Canadians had a negative view of the debate in the House of Commons during the last Parliament, acknowledges the man who was in charge of keeping the peace in the chamber, but that’s because they only saw the nasty side of the proceedings.
Former Speaker of the House of Commons Andrew Scheer told The West Block’s Tom Clark that he did his best to maintain decorum in the House, but as the federal election loomed, tempers flared. The media, Scheer said, latched on to those moments.
“You’ll never see a headline that says: ‘Substantive Debate Held,’ you know, ‘Good Questions Asked,’” he said, chuckling.
“I think sometimes the focus was on when it did get nasty … Towards the end of the session people knew (the election) was inevitable and emotions always get higher around potential elections and I think that had something to do with it.”
Scheer said it’s up to MPs to maintain decorum just as much as the Speaker. On Thursday, he was replaced by Liberal MP Geoff Regan.
A thin throne speech?
Scheer was also asked about whether his party would be supporting the Liberal government’s throne speech when it comes to a vote. He did not provide a direct answer, saying only that the Conservatives have concerns.
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“Well you know, as it will not come to a surprise to you, there’s a lot of concerns that we have from the throne speech, not only what it mentions, but what it doesn’t mention,” he said, echoing the sentiments expressed last week by Conservative interim leader Rona Ambrose.
“This is a speech from the throne that’s a lot about big government, big spending, but nothing on agriculture, which is important in Saskatchewan, Alberta, Ontario – all over the country, really.”
Scheer also pointed out that the Liberals may have trouble sticking to a promise to run deficits of no more than $10 billion for no more than three years.
“The Parliamentary Budget Officer has already said that they won’t meet that; the deficits will be much higher.”