Anyone interested in Canadian politics is witnessing a concerning trend – the rise of political bullying and harassment within the corridors of power coupled with dishonest attacks. Since when is it acceptable for Canadian politicians and political parties to engage in such behaviour?
A recent incident involving Conservative Senator Don Plett and his party’s bullying of independent senators, including local Independent Senator Bernadette Clement, exposes the increasing use of aggressive tactics in Canadian politics.
The drama unfolded during the debate on Bill C-234 when Senator Clement proposed a temporary pause to allow absent senators to contribute when the debate resumed the following week. Enraged by the delay, Mr. Plett “violently threw his earpiece” and came over and berated Ms. Clement and two others. Ms. Clement told the Globe and Mail: “He stood over our desks in very close proximity. I felt the spittle landing on my laptop. He was yelling”. Plett pointed fingers at another Independent Senators Group member, Senator Lucie Moncion, and suggested he would block work she’s doing on the Senate Human Resource subcommittee. Another called the ISG Senators “fascists”.
Plett (73) is trying to position himself as a defender of his party and principles. He told Global News “I don’t like being called a ‘bully,” … “I also don’t like being a bully, but I am passionate… I will never apologize for that. I will fight hard for my cause and my party…” Despite trumpeting his “passion” in the media, the tactics he employed are more in line with grandstanding and bullying.
I don’t for a minute believe that this is an example of exuberant dedication. I do believe that this was the self-indulgent use of theatrical bullying tactics meant to gain attention and media notoriety.
Taking cues from Senator Plett, MP Andrew Scheer posted a meme resembling an old Western “wanted” poster, featuring Senators Clement and Petitclerc as “Trudeau Senators.” The meme included their contact information, falsely accusing them of shutting down debate on the bill.
The public was urged to call the Senators. Sheer’s post included the baseless allegation “Justin Trudeau is resorting to every trick in the book to prevent farmers from getting a Carbon Tax carveout for grain drying, barn heating and other farm operations. A tax on farmers is a tax on food.” Senators Clement and Petitclerc received threatening phone calls and social media harassment. The post, later reshared by several Conservative MPs, has garnered more than 54,000 views, among them a man who threatened to go to Ms. Clement’s residence to harm her.
Sebastian Skamski, a spokesperson for conservative leader Pierre Poilievre, justified the bullying by asserting that Clement is a “so-called” independent senator “who ran in numerous elections as a liberal and was appointed to the Senate by Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau”. With zero proof he alleged that Clement is doing Trudeau‘s bidding “to punish Canadian farmers and the families they feed with a costly carbon tax“. This is placing a target on her back.
Conservative Senator Denise Batters, who reposted Sheer’s meme, said she wasn’t “doxing” the senators. She said she didn’t intend to harass anyone. No? Well, what did she and her fellow Conservatives intend? What did they think was going to happen?
It bothers me that Plett, Sheer, Skamski and others (all very biased) point fingers at Clement and Petticlerc making baseless accusations that are positioned as “facts”. Their quotes are faithfully reported in the media but nobody is asking these men to substantiate their accusations.
“Passion” is no excuse for bullying tactics. Neither are one’s declared or perceived loyalties. I find it odd that nobody seems to notice or care that the finger-pointing is done by obviously biased Conservatives who are trying hard to demolish any plan to combat global warming under the guise of fighting for Canadians.
The Conservatives have made the carbon tax one of their main targets to unseat Trudeau. They actively promote the use and development of more fossil fuel production in Canada falsely describing the Canadian extraction process as “ethical” and “clean”. They zealously engineer opportunities to chip away at the Liberal climate plan without advancing a concrete plan of their own.
The increased cost of food over the last few years has been largely attributed to supply chain issues, the war in Ukraine and the “greedflation” of grocers who are raking in record profits. As I fill my shopping cart with oranges from Florida, pineapple from Costa Rica, pasta from Italy and broccoli from Mexico I wonder – if we wipe out greed and global issues – how much does the carbon tax itself really affect the grocery bill bottom line for Canadians? Data suggests its impact on food prices is less than one percent. That’s $1 on my $100 order.
I’m disgusted by the dangerous theatrics invading the Canadian legislature. The name-calling, allegations without proof and deliberate targeting have no place in our country’s politics.
Mr. Plett should apologize to Senators and to all Canadians and save his “passion” for his wife and family – it is misplaced in the Canadian political arena.
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