Canada’s national public broadcaster carried a short televised interview with Green Party Leader Elizabeth May on Oct. 30.
She was sitting at a kitchen table that looked a little worse for wear, and in need of a coat of varnish — allow me to emphasize that reference is made about the dilapidated state of the table, and not necessarily the person sitting at it.
Loquacious Liz declared interest in procuring the position of Speaker in the next parliament, and put forth her credentials as “being completely non-partisan and fully understanding parliamentary procedure.”
She said that she contemplated applying for the Speaker’s position in 2015, but was in Paris at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 21) when nominations were being processed. No mention was made of her well-publicized and highly-embarrassing foul-mouthed outburst in front of parliamentarians at the National Press Gallery dinner a mere six months earlier on May 11, 2015.
A sane-minded observer may conclude that kind of public misbehaviour in front of her peers and the world’s media would exclude any parliamentarian from holding the prestigious role of Speaker.
May’s boasts of her stellar parliamentary record since first elected in 2011, but many Canadians best remember her for protesting Conservative MP Michelle Rempel’s use of a colourful phrase in a debate on Nov. 16 2016. Ms. Rempel had beseeched the Liberal government not to ignore her home province of Alberta like a “fart in the room.”
May, whose party caucus for most of her time in Ottawa has numbered one, had to grab any possible way of making herself heard in the House of Commons. She chose to turn the parliament into the theatre of the absurd, when indignantly standing on a point of order to complain vehemently about Rempel’s use of such a colourful phrase.
In so doing, May would dramatically only bring herself to spell out the word “f-a-r-t”, as if it was such a decidedly disgusting word that George Carlin included in his seven words never to be used on television.
Without a doubt that interruption was May’s parliamentary zenith or nadir, depending on your point of view.
The Green Party once again failed to live up to expectations in the just concluded federal election, and she has already declared that she wants to relinquish the party leadership, sooner rather than later. There has never been a microphone nor television camera that May has not had a love affair with.
Canadians have to wonder if she could be seeking a little fame before retirement, having seen how the Speaker of the British House of Commons became an international media figure during the Brexit debates by bellowing “Order! Order!”