Thursday, October 26, 2006

Did St. Ralph deliberately mislead the House?

...And has the Speaker's authority been challenged?

These are two intriguing questions raised by reader Gabby in the previous thread:

During the Oct. 25 (Wed) Question Period, Ralph Goodale, the self-appointed defender of Ms Stronach's honour, again demanded that Minister MacKay apologize to the House because the Minister had allegedly made an insulting remark. According to Mr. Goodale "that the offending remark was made is undeniable"... "it cannot be claimed that just because Hansard didn't catch it, it never happened"... "the news media have repeatedly confirmed it," and "every SIGNIFICANT women's organization in this country have (sic) condemned it."

However, Mr. Goodale neglected to mention that the so-called "audio tapes " of Minister MacKay's alleged insult needed to be close-captioned because it was "inaudible," as first reported by CTV's Craig Oliver. The Speaker of the House and his staff listened to the tape and could not hear the alleged remark being made, and he so ruled.

Mr. Goodale also referred the Minister to an Oct. 25 Montreal Gazette editorial, so that the Minister might "assess the damage that he is doing." However, Mr. Goodale misled the House, because The Montreal Gazette's editorials he pointed to have the following titles:
"Keeping our bridges from falling down" (state of Quebec's bridges & viaducts)
"Exposing the myths about abuse" (domestic violence)
"Eschewing the fat" (childhood obesity)

What Mr. Goodale called "a Montreal Gazette" editorial is in fact an op-ed piece by feminist writer Janet Bagnall entitled "Don't expect apologies from the men who denigrate women."

Now, either Mr. Goodale cannot differentiate between an editorial and an op-ed piece, or he wilfully decided to mislead the House. An editorial usually carries a little more weight than an op-ed piece with most readers.

By continuing to bring this question up before the House, the Liberals have also impugned the credibility of the Speaker, suggesting that his ruling should not stand.

Well done, Gabby!

The reference to an "editorial" implies that the newspaper's editorial staff has concurred on this POV. If you check the Gazette site, you'll see that they list Editorials and Op-eds in the same section, but op-eds are not necessarily the official position of the newspaper. If Ralph Goodale was referring to Bagnall's article, it would hardly be a reliable source upon which to base such a statement.

Here's the exact quote from Hansard:

Mr. Speaker, that the offending remark was made is undeniable, and it cannot be claimed that just because Hansard did not catch it, it never happened.

Members of the House witnessed it. Audio tapes recorded it. The news media have repeatedly confirmed it. Every significant women's organization in the country has condemned it.

The minister might want to look at an editorial in today's Montreal Gazette to assess the damage that he is doing. Would it not be wise to stop the denials, acknowledge this mistake, apologize and avoid doing more harm to himself and his government?

I think the self-righteous Ralph Goodale should be called up on this one.

Furthermore, I did a little digging on Janet Bagnall and discovered that she has been in previous trouble with plagiarism issues, so therefore perhaps not the most reliable source for information.

Rob Nicholson countered with:

With respect to the issue the member has raised, you looked into this matter last week, Mr. Speaker. You ruled on it. All members of the House should respect your ruling. Now the minister himself has addressed the matter, and that should end it.

As Gabby points out, by continuing to question the Speaker's ruling, the opposition is undermining his authority. It is disrespectful. They are only doing it to score political points at the expense of other important business.

Has anyone in Ottawa heard of Afghanistan or North Korea?


* * * *

Update: An actual EDITORIAL from the Toronto Sun. Grow up!

Now this is not an editorial, but it is awesome!! Way to go Canadianna!


Canadi-anna said...

You have to wonder why the speaker has let this continue after he checked the hansard and listened to the tape.
It would seem he doesn't have the courage of his convictions. One word from him and they'd have to stop.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Canadianna, that's the problem with having a Liberal for the Speaker I guess. I think Peter Milliken does a great job trying to be objective and non-partisan, but he must be getting a lot of pressure from his fellow Grits.

TangoJuliette said...


He’s on an audio tape, it’s clear that he said it,” added Judy Sgro, another Liberal MP. “Does he think the people of Canada are stupid?”

No. But I most certainly do think that most Liberals hold to the notion that most Canadians are pretty damned stupid and gullible.

Well, Madame Sgro, SOMEbody is on YOUR audio tape, fer sure. Has it been doctored or tested? Who all has access to this piece of "close captioned" fiction for the biase-impaired/ I luv how all the sanctimonious LibBiddyLadies lined up yesterday to voice their umbrage at Peter's alleged comments about how the Conservatives are just sooo darned anti-feminist. (First Major National Party with a Female Leader? First Major National Party to have elected Canada's First Female Prime Minister? Hint -- nowhere close to being the alegedly progressive liberals. uh - - How about, um ah - the Conservatives!?!!)

Judy Sgro -- Strippergate / PizzaGate / ImmigrantGate WonderWoman;

Maria Minna, the one and only living person in Canada adjudged to be allowed to multiple votes in any Canadian Federal Election; Ruled to be OK by a Liberal appointed Ethics Counsellor. His decision was reluctantly accepted by a shafted nation, but the rowdy Liberals are now openly and brazenly rejecting the decision of the House Speaker, another Liberal appointee, more or less, but a man far, far closer to be being the ultimate straight shooter, than most lint-headed charlatans on the Hill.

Script faking former Cabinet minister, Dr. Fry, seer and declarer of racist comments wherein all western white folks were cross-burning knuckle-draggers.

The list of twisted sisters goes on and on, all caught with their lies out in the open, all so uptight and pseudo-sanctimonious.

If anyone said anything out of line in the House last week, maybe it was a ghost of one of the dead, pissed-off at being rousted from their eternal dirt nap by that wanking Don Joe da Stiffster Volpe. I think I'd be ready to scream "fuddle duddle" if some caviar-pizza sliding lib politico disturbed my eternity to get my "x" beside his name.


Paul M said...

Technically, an op-ed is an 'editorial'. Op-ed is short for: 'Opposite Editorial', which can mean that it is out of line with the views of the paper, or simply that it is on the opposite page.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Well, thanks Paul. Would you not agree though that typically the newspaper's own view is the first one displayed?

I always thought of Op-ed's as contributions from outside the newspaper, i.e. community contributions, free-lance, etc.

Riley Hennessey said...

Joanne, could not Peter have ended this by saying "You know I don't believe I said the alleged remark, but I would never wish to call the member from Newmarket Aurora or any other member a derogatory remark. I have nothing but support for women in the house and would not purposefully wish to compare any of them to animals."

Wouldn't that have taken the issue right off the table?

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Riley, I agree. He could have handled it a lot better. He could have made it very clear that he does not think of women as animals.

Gabby in QC said...

Paul M said...
"Technically, an op-ed is an 'editorial'. Op-ed is short for: 'Opposite Editorial', which can mean that it is out of line with the views of the paper, or simply that it is on the opposite page."

Maybe so, but The Gazette has NOT published editorials on this topic. I kept the editorials dated from Tues. Oct. 17 to Thurs. Oct. 26, and the editorial board of The Gazette has not pronounced itself on the question.

The editorial cartoonists have, however. One by Aislin portrayed Minister MacKay with a dog's muzzle and the caption "That's no way to talk about ANY woman."

Which brings up the question: are the Liberals and MSM calling ALL Conservatives - men and women - dogs, since they very often describe the PM MUZZLING his Ministers and MPs?

Red Tory said...

You folks are just discovering what an op-ed is? LOL.

C. LaRoche said...


Even regular editorials (unsigned) don't necessarily reflect the "paper's" opinion. They reflect the opinions of the editorial board. The rest of us aren't generally consulted. This actually caused some stink at the Montreal Gazette back in the early 2000s because, as one reporter told me (verbatim), "Conrad Black let us run what we wanted, and sometimes sent us editorials with his name on it to run (thus becoming an op/ed). CanWest, on other hand, just sends us copy from Winnepeg as if we've written it."

And you can forget Editorial discretion, too -- in fact, one of my old journalism profs quit a CanWest paper after they refused to run his Op/Ed criticizing the Liberal party. Go figure.

I think, since then, CanWest has loosened its grip on what their papers run. I'm not really sure, since my connections in the Montreal Gazette these days aren't associated with the Editorial process.

C. LaRoche said...

Oh, and to address your question, most of the time an op-ed just means an editorial that isn't the paper editorial. I.E. it is signed. This can get confusing if you have columnists writing "editorials" (different from "columns" in that "columns" used to have interviews, and still sometimes do). Generally speaking, if there's an opinion in a piece and it isn't a weekly column, it's an op-ed, unless it has been run unsigned, in which case it is the paper's editorial, written by someone or a bunch of people on the editorial board.

From wikipedia:

* Editorials are (usually short) opinion pieces, written by members of the editorial board of the paper. They reflect the stance of the paper and do not have bylines.
* The opinions expressed on op-ed pages reflect those of the individual authors, not the paper. The articles have bylines and are written by individual free-lance writers, guest opinion writers, syndicated columnists, or a regular columnist of the paper.


"Op-ed" has become a general category to identify opinion from fact regardless of the medium. For example, Web pages containing opinion articles are labeled "op-ed," even though the original meaning is not relevant.

It has become popular in some circles to incorrectly expand the term "op-ed" as "opinion-editorial," a reasonable guess at the term's origin. "Op-ed" actually refers to the page opposite the one containing editorials. On the two-page 'flat,' the op-ed would be separated from editorial by the fold of the newspaper.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Laroche, thanks. That was quite informative (and a bit confusing).


So Ralph Goodale used the incorrect term right? (Ugh, I have a headache from all this!)