By Trevor Busch
Civility and decorum in the House of Commons amongst rival and opposing MPs in recent years has often been a subject of criticism about the political process in Canada.
Rising in the House on Oct. 6, Bow River MP Martin Shields advocated for the retention of a simple measure that helped bring members together in an atmosphere of congeniality rather than bitter partisan discourse.
“One of the things about being an older guy is that I understand what you are saying about decorum in the House. What used to happen, for example, is that there were no meals in the lobbies but these were provided for all MPs in the room next door. That specific activity allowed much greater socializing amongst the MPs from all parties. They knew where the food was and they went there. It provided for much better social interaction,” said Shields.
“I believe that when we are talking about the behaviour and decorum in the House, losing that simple thing has decreased our sociability.”
Shields went on point out that improving personal interactions between opposing MPs could help lead to better understanding in future when confronting each other over various issues of the day.
“When we are sitting in this style here and in committees, it does not provide for better decorum because we are set up in opposition. Improving the social function with this piece alone would be a better solution for us.”