Brigette DePape’s unprecedented protest on the floor of the Senate chamber last week during the reading of the Throne Speech was misguided, ignorant and improper and is nothing to cheer about. DePape’s antic did nothing but diminish her in the eyes of many. Her ploy came at a time when Opposition Leader Jack Layton has called for more civility in the house. The bigger problem of course is that she paraded into the red-carpeted centre aisle carrying a red “Stop Harper” sign that she’d pulled from beneath her skirt as Gov. Gen. David Johnston read the new government’s speech from the throne. Where was security!?
The University of Ottawa graduate stood silently holding her hand-painted sign for at least 20 seconds — while the vice-regal made a barely perceptible hitch in his address and a stunned room full of dignitaries and invited guests stared in mute astonishment.
The cowardly part of her protest of course is that she did it with less than two weeks left in her job as a page. What courage. What dedication to her beliefs. She lost two whole weeks of compensation when she was rightly terminated on the spot. Pages agree to be non-partisan in taking the privileged jobs that are granted to a select few talented students from across Canada. Integrity, honesty, tact and duty are all part of the job. She has besmirched and stained the role of Pages with her tasteless action which was obviously preplanned.
What is more offensive than her tawdry stunt is her rhetoric where she claims Conservative values are not Canadian values. She is obviously not very bright and must have forgotten the Harper Conservatives were just elected with a significant majority government by Canadians from coast to coast.
I am not Conservative but totally respect the fact that Mr. Harper has earned the right from the electorate to represent Canada and I have great respect for him in this singularly difficult achievement. Democracy is about respecting our institutions and the desires of the electorate. If we have different ideas and/or values we should put them forward in a responsible and dignified manner. DePape has demeaned Parliament and, in the process, demeaned the millions of Canadians who share Stephen Harper’s conservative values. Perhaps a return to school to learn the basics of democracy, our electoral system and the “first past the post” system is in order.
Veteran Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett is right in calling the protest” by DePape “an abuse of parliamentary privilege.” Green party Leader Elizabeth May is way off base in lauding DePape “for her bravery”. What a crock! Bravery is the guy who stood in front of a tank in Tiananmen Square or the protestors who are being shot in Syria for demanding reform. Is Ms. May kidding? She diminishes the actions of true democrats by calling DePape’s actions “brave.”
DePape is quoted as saying that “I really got to see first-hand the politics of Harper and his agenda going forward,” adding “I decided that I could not just sit idly by any longer and decided this was a good time to take action.” Frankly, if Ms. DePape felt that strongly then, she should have left the Page Program and run for office against the Conservatives like many young Quebec NDP’ers did rather than abuse her position and put a stain on the Page Program with an immature hissy fit. How could any future employer trust this person? We’ll ask that of Elizabeth May. I’m sure she is looking for an assistant.