Open Letter to Greg Fergus: House of Commons behaviour
I am a midwife at la Maison de Naissances de l'Outaouais and I live in Aylmer. I have 2 sons, 5 and 7, and my husband is an English teacher. He emigrated from Germany 8 years ago so we could live together. I'm 35 and was a supporter of Jack Layton, but I was ecstatic when Mr Trudeau was elected in a majority government. I'm your average left-ish middle-class Canadian woman.
I also met your son at a library consultation and at a Christmas party in Wychwood; he was really into the tram (electric streetcars) and practicing his German with my husband. He was well-spoken, curious, thoughtful and articulate -- the qualities I'm looking for in the House of Commons.
I was again angered reading of the 'scandal' of the defence minister's misrepresentation of his role in a military operation. I couldn't care less what he said, should have said, or didn't say. I do care greatly for civil discourse. I care enormously about the Socratic method and about our capacity to disagree and argue based on logic, expressing emotions and needs clearly, and trying to find just compromises and solutions. When I am subjected to excerpts of parliament's question period, I am ashamed of being Canadian. I am ashamed that our elected representatives howl and yell, shame and insult each other.
It is an arena for fools, at its heart aggressive and misogynistic. Women will never be able to take the space society needs them to take in a place so hostile and violent. Their voices don't carry the same way and we simply aren't raised to speak over others so brutishly. I do not care about the history of Question Period.
I want thoughtful questions posed to the right person at the right moment, and then I want to hear their answer. If they don't have a good answer, I want them to figure it out and come back with one or ask for help from their 'opponents' in finding an answer that would be in Canada's best interests. It isn't a zero-sum game.
Raise your hand. Listen to the other person. Wait your turn. Think before you speak. Be kind.
If we expect these behaviours from 6-year-olds, we should expect it from the politicians we elect.
I hope there will be changes in the House of Commons that reflect the values we claim to hold as Canadians. Thank you for doing your share to make this happen.