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?