Speaker Scheer scolds the House

It’s getting a bit noisy in there

Yesterday during QP, with John Baird participating in a bit of heckling from the front row of the government side, Speaker Andrew Scheer paused momentarily between recognizing someone else to casually caution the foreign affairs minister.

I am just going to let the Minister of Foreign Affairs know that I am going to recognize the Minister of Justice to answer the question. The honourable Minister of Justice.

The Speaker has had his moments of impatience with the combatants before, but perhaps he’s in a bit of a mood these days because today he was about as cheeky (or cranky) as I think I’ve ever heard him.

(You have to like how the Speaker’s warning receives an “oohhh” from the crowd. It really is like watching a class of Grade 8s some days.)

This was the most aggressive of a few attempts to shush the House this afternoon—perhaps an attempt to get ahead of some late spring crankiness. I think I might even encourage a bit more of this tone. Perhaps we need the Speaker outright ridiculing those who misbehave. It would at least provide for a bit more entertainment and it’s not like the place currently possesses an abundance of wit. (To be clear: I don’t mind a bit of heckling and noise. I’m more generally dispirited with what people say when they’re the recognized speaker.)

I have only a casual impression of John Bercow, the Speaker in the British House of Commons, but he seems to have a bit more of an edge to him. Here is one collection of his work and here is another. There was also this lecture.

And he’s cut off the Prime Minister a couple times now. (All of those clips might disabuse you of any notion that the Mother Parliament is a perfectly genteel salon.)

Though I’ve argued that our Speaker should be empowered to cut off unnecessary responses, I suppose it would be a rather dramatic change were Andrew Scheer to begin chewing people out every so often. Still, a bit of ridicule might be fine. I mean, if everyone else gets to make fun of each other, I’m not sure why the Speaker should have to refrain. Seems only fair that he should be able to get a few shots in too.

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