Politicians should set an example of respect

[attach]2740[/attach]I am very proud to be working to improve the decorum and level of respect and civility in the House of Commons.

I was really pleased to have been asked by my colleague MP Michael Chong to second his motion to improve the decorum in Question Period in the House of Commons. I am even more proud to have done so, and to have been one of several MPs from all parties to do so. The feedback I have received from so many people in Willowdale (and indeed across the country) has been overwhelmingly positive.

I am also pleased to see the attention that this issue has garnered among the media. This is an opportunity for the media to take this effort in the right spirit, and help. I hope that they refrain from always focusing so often on the 10-second sound bite that highlights the negative, the personal attacks and the hyper-partisanship. It would help if they would, at least sometimes, highlight some of the occasions when we actually work together. It does happen, and we want to encourage more of it.

I, like others, am embarrassed when school groups come to watch Question Period, knowing that what they see isn’t terribly impressive. Changes to the process will help. But there is something more fundamental here. It is not just a matter of procedural rules. It is not just a matter of whether the Speaker of the House should exercise more discipline. It is the responsibility of every
Member of Parliament to show more respect and civility. Even more, it is a collective responsibility — all of us must work together.

Each one of us has the opportunity to show individually, and together collectively, that we do not need to engage in partisan attacks and personal insults. We have the opportunity to engage in debate with respect and civility. We have the opportunity to listen to each other in Parliament.

Heaven knows, if we manage to listen to each other from time to time, we just may learn from each other. That would enhance not only the decorum in the House, but the progress of government in its entirety. We are there to serve you, not to attack each other.
Again, I commend all MPs who, with me, are joining together to make Parliament a more productive, respectful place. The people, like you, who vote for us and expect us to make important decisions, deserve no less.