"My point of privilege is based upon the simple fact that members of the legislative assembly of Ontario should be free from any attempts at intimidation, especially the Speaker," said PC house leader Jim Wilson.
Any attempts at intimidation.
It's a brave thing the Member from Simcoe Grey is doing, taking a stand against bullying in the Legislative Assembly. Question Period, after all, is the mother of intimidation games - the heckling, the taunts, the over-the-top accusations put any schoolyard to shame. Despite the cross-partisan recognition of bullying as harmful and a commitment to do something about it, there's still this thing about politics being a blood sport - politicians tell themselves (and sell the message to us) that you have to be tough and legislate with your elbows up, that the rules legislators say are necessary everywhere else simply don't apply to them.
For MPP Wilson to take a strong stance against any attempt of intimidation, including heckling, is to risk being called weak by his colleagues. Good for him, sticking by his beliefs regardless.
Of course, politicians are no different than anyone else - in fact, as we're seeing with Rob Ford, we kinda like politicians who are average Janes and Joes. Well, average folk don't perform so well under the kinds of stress intimidation - be it bullying in the schoolyard, belittlement in the workplace or heckling in the Legislature - that politicians expose themselves to every time they stand and speak on behalf of their constituents.
We've seen what the heckling gets us - tribal partisanship, circled wagons, a great deal of time and energy dedicated to thrust and parry rather than actual legislation.
Wilson's got my support on this; I hope he has yours as well. I look forward to his leading by example when the House resumes September 9th.
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