Members of the Ontario legislature were taken on the political equivalent of a trip to the wood shed yesterday as Speaker Steve Peters blasted them for “schoolyard name-calling” and heckling that makes it impossible to hear each other.
Peters took several minutes before the daily question period to chastise politicians from all three parties for using disrespectful language, and said recent debates had provided some “troubling” examples.
“Words like stupid, jerk, bamboozle, hoodwink and fabrications — along with references to booze cruises, pickpockets and bathroom breaks — do nothing to enhance decorum in this place or garner the respect of the citizens we serve,” he said.
“Neither does constant and repetitive heckling to the point where it is difficult or impossible to hear a colleague speak.”
Scolding the politicians even further, Peters said hurling insults and engaging in personal attacks debases the legislature and casts a shadow on all elected officials.
New Democrat Peter Kormos, well-known for his loud heckling, admitted there had been some recent “rude, offensive” attacks.
“There’s nothing wrong with heckling, and a witty heckle is always welcome, but at the same time a lot of what we hear in there is offensive stuff,” Kormos said.