want to force a change the National Anthem, then move it onto their formal agenda and don’t use a dying MP’s private members slot to do it. The so called “fascist” Conservative government wanted to change the anthem last term but decided to give up after it became clear a majority of Canadians were against changing it and couldn’t agree on new words. Why stop st the gender neutrality? It’s also full of religious overtones that offend many atheists. If one of them comes down with a terminal disease, are you suggesting we change it again to placate them???? This isn’t a jingle to be changed at the whim of the latest fad. It is our national anthem and the changes should be approved by all Canadians. To be clear, I’m FOR the changes, but if you are going to rush through a bill then it needs the consent of the ENTIRE house. Remember Meech Lake failed because one MPP failed to deliver the vote and follow the herd and many now believe that was the right thing. Calling Conservatives stupid or juvenile for following the rules of the house is a bit ironic.

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          terence quinn says:

          They can and will move it onto a formal agenda and it will pass. The idea here was to give the bill’s sponsor the respect he is due for bringing the bill through different procedures.
          Anything the conservatives did was for the good of their base and nothing more. That’s why they got turfed last October.

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            smelter rat says:

            Exactly. Larry Maguire should hang his head in shame.

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          bluegreenblogger says:

          you just don’t get it. This isn’t what the Liberals want to force on anybody. It is a private members bill that the Liberals decided to support.

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          Charlie K says:

          No where have I used the term fascist in my posts above, so don’t put words in my mouth.

          Also, Liberals aren’t forcing dick. Why you’re having such immense difficulties grasping that is beyond me. This is a Private Member’s Bill, perhaps you’ve heard of it before? Mauril Belanger has been championing this cause for years now is introducing this PMB while he still has the chance to. This issue is completely independent of the Liberal government. In fact, this has support from not only individual Liberal MPs but also New Democratic MPs in the House; thus, this bill will inevitably pass as the will of the democratically elected parliament.

          Let me also state for the record, I think the language change that Belanger is purposing, while positive, is only a gesture towards establishing an gender equal tone in our anthem. Its an issue that is entirely symbolic and most Canadians don’t even sing the anthem enough (unless you’re a grade school student or at a hockey game) for this to become a matter of Canadian identity. Same with the religious undertones of the anthem: its not an issue thats plaguing Canadian society enough to warrant any visceral reaction.

          That said, what you are miserably failing to understand is that the Conservatives weren’t simply “following the rules”. They exploited a parliamentary procedure in order to achieve the goal of having the bill not even go to vote. Last time I checked, filibustering a bill so it didn’t go to vote wasn’t a part of any rules, its purely a method of exhibiting opposition to a bill.

          Now, the Conservatives had an opportunity to further air their grievances with purposed bill through extended debate, however, they elected not to further debate the matter and have it booted back to the end of the line of PMBs to be debated. They have 2 opportunities to express their democratic prerogative and oppose this bill: 1) they could have unanimously agreed to take the bill to a vote so that they could vote “NO” and clearly indicate their opposition on the record or, 2) they could’ve extended debate time allowing further discussion on the bill allowing them to get their opinions on Hansard.

          What they did in reality was read aloud tweets during their debate time in order to run the clock and prevent the bill from being further debated by MPs to then voting against any possibility that this bill would be discussed in the near future. Effectively, the bill has now been put aside until it comes up back in the cycle where it will be again, debated. However, being the champion behind the bill, Belanger has limited time to see this bill through to a vote (and this is the part you need to read, and understand thoroughly) whether that bill gets passed or rejected by the House. The fate of the bill and success of this bill is completely independent of how Conservatives conducted themselves on Friday.

          Thought process aside; because, frankly, the opposition to the bill is just pure and simple idiocy that is being horribly communicated; the issue of the matter is the extenuating circumstances of the bill and the completely unnecessary exploitation of parliamentary procedure by the Conservatives. Whether they agree or disagree with Belanger, they could have done him the courtesy of voting against his bill rather than not even allowing him the opportunity to see it through.

          Its assholery at its finest and like Warren said, Conservatives are going to regret such shameful behaviour. If you still fail to grasp the concept of basic respect and treating a colleague with dignity than don’t even bother further debating with me because your understanding of Legislature is far to shallow for your to properly articulate a cohesive argument.

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    Arts says:

    I see not only the Conservative MPs are douchebags but there are a few here also. Please excuse my language as more appropriate words fail me.

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    Charlie K says:

    They didn’t vote their conscience, though. They had the opportunity to do so but elected instead to run out the clock on the debate then to vote against further debate effectively rendering yesterday’s efforts a waste of time.

    I wouldn’t exactly call that respect.

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    Carey Miller says:

    Perhaps it is growing up with a “disabled” parent, I am less sensitive to this type of story. With no disrespect to Belanger, a good man, his illness should have no impact to the passage of any bill. His bill was debated for an hour. That’s enough unless everyone agrees.

    If the party really wanted, they could use their majority to make the change.

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    I’m hardly knowledgeable about parliamentary procedure but how about making it a government bill.

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    Yukon Cornelius says:

    Seriously? It’s a private member’s bill and it’s politics. Sentimentalism aside, we are years away from the next election and right now, Fort McMurray is burning to the ground. I can’t imagine that changing the words to the national anthem is something that is front and centre for anyone at the moment and I don’t see how the public is going to punish the Conservatives for this. That said, I’m sorry Mr. Belanger isn’t well.

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      Peter says:

      Some of the current outrage is, admittedly, driven by nothing more than the need to feed the slavering maw of the internet — notably Twitter and Facebook — with ever more lethal doses of outrage.

      –Bryan Appleyard, April 10th, 2016

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        Maps Onburt says:

        Amen to both!

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    Joe says:

    So legislation should be determined by the dying wishes of our MPs? I did not know that. Personally I prefer the “thy sons” to the “of us”. I’m not trying to upset a feminist but rather the ‘thy sons’ has a familial ring to it. We Canadians are a family. Obviously we could just as easily substitute our daughters but the rhythm wouldn’t work.

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    Ted H says:

    Perhaps it is time to hold a national competition for a new anthem anyway. As a rule I don’t like anthems with their simplistic patriotism, over the top sentimentality and white bread musicality. It shouldn’t be too hard to find someone who can write one that reflects in a realistic way our position in a multicultural world, pays homage to our cultural and spiritual roots and has a melody with some hooks that can give us more of a “hip nation” feeling. Making minor detail changes to the current one is just putting lipstick on a pig.

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      Peter says:

      Be careful what you wish for, Ted. A national competition might leave you with something called Songy McSongtface.

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        Ted H says:

        Preference would be to appoint a competent songwriter but the appointment process would no doubt become highly politicized, the competition is not a perfect option but perhaps a less imperfect one and would certainly have the potential to engage citizens from all parts of the country.

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    Sean Cummings says:

    I hate O Canada. I would prefer an entirely different anthem.

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    dean sherratt says:

    I’m astounded when such vitriolic criticism is made against the CPC caucus for talking out a private members bill…That is often their much lamented fate in life.

    It would appear that the CPC had only one honorable choice…present one speaker…suppress any others…and humbly vote to change the anthem. To do anything else it seems, however pleasant and collegial their actual comments on the bill, is an outrage. Well I disagree…I don’t especially like changes to national institutions and traditions and if the solution is for the government to force it well they will succeed. These same CPC MPs supported making Belanger the speaker for the day just a few weeks earlier…malice to him is not an obvious motivation…closer is simply their unwillingness to thoughtlessly change the anthem because doing so to secondly honour a dying MP isn’t showing much thought in the merits of the matter. I would also remind readers and commentators of the truly malicious change of our national holiday from Dominion Day to Canada Day accomplished with some chicanery and without a quorum. No, I do not especially trust Liberals with defending the national traditions of our country.

    I will also say that I was disappointed with the excessive language used by a number of commentators. Even when my hands are twitching with partisanship, I try to be polite and avoid over the top rhetoric. Too many commentators on this small parliamentary matter that affects just a handful of words sung by mostly at the commencement of hockey games were strident and bullying.

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    Darren H says:


    Let the smearing begin

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      Art says:

      As I understand it, this is a fairly freewheeling site and you are totally at liberty to be a douchebag as is evident by the fact your comment is still here.

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    monkey says:

    While it’s not good optics, I don’t support changing the words to the anthem. Will next be to get rid of the God part (I am not religious) or native land (since it will offend those not born here). Leave the anthem alone. The reason Harper backed off in 2010 was there was a major backlash against the idea of it. I feel sorry Mauril Belanger is dying and perhaps maybe let it go to committee to be studied, but if I were an MP I would still vote this bill down.

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