Before a week ago, nobody knew who Brigette DePape was until one seemingly innocent protest message changed that forever. If you missed it, on the opening day of the newest session of Canada’s Federal Parliament, a parliamentary page decided her moment had come. For your information, just in case you didn’t know, “Parliamentary Pages” are a truly historic facet of Canada’s, and indeed, the British political system. Parliament consists of over 300 elected members from across the country. Parliament “sits” a couple times a year where legislation is introduced, debated and voted on. While in the House, elected members can send and receive messages (this started BTB…Before The Blackberry) and the persons in charge of this and other assorted grunt duties are “Pages”. Historically “boys” and then not so long ago, “girls” were appointed to a post that began as purely volunteer duty, and then the addition of a very small salary, the position is not only steeped in tradition but to be a “Page” has always been a great honor. Apparently, this twenty-something, also a university student, decided her opinion was more important than hundreds of years of dignified duty and in a Warholian stab at fame, Ms. DePape pulled from beneath her work clothes, also traditional garb, a folded sign that when opened and in the shape of a stop-sign stated “Stop Harper”. The “Harper” would be the newly elected majority Prime Minister, The Right Honorable Stephen Harper.
She was abruptly steered aside by security officials and escorted from the House and then abruptly fired. They may have momentarily stifled her but as you might imagine, her story became front-page news and this relatively anonomous person became “famous’. Within days of losing her job her reason became clear…she doesn’t like Prime Minister Harper or his Conservative majority government. I will digress from political discourse but should add that she believes the government’s policies and beliefs will destroy Canada and she wanted to state her mind. Fine. We live in a democracy, thankfully, and I suppose her opinion has some worth but my problem is her choice of how.
I am all for change, in fact addressing the ignorance that the “good old days” presented to a guy born wihout arms in every speech I give. But I am also for tradition and more importantly, I am very for dignity and honor and Ms. DePape blew all three in five seconds and worse, she seemed very proud of herself. As if this story couldn’t get more ridiculous, famous counter-culture film-maker, Michael Moore, when hearing of her story, offered her a job. Really?
This whole affair isn’t a huge surprise when one ponders the decline of manners and respect that has been fodder for media and public discourse for the last few years and it’s not like she pulled out a hidden weapon and went nuts; although security measures are being analyzed as the possiblity of that morbid thought did cross their mind. Still, and I am sure I’m not alone here; where has respect gone? I have blogged about this before and I do have other issues but there must be a reason why this comes up so much. People need to start growing a backbone and stand up to rude and immature behaviour. We’re told to mind our own business but as self-serving and aggressive lack of manners bleeds further and further into our world, the losers start winning and I for one am not ready to surrender.
Mr. Moore…shame on your for condoning this type of behaviour although one only has to take a short look at you and understand how low your standards are. Ms. DePape; shame on you for your disrespect and lack of honour…you really need to grow up!
Everybody else; stand up against those that choose bullying behaviour and rudeness as their modus operendai…they get no excuse!