#elbowgate: an open letter to Canadians

People, I’ve been away too long: I have no idea whether it’s common practice or an outrageous aberration in Canadian parliament to try to kill a bill by physically blocking the Opposition from getting to their seats; I don’t know whether the NDP wanted to kill this particular humane and long-overdue bill because it is too sweeping/doesn’t go far enough, or merely out of political expediency that just sadly happens to heave a spanner into the hopes of those who are waiting for release from unbearable pain; I don’t know which way the Conservative whip was going to vote. From the view that I have at this distance, watching the game play out almost as a backdrop to Turkish parliamentarians actually standing up on desks to fling themselves bodily into the usual parliamentary melee, I’m a bit bemused at how Canadians have got so worked up over it.

But I do have one thought on the subject, which I’d like to toss into this very mild-mannered, very Canadian (but nonetheless deeply felt) debate. A clue to what really happened in Parliament at the moment Justin strode so purposefully across the chamber, and it is this:

It’s like going home at Christmas, people. You know how you arrive back at the family homestead a solid, functioning adult with a career and a life, and within half an hour, there you are sulking in your old bedroom, having just shouted obscenities at your sister/brother/mother that haven’t passed your lips since last Christmas?

Activating old patterns. If you tell me it’s never happened to you, it’s because you’re an orphan only child. We are none of us immune to old patterns.

And that would include the Prime Minister. He’s a schoolteacher, innit, folks? He saw this adolescent fracas with some bullying developing, and as he watched, the august parliamentary chamber melted away and through the mist there arose a schoolyard. He was not, of course, the only one who saw it. But in him it triggered an old pattern and he went over to put a stop to the nonsense before it got out of hand.

And that, I put it to you, is it. But like any schoolyard fracas, it’s got the rest of you taking sides, and being true Canadians, I hear, most of you are taking the teacher’s side. (“What do we want? Peace, order and good government!”)

Meanwhile, people, what has happened to the bill that was supposed to offer horribly suffering people an escape from their misery?

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