A backbencher gets his due

The national wire service takes note of LaVar Payne’s contribution to our democracy.

Monday was LaVar Payne’s day to shine. You may have never heard of the Conservative backbencher from Medicine Hat, Alta. — but if you tuned into question period, you likely heard him. Payne, a first-term MP elected in 2008, carried on a running stream of abuse from the back row Monday, the cupped hand at the side of his mouth helping project his nasal whine into the farthest reaches of the Commons.

“Is that from American, professor?” he taunted Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff. “You signed on to that as an American, professor!”

When Jack Layton rose for a question, Payne lit into him — “You never co-operate, Jack!” — causing the NDP leader to break stride and offer an aside. Layton dryly noted that the new focus on decorum “is working out well on the government side.”

In fairness, this is nothing unusual for Mr. Payne. Indeed, from the back row of the government side he has distinguished himself as perhaps his team’s most insistent and consistent heckler, often repeating the same banality over and over on the off chance the other members of the House did not hear him the first dozen times. Few are as demonstrably and tirelessly engaged. The people of Medicine Hat should be very proud.

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