Thursday, December 06, 2007

Scanty-gate continues

Don Martin weighs in on Irene Mathyssen's outrageous and baseless allegations against James Moore (House of ill repute), whom Martin describes as a 'straitlaced Conservative MP with the Forrest Gump haircut':
An emotional Mr. Moore, looking as though he was about to burst into tears, defiantly and convincingly proclaimed his innocence and respect for a parliamentary institution that most days, and this one in particular, deserves only derision.

Consider the exchange between reporters and the New Democrat MP who raised the objection, invisible rookie Irene Mathyssen, and you'll be demanding a refund for the $1-million per day in taxes it costs to keep the Commons operating in the gutter.

Q Can you describe the garments she was wearing?

A Well I, I would describe it, I suppose, as soft porn, Playboy type stuff ... it was a flimsy, a flimsy negligee kind of thing, very small, very ... it was lingerie ... scanty lingerie.

Q White or...?

A It was dark in colour and she was a brunette.

Q A brunette?

A A brunette. Thank you.

Martin scolds Mathyssen for her partisan attack, which of course was amplified by Karen Redman, although Don doesn't mention Redman's complicity:

Let me get this straight. An MP looks over Mr. Moore's broad shoulder and glimpses something -- she's not sure if it was a photo from Mr. Moore's Hawaiian holiday, an ad for the upcoming Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition or what -- yet whispers her outrage to another MP behind Mr. Moore's back after the offending laptop has been closed. Then, almost 24 hours later, she rises on a point of privilege to blindside a fellow MP with incendiary allegations that he was viewing in-appropriate material.

Nothing prevented her from taking a closer look the night before and tapping Mr. Moore on the shoulder to express a concern. Ms. Mathyssen, in striving to preserve the "dignity" and "respect" of the elected House, decided to simply unleash a drive-by smear in the name of scoring cheap political points.

Hansard has now documented the whole tawdry exchange (around the 15:20 mark):

Mrs. Irene Mathyssen (London—Fanshawe, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, last evening I was in the House to raise a question on behalf of my constituents. At that time, I saw the member for Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam with an open laptop on his desk and on the screen was an image of a scantily clad woman. This was in my clear view and in the clear view of the public gallery.

I feel very strongly that this is not only disrespectful of women, but it is disrespectful of the House. It reflects an attitude of objectifying women. We know that when women and other human beings are objectified and dehumanized, they become the objects of violence and abuse.

On the eve of December 6, we have to be mindful that we represent all the people of our communities, men and women, and that we are national leaders here. This is a place of power. That power must be used respectfully and it must be used with humility.

I ask that the member apologize to members of the House.

Mr. James Moore (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, with respect, I do not have the faintest idea what my colleague is talking about. Members in the House who have known me as a member of the House since 2000 know I treat the House with respect. With respect to what she is alleging, I do not have the faintest idea what she is talking about.

The Speaker:
I have to say that whatever is being talked about does not strike me as being a point of order. The House some time ago allowed members to bring computers into the House. What appears on the screens of computers is not under the control of the Chair. I would suggest that if members have concerns about this, they raise it with the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. If it wants to pass a rule saying computers are not allowed in the House, it can do so.

I am not getting into anything about content on computers. I am sure the hon. member for London—Fanshawe was not suggesting that the Chair control in any way the computer screens of hon. members. I cannot do that.

Hon. Karen Redman (Kitchener Centre, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, I rise on the same point of order. I would like to point out that I believe all members of the House are honourable. I know this is a very serious allegation. I would hope the member, who has been accused of this point of order, would look in his heart and perhaps look on his laptop on a day

Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

Hon. Karen Redman: Mr. Speaker, this is a serious allegation and I would hope the member, who has been named, would come back with more of an investigation to be able to—

The Speaker:
I have dealt with this matter. I do not believe that this kind of allegation is a point of order in the House. I will allow the hon. parliamentary secretary to say something more, but I am very concerned. This is not a matter of House procedure.

Mr. James Moore:
Mr. Speaker, with respect, I have taken great efforts throughout my political career to treat all my colleagues with the deepest of respect. I do not know where this attack is coming from, where these allegations are coming from. It is utterly baseless, utterly nonsensical.

I thank my colleagues every day and my constituents every day for giving me the honour of serving in the House. I would never do anything like what is being described to me today. I take great offence to what is being alleged here. I would never do what has been talked about. I respect the House too much to even consider doing what has been described to me. I love this place, I love serving my constituents and I am offended that this has even been alleged.

So far, James Moore's website is the only one I can see that has referenced the matter.

Nothing on Irene Mathyssen's. Does she plan to add this exchange to her "Irene in Parliament" page?

Karen Redman's website seems strangely inaccessible at this time... Will she be issuing an apology?

I'm not holding my breath.

Update: Website back up but no apology posted yet.

This article contains some interesting background information:

MPs have been allowed to bring mobile telephones, BlackBerrys and laptop computers into the Commons for a number of years, said Heather Bradley, a spokesperson for Speaker Peter Milliken.

Since December 2004, when the chamber received a number of technological upgrades, MPs have had access to wireless Internet. Unlike many work environments, however, there are no restrictions placed on what websites politicians can look at.

* * * *

Sandra Buckler, spokeswoman for the Prime Minister's Office, said she looked forward to Mathyssen's retraction in the House.

"Obviously, with the apology we look forward to the member making a statement to completely exonerate Mr. Moore," said Buckler.

Liberal MP Karen Redman sided with Mathyssen, calling it a "serious allegation" and urging Moore to "look in his heart, perhaps look on his laptop."


Anonymous said...

If a Conservative MP stood in the house and said something half as stupid as the NDP member, and followed up by Redman, Ralph Goodale would be having a kyniption demanding an apology. Hope Goodale and the Liberal's hold Redman to the same standards they expect of Conservative MP's, and demand an apology.


Gabby in QC said...

Remember Bob Rae's jump in the lake with Rick Mercer? Now THAT shows how progressive politicians are SO dignified.

And Scott Brison posing for a nude calendar - for a good cause, of course - but THAT certainly doesn't objectify human beings.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Typo fixed. Thanks to a reader tip on that. ;)

Anonymous said...

It just goes to show the NDP are just as adept and willing to swim in the gutter as the liberals are.

West Coast Teddi said...

Joanne and others ... I'm here at work "surfing the political sites" and this issue makes me very sad. I work in the healthcare field that is predominately female, and at my age (60+) have worked very hard to ensure that ALL individuals are treated with respect and dignity. I was brought up in the “locker room era” where women were viewed as objects so to speak but that was 40 years ago, but times have changed!

As a society we have evolved into a well respected civility except for the so called progressive edge that can’t seem to give up its fight for the battles that were waged and won long ago. This intolerant edge is making our lives miserable again for no good reason other than their selfish motives. The NDP are not the idealist that they claim. They have lost their reality and thus their way in life. Their only defense is to lash out and use terms and phrases that only slander and hurt with total disregard for the object of their anger.

In the James Moore case the biggest losers are the women who were murdered in Montreal. The NDP have sullied their name.

West Coast Teddi

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Well said, WCT. I was thinking the same thing; that this outburst of Mathyssen's and Redman's actually diminishes the cause of women. Women still are at a disadvantage regarding safety in our society.

But these antics in the House yesterday were a disservice to the memories of those women in Montreal.

LynnH said...

The NDP member comes across as a either feminist zealot or of having insincere outrage. Even if he had been viewing a picture of a scantily clad woman, who cares. Our liberated society has pretty much moved past this. Some may be offended or find it undignified but most would just shrug it off. Certainly not worthy of the side show it became.

Besides, doesn't the NDP champion the cause of legalizing sex trade workers. So it is OK to buy a women for sexual gratification but not view a "scantily" clad woman on a computer.

Anonymous said...

Without trying to excuse this new low by any means (The Schreiber circus is gutter politics enough), I want to bring to everyone's attention that an election is imminent (After all the Fibs have decided last weekend that Canadians are now ready for one. This said, the Libranos have decided to persue the female vote: The new lines of QP with the return entity of Belinda and her pink book is one example.
The NDP also courts the female vote.
Thus, NDP's Mathysson attacked but the Libs (Represented here by Redman) who don't want to loose their 'thunder' joined in an attempt to "control" the potential 'scandal'.

Sewer politics by increasingly desparate opposition parties...WE NEED AN ELECTION AND A CONSERVATIVE MAJORITY ASAP!

Grind a Grit

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Thus, NDP's Mathysson attacked but the Libs (Represented here by Redman) who don't want to loose their 'thunder' joined in an attempt to "control" the potential 'scandal'.

What an interesting theory... Yes, that makes a lot of sense if you look at it from their dysfunctional perspective.



Anonymous said...

Redman DIDN'T accuse Moore - oh and she did apologize and Moore thanked her and the other opposition members that supported him.

Mike Duffy said that it was a "Liberal MP, frontbencher" that came over to Duffy to say that Moore was showing him a picture of his dog

So, please, let's play nice for a change and stop the constant negativity, bash and trash.

It hurst people - Moore knows that now.

When will Bains get his apology?

You people are so biased you don't even want to see the truth - which is the Liberals supported Moore and he said so.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Redman DIDN'T accuse Moore - oh and she did apologize and Moore thanked her and the other opposition members that supported him.

She told him to look into his heart and his laptop. C'mon.

However, if you can find a link to Redman's apology, I'll be happy to publish it.

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Mike Duffy said that it was a "Liberal MP, frontbencher" that came over to Duffy to say that Moore was showing him a picture of his dog

So why did Karen Redman get involved?

Alberta Girl said...

Funny how the Liberal Front bencher didn't also rise on a point of order and clear the whole matter up in front of the house instead of waiting until he was outside the house to tell MD.