On Heckling, or Oral Violations of Standing Order 16
To exclaim, loudly, is no boorish act -
So long as Members honour the contract
That one is silent to let others speak,
To audit discourse with thought forensic.
What worth’s an audience for one’s remarks,
If Prejudice presumes one’s words bulwarks
For Blarney or Prevarication (worse)—
So that every utterance sounds a curse
And every sigh boomerangs as a roar?
Or dissertation occasion outpour
Of “pooh-pooh” or “bah” or “fuddle duddle”
Or “oink-oink,” “yap-yap,” so all thoughts muddle
And the people’s business echoes a brawl—
And Parliament a stop on a pub-crawl—
As if Dr. Seuss has stepped in to preach,
So Beelzebub hub-bub substitutes for Speech—
And balderdash and brouhaha and din
Negate Reason so Philosophy’s Sin;
And rules of Decorum seem writ in rum,
And Babble balloons like brats’ bubblegum…..
To interject a Point of Order’s fine!
But to interrupt speakers by design
Of Outrage pretended, or snarky quip
Suggests one’s Eloquence quits at each lip,
Or that one’d fail a Lie-Detector Test,
So one’s riposte proves Kindergarten jest—
Or barnyard monosyllable, uncouth
Yinkyank, salty as a delinquent youth,
Or some Shakespeare fishwife assaulting ears—
With Wit’s antonyms, synonyms of jeers….
Honourable Members should remember
Standing Order 16, not dismember
This Corps, spiking it with Interjection
(That Savagery mimics Vivisection).
Note accordingly: The desire to heckle
Makes hideous Hyde of gentle Jekyll,
And would besmirch a church as much as schools,
So philosophes degenerate to fools,
And a lecture or a revelation
Becomes conjecture or imprecation;
And all who yahoo like ruffians or thugs
May be ejected—tossed out on their mugs,
As the Sergeant-At- Arms may have to do—
To restore Order the disordered rue.
So to this House, let no impediment
Obstruct the people’s select Government,
For Opposition must not pose nor act
Facetious, supercilious, nor “refract”;
Or else they’re unruly as clowns that ruckus,
Nasty as freaks—or cranks at a circus.
The House of Commons is not for comics—
Despite Pierre Trudeau’s quip! All frolics
And hijinks belong to trapeze artists,
Jugglers, acrobats, somersaulters’ twists,
And buskers on streets, not to elected
Members, whose actions should be respected;
And whose words come sobre, precise, exact—
Scholarly in tone and intoned as Fact.
Squalid is that language meant to lambaste—
Whose weight is piffle and whose worth is waste.
Honourable members, I now appeal
To thy Honour to be honest in zeal,
To protest when opportune, to deny
And contradict when there’s proof of a Lie;
But to refrain from plain Obstinacy
When it’s vain, for such is Profligacy.
Let Truth guide us, never whim for Drama:
What else governs well beloved Canada?
[Commissioned by the Hon. Geoff Regan, Speaker of the House of Commons, December 2017.]