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In what can only be described as one of the most bizarre moments I’ve experienced since getting elected in 2013, today I witnessed Mike de Jong, the MLA for Abbotsford West, once more challenging the Speaker for ruling certain language unparliamentary.

In Question Period, Jas Johal (MLA for Richmond Queensborough) referred to the Minister of Transportation as the Minister of Consultation Paralysis. The Speaker asked him to rephrase this and Mr. de Jong apparently felt that the Speaker’s ruling was inappropriate.

My colleague Sonia Furstenau rose to support the Speaker’s ruling. Please view the video exchange below and determine who has the most compelling argument. I think it should be obvious.

What’s remarkable about this is that it’s the second time that the MLA for Abbotsford West has openly challenged the Speaker.

On October 25, after Peter Milobar, the MLA for Kamloops North Thompson referred to the Agriculture Minister (Lana Popham) as the Minister of Intimidation. The Speaker asked him to withdraw the insult. Mike de Jong rose to Peter Milobar’s defense (see video below).


  1. Karen Drysdale-
    November 12, 2017 at 9:01 am

    Totally agree with Sonia. The first time I ever watched a parliamentary session I was disgusted. I had expected the whole process to be elegant, intelligent and inspirational. Boy was I shocked. It was like a bunch of kids in a sand box. Actually it was worse than that, insulting, mean-spirited, sarcastic, insulting and childish. I’ve never watched it since.

  2. P. Haylett-
    November 12, 2017 at 8:49 am

    I wonder how M. de Jong would describe his attitude towards harassment in the workplace or in civil society. Would he defend the long history of racial slurs, ethnic “jokes” and patriarchal put-downs (and worse) because they are our custom?
    His argumentation speaks to the elitism of “legislators” who believe their job is to make the rules not follow them.
    It is well known that parents and others in positions of authoruty have a duty to model community standards. Surely our repesentatives in the legislature recognize their responsibility as ministers (helpers) of the state.
    Should MLAs be such linguistically challenged and emotionally immature individuals that they find themselves at a loss for appropriate language while representing us, perhaps they should take up stand-up comedy, because the legislature is not the place for this failed attempt at put-down humour.

  3. G. F.-
    November 10, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    We do not need namecalling in our government. Our MPs and MLAs are not six years old.

    Sonia, I applaud that you’re making that point. Just because ‘we did it in the past’ is no reason to continue a distasteful or offensive practice.

    The past has happened. It will not change. It’s the job of our government to speak of the -future-.

  4. Deborah Greenfield-
    November 9, 2017 at 8:58 am

    Thank you to the Speaker and to the MLA from Cowichan Valley for efforts to eliminate name calling in the House. I expect our elected officials to demonstrate integrity, responsibility, and respect.

  5. Terry Stobbart-
    November 8, 2017 at 3:40 am

    I am extremely embarrassed that our members are resorting to bullying tactics instead of debating the issues in front of them. Insulting that deJong resorts to the very behaviour we struggle to keep our children from doing in school and out. Darryl Plecas is unflappable in light of this silliness and for that I’m impressed . I say grow up people and get to work or don’t plan on getting re-elected .

  6. Stan Davis-
    November 7, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    It was the BC Libs a number of years back that demanded more decorum and orderliness in the Leg; this is when Joy MacPhail was there, one of 2 opposition NDP MLA’s at the time, but had the voice and volume of about 8 during QP, and would put their feet to the fire. This became too much for them and I noticed one of the speakers after that time would bring the NDP in order after the slightest bit of heckling. I recall one time also that Joy made some comment and she was asked to withdraw; she wouldn’t and was asked to leave until she did. She then withdrew the comment. Oh, how the current Libs have amazingly forgotten all about that time now that it suits them in opposition, many of whom are still there and would totally remember that time period.

  7. martin-
    November 7, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    So what you are all saying is it is ok that for 100 years the opposition has spoken this way but now because you are finally not the opposition then it should all be changed and the opposition should be held to a higher standard because it is not you now

  8. Michael Bruce-
    November 7, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    The title ..Minister of______ should demand respect. When Dejong changes it to some other, or defends a fellow MLA who changes the title, then yes he is being unparliamentary.
    The Libs are such whipped-dog sore losers that it is difficult to fathom how they ran the province….no wait, they didn’t run the province did they?

  9. alex olson-
    November 7, 2017 at 1:34 pm

    The comment will not be withdrawn as a matter of pride.
    I can’t think of any other real reason for the comment not to be withdrawn. Swallow your pride and get on with the job of serving the people of BC. Very good points by the member from Cowichan.

  10. Laurel Lindstrom-
    November 7, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Thank you Mister Speaker
    As a Canadian I hold the members of parliament to a higher standard of behavior then the average school yard. I think as educated as these men and women are they do not need to use language and insults to get their points across. A debate of ideas is lost when grown Men and Women start slinging mud and insults, using language that one would not want their children exposed to, that is called a school yard bullying session. Time for these people to grown up and treat their office and fellow government officials with respect. It strikes me as odd that what we do not allow in our schools, and in our work places, and in many cases our homes is what is being permitted in our highest offices of our province and our country. Just because it has always been done does not mean it should be done or that it cannot change and evolve to reflect our times standards and morals …….. Thanks again from your average BCer.

  11. Nancy Furness-
    November 7, 2017 at 11:13 am

    Wow – Sonia rocks! Clear, concise, respectful and progressive – how refreshing!! :)

  12. George Assaf-
    November 7, 2017 at 9:48 am

    Thank you Mr Weaver, and an especial thank you to Ms Furstenau for so clearly articulating the reason that insults are not appropriate, whether or not it fits under parliamentary rules.

    It is sad that some people who’s entire job requires the use of language cannot do it without insulting others. Mr Johal would not have been permitted to speak that way at his former job, and should be able to get his point across without doing so now.

    As far as I know, the speaker is entitled to set the tone for the legislature. If he chooses to insist that members refrain from schoolyard bully tactics, that is entirely his right.

  13. al-
    November 6, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    Outrageous, de Jong should be reprimanded. His own argument is flawed. Conventions exist and are created by the everyday work in the house it is not the choice of a parliamentary to chose a fix ‘convention’ snapped in time at someone will that can be used to one’s convenience. Kudos to Sonia for recognizing and pointing that conventions evolve in time and only the latest and most just language should be used by our parliamentarians.
    Shame on de Jong, shame on Johal, shame on Milobar and shame on the fake offended woman requesting silence to the right of de Jong when she is the first to disturb and disrupt our government in QP when ever she has a chance.
    As for the October 25 event the chair should have ousted the parliamentarian who dared to speak as he was addressing the house.
    The speaker needs to be much less tolerant of these bullies.

  14. November 6, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    Sonia was articulate, passionate, and 100% correct…

    “Doing the Christy Clark” as in non-stop pissing contests is not a winning strategy….

    Hey Andrew…Adam Olsen is a good MLA…Sonia…She’s a rockstar…

    Thank you, and Sonia for giving reasoned voice..

    Cheers Eyes and Ears Wide Open

  15. Sandra Harris-
    November 6, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    Rich coming from the politically immoral bully Mike de Jong. Applause for Sonja standing up for decency. Well done@

  16. November 6, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    Why am I not surprised.