Thursday, September 13, 2007

Dimness at noon

Canada's Chief Electoral Officer, Marc Mayrand, scored a knockout in the first round with Tory MP Tom Lukiwski this morning, but I bet he bruised his knuckles.

Summoned before the House of Commons Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to "explain" the obvious--that the Canada Elections Act doesn't require veiled Muslim women to remove their veils in order to vote--he was told by the indignant MP that he was thwarting the will of Parliament.

In paraphrase, this was the subsequent exchange:

Mayrand: Parliament? I don't see Parliament here.

Lukiwski [looking around wildly]: You don't?

Mayrand: Well, with respect, no.

Lukiwski: Your ruling goes against the whole purpose of the Elections Act!

Mayrand: No it doesn't.

Lukiwski: Yes it does.

Mayrand: No, again with respect, it doesn't. The law says what it says. And Parliament didn't say any differently when it passed it.

Lukiwski: Aw, you could change it if you really wanted to.

Mayrand: Well, no, I can't.

Lukiwksi: Yes you can.

Mayrand: No, I simply can't. Parliament makes laws. As an agent of Parliament, I can only uphold the law.

Lukiwski: [inaudible]

Mayrand: Now, if you don't mind, I have three by-elections to run.

M. Mayrand was too much the unflappable public employee and gentleman to break into snickers and guffaws, so let's do it for him. And thanks, Tom, for setting a new IQ benchmark for Conservative Members of Parliament.

As Chris Selley asks, "What the hell is going on in this country?" I wish to hell I knew.

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