It's hard to pick just one low point of political rhetoric this week -- though the Prime Minister reviving his old ‘anti-Semite’ smears against Liberal MPs definitely qualifies. For those who missed it, Harper's comments came in a radio interview, in which he talked about how "...anti-Israel sentiment, really [can be] just...a thinly disguised veil for good old fashioned anti-Semitism."
Then Harper said: "I am disturbed that there are some elements in our political system, there are even some members of Parliament...some that were willing to cater to that kind of opinion."
Harper must have felt this worked when he first dragged out the allegation in 2006.
Pulling the smear out again this week, on the occasion of Israel's 60th anniversary as a nation, seems a little much.
But there was one, rare high point in an otherwise below-the-belt week in Canada's bleak political discourse. It came yesterday when Bill Blaikie, the longest-serving MP in the Commons, and the Deputy Speaker, shut down an inane, "in,out" chanting routine that Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre has been using in the Commons with mixed effect. (Actually, here in the office, we've been having some fun watching the trouble he's having getting backbenchers to chant in harmony with him. It's like watching choreography for the unco-ordinated.)
Here's what happened today:
Mr. Pierre Poilievre (Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I have systematically demonstrated that the Liberals participated in a program of in and out. They did this to get around national spending limits and to amplify their taxpayer-funded Elections Canada return.
On July 8, 2004, the Liberal Party transferred to Beth Phinney's local campaign $5,000. On July 9, 2004, Beth Phinney's local campaign transferred to the Liberal Party $5,000.
(ed note: And here the chant begins....) Five thousand in, five thousand out; in, out--
The Deputy Speaker: Order. Any more chanting like that, some people will find themselves just out.
Amen and TGIF.