I watched an interview with Liberal MP Glen Pearson on Politics, which involved a discussion about our political discourse and civility, or lack thereof as the case may be. Pearson, known as "the last decent man in Ottawa", is clearly irritated at the tone in Parliament, so much so he has entertained quitting. It was a fairly non-partisan discussion, although Pearson pointed out the obvious, the government sets the tone. Not really news, even political junkies find Question Period hard to watch these days. How do you break the cycle?
What is required, is for one political party to present their own code of ethics, which they will unilaterally enforce. If you accept the premise that Canadians have a severe distaste for our politicans and their tactics, then you acknowledge that the ground is ripe for someone to rise above. There seems to be a mentality amongst all the political parties that you must engage in the petty catcalls and name calling to survive the "arena". It is that environment, or belief, that continues the erosion, it is almost a defeatist attitude.
We've certainly reached a new low under this government, a fact which independent observers all seem to agree on. The latest schoolyard tactic seems to be trying to unnverve Dion just prior to Question Period. There was on comment that Pearson made, and I think this may provide political advantage moving forward, Dion is a decent and honorable man. That isn't really a partisan opinion, after all, we've heard Layton and others comment in the same way. Could it be, that Stephane Dion, is the right politician, at the right time, who could set a new standard?
What if the Liberal MP's devised a set of rules, wherein they didn't yell across the floor, didn't hurl invective, didn't interrupt, framed questions primarily on substance, rather than scoring points? What if Dion were to hold a press conference, and say his MP's would uphold a certain standard, regardless of the government's tactics. I suppose the risk is that the Liberals would be accused of "rolling over", but if you're paying attention to the media sentiment, you will see, that even they are ready for a higher standard. I suspect any party which decided internally to up their own performance would be rewarded.
Dion is a man of integrity, his personal standing isn't served by lowering himself to the accepted level. If the Liberals were to position themselves as wanting some higher ground, does that not reinforce Dion's best assets moving forward. What would the Liberals really have to lose, if they acted decidedly adult? Canadians, the media, would look unfavorably at a party which declares it is tired of the gamesmanship, decides to act professionally, decides that people in the gallery deserve a better "show"?
I think it is a no-brainer. People don't care, because people can't relate to the nonsense. The Liberals would be well served in the long run if they released their own discourse manifesto, it would demonstrate leadership. Anyways, something to chew on.