Ejected MP says he stood his ground
Thursday, Dec 07, 2017 06:00 am
Banff-Airdrie Conservative MP Blake Richards made headlines last week with reports that he was called out by name and escorted out of the House of Commons when he refused to refrain from heckling.
According to Richards, who said this was a first in his nine years in the House, all is not what it appears and the limited camera angles recording the room failed to capture much of what took place.
Richards said he stood his ground in protest to the actions of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau, who he said were making “nasty, partisan, over-the-top, personal comments about members of the Official Opposition.”
He said there was no shouting or angry slurs and that he does not support that “embarrassing type of behaviour” in the House.
Online recordings of the Nov. 27 Question Period show the exchange between Conservative Finance Critic Pierre Poilievre and Morneau, followed by Speaker Geoff Regan addressing Richards by name in his attempt to call the room to order. The Speaker then provided the MP the choice to leave the room or be escorted out; Regan quickly followed by asking the sergeant-at-arms to escort Richards into the lobby.
Richards said he left on his own accord and was not escorted out, but that the sergeant-at-arms followed him out into the lobby.
Richards said Conservatives questioning Morneau on the sale of $10 million in personal shares nearly two years ago – one week before the federal government tabled legislation that Conservatives suggest impacted their value – was met with condescending and evasive responses.
Richards has previously called out Trudeau for “egregious behaviour” for “making faces” at members of the Official Opposition and “stick his tongue out” at them.
“It’s unfortunate that people (Trudeau and Morneau) can behave like that and that the person who calls out their behaviour is the person targeted for it,” said Richards, adding that he stood his ground.
While he recognizes there are other avenues to get his point across Richards said he stood up for what he believed was right.
Cochranite Alyssa Palmer posted the video to popular Facebook page Cochrane Rants and Raves, where she called Richards an “embarrassment.”
Her post was met with a thread of contentious commentary, ranging from comments that Richards failed to handle himself well to salutes to Richards for calling out the actions of members of the Liberal government.
“Regardless of whether or not Morneau has done what they accuse him of, all MPs in the House need to be polite, courteous, and well-behaved,” said Palmer.
According to Heather Bradley, communications director for the Office of the Speaker, it is uncommon to be named in the House of Commons.
She explained that it is typical that the Speaker refers to MPs by their riding – not individual – name.
According to the House legislation, if a member hesitates or refuses to comply with the direction provided by the Speaker it will result in the Speaker naming the member.