B.C. Legislators Need to Stop Playing the Name Game

Speaker Darryl Plecas is right to crack down against the use of nicknames in the assembly

Nat Mussell

Members of the Legislative Assembly in British Columbia are known for exercising their freedom of speech through the use of degrading and derogatory names, often using these names to insult members of opposing parties.

It’s been a pretty regular practice in the assembly for decades, with MLAs cooking up increasingly hurtful names throughout the years. Earlier this month, however, the Legislature’s Speaker Darryl Plecas has said that he’s looking to put an end to the name calling.

“I conclude that the unofficial and at times mocking or derogatory titles when directing a question to a minister of the Crown is indeed disrespectful to the minister and reflects poorly on this institution,” Plecas said in early November, according to The Vancouver Sun.

While Premier Horgan endorses the ban, most of the other goobers in government—specifically members of the Liberal Party who constitute the opposition to Horgan’s government—feel it sets a dangerous precedent; after all, what fails to respect freedom of speech worse than intimidating your opposition so badly that they might be afraid to speak?

So are those knuckle-dragging nitwits wrong when they say that insulting members of the opposite party is their Lieutenant-Governor-General-given right? Apparently a few of B.C.’s teachers seem to think so.

According to an interview that Michael Prince, a social policy expert at the University of Victoria, gave to The Canadian Press, some teachers have chosen not to bring their students back to the Legislative Assembly after hearing some of the insulting nicknames levied at the ministers there.

So, to the MLAs who keep this schoolyard bully-like practice up, I say to you: Cut it out. You’re embarrassing our youth.

You can moan all you want about how your boss telling you that you can’t mercilessly taunt your coworkers is stifling your right to free speech, but the Speaker of the Assembly isn’t actually setting any “dangerous new precedents” here. There are already limitations to free speech—laws against libel, slander, and privacy infringement to name a few—and rarely does anybody complain about those. Besides, the statement that Plecas is hoping to communicate is, “Hey, don’t be a jerk at your job.” Seems pretty reasonable to me.

Either way, to B.C.’s MLAs, don’t you think that it’s just a bit immature to be name-calling when you’re literally supposed to be the people running this province? You know you’re supposed to be adults, right?

I, for one, would really like to know that you, our province’s leaders, are spending your on-the-job time making this place we love to live in better, rather than coming up with new ways to insult your peers. I’d like to see you acting like professionals, not like children.

You don’t have to get along with your coworkers—goodness knows that I have a few that make my nights at work a living hell—but have some decorum, would you? If you’re really so immature that you can’t just be cordial while talking about the future of the province and its people, you stooges could use a field trip back to kindergarten.

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