Despite the fact that all experts agree that our best defences against contacting and spreading H1N1 are to wash our hands, cover our mouths and STAY HOME if we're sick, the Reform Conservatives refused to allow a Bloc MP to pair his vote because his daughter has H1N1 and he believes that he does too.
Instead they made him show up for the vote, risking all others in the House. Dimi-Witty claimed that they already moved up the voting to accommodate him. What difference does it make what time he shows up sick. HE WAS SICK!
If there was ever a good reason to reject neo-conservatism, this is it. 'There is no such thing as society', 'there is no such thing as humanity'.
They want this gun registry scrapped so bad that they not only resort to blackmail, but would risk the health of everyone on Parliament Hill. Unbelievable!
Tories criticized for refusing to accommodate MP with possible H1N1
By Meagan Fitzpatrick,
Canwest News Service
November 4, 2009
OTTAWA — While MPs were sitting in the House of Commons Wednesday night awaiting their turn to vote on the long-gun registry, some were also wondering why Bloc Quebecois MP Claude Guimond was sporting a surgical mask.
Following the vote, Bloc Leader Gilles Duceppe told reporters that Guimond likely has the H1N1 flu but had to come to Parliament Hill to vote because the Conservatives refused to "pair" his vote.
Duceppe said a request was made Wednesday morning to have a Tory MP miss the vote to balance out Guimond's absence if he stayed home sick, but the request was refused.
"We asked again five minutes before the vote to pair him, they refused," said Duceppe. "I think it's just disgusting from the Tories to have such an attitude."
Duceppe said Guimond's daughter had H1N1 and that the MP is awaiting confirmation on whether he has the illness that is gripping the nation. The Public Health Agency of Canada has consistently said that anyone who is sick should stay home.
Dimitri Soudas, press secretary for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, said the pairing arrangement that is sometimes used in Parliament did not apply to Wednesday's circumstances.
"Pairing wasn't an option," he told Canwest News Service.
According to Parliament's procedural guidelines, pairing is defined as an arrangement where a government MP and an opposition MP agree not to vote for a specific period of time which allows MPs to be absent on other business. The arrangement is worked out either through the whip offices of each party or by the MPs themselves.
Soudas said all members of the Tory caucus planned to attend the controversial gun registry vote and that it's incumbent on MPs to decide whether they can or cannot attend votes.
He said the Conservatives did accommodate Guimond by moving up the scheduled time of the vote.
Opposition MPs said the government should have been more reasonable and co-operated with the Bloc's request.
NDP MP Paul Dewar said Guimond was trying to abide by the government's own advice to stay home if you're sick.
"I find it unfortunate and I think it's really sad that they decided not to accommodate Mr. Guimond," said Dewar, adding that a mixed message has now been sent to Canadians.
"They're basically saying here's the advice for Canadians but we'll do the opposite. They should be held accountable for that."
Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett, the party's health critic, also expressed shock that the Bloc and Tories didn't pair votes.
"I am speechless . . . this is ridiculous in terms of an example," she said.