Richards in House of Commons spotlight

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Banff-Airdrie Conservative MP Blake Richards made headlines last week after he was called out by name and escorted out of the House of Commons when he refused to refrain from heckling.

According to Richards, this was a first in his nine years in the House, adding all is not what it appears and limited camera angles recording the room failed to capture much of what took place.

Richards said he stood his ground in protest to the actions of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau, who he said were making “nasty, partisan, over-the-top, personal comments about members of the Official Opposition.”

He said there was no shouting or angry slurs and that he does not support that “embarrassing type of behaviour” in the House.

Online recordings of the Nov. 27 question period show an exchange between Conservative Finance Critic Pierre Poilievre and Morneau, followed by Speaker Geoff Regan addressing Richards by name in his attempt to call the room to order. The speaker then provided the MP the choice to leave the room or be escorted out; Regan quickly followed by asking the sergeant-at-arms to escort Richards into the lobby.

Richards said he left on his own accord and was not escorted out, but that the sergeant-at-arms followed him out into the lobby.

Richards said Conservatives questioning Morneau on the sale of $10 million in personal shares nearly two years ago – one week before the federal government tabled legislation that Conservatives suggest impacted their value – was met with condescending and evasive responses.

Richards said he has previously called out Trudeau for “egregious behaviour” for “making faces” at members of the official opposition and “sticking his tongue out” at them.

“It’s unfortunate that people (Trudeau and Morneau) can behave like that and that the person who calls out their behaviour is the person targeted for it,” said Richards, adding he stood his ground. While he recognizes there are other avenues to get his point across, Richards said he stood up for what he believed was right in that moment.

According to Heather Bradley, communications director for the Office of the Speaker, it is uncommon to be named in the House of Commons.

She explained it is typical the speaker refers to MPs by their riding – not individual – name.

According to House legislation, if a member hesitates or refuses to comply with the direction provided by the speaker, it will result in the speaker naming the member.

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Rocky Mountain Outlook