Hey you kids, listen up good

Alan Elliott
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A pox on both your houses -- it's not every day you hear a head honcho in the legislature put it in no uncertain terms to the miscreants he's in charge of keeping in order. But it wouldn't hurt if it happened a lot more often.
More power to ya buddy and a free fridge magnet goes out to the Speaker of the House in the New Brunswick legislature for chastising members over their ill manners during session. A news item a couple of weeks ago told how Roy Boudreau quickly got fed up with both the Liberals and Conservatives when the discussion unravelled into the name-calling, bickering and finger-pointing that has most of us loving to hate politics. He went so far as to describe their behaviour as akin to a bunch of kids at a keg party.
That's a good one. I wish I'd thought of that. It should be noted that Boudreau is a retired school principal, so it's safe to say he's seen unruly activity before. Describing their antics as "way beyond reproachable," he was just shocked to see it among grown adults supposedly immersed in doing the business of the province.
Of course I realize the challenges shouted in the House are borne of rich British parliamentary tradition. But the British, especially with their funny accents, put a little more thought and style into it. "I say old chap, is that a moustache you're hiding behind or did you swallow a walrus for breakfast?"
Stuff along those lines: the British are never lost for words when it comes to grand, old wit and humour and the most eloquent of putdowns.
Back to the New Brunswick speaker and his laying down the law: a person could take it a step further, beyond comparing them to a bunch of teenagers who've had their first taste of strong liquor. What do you do with kids who misbehave? Why, you take away privileges and maybe some of their electronic toys.
Some schools have policy telling kids to turn off the cellphones and put away the iPods and other techno-gadgets when they enter. They're there to learn after all.
Thusly, the way to manage these bunch of overgrown keg party animals might be to take away some privileges when they step over the line. You watch a session and you'll see some of them doodling away, playing games on their laptops when they're supposed to be paying attention. For the ones who manage to stay awake, you might just as well have a bar and a dart board in the corner.
And speaking of laptop use in the house, what's up with that MP some months back? He was mistakenly accused by an NDP-er of surfing porn during parliament. But whoops, it was a mistake, it turned out the image was the screen background, and featured the MP's scantily clad girlfriend. An apology was issued, foot withdrawn from mouth, everything was fine.
But hold on, am I a bit of a prude, or did anyone else wonder about that? His scantily clad girlfriend as a screensaver? ... on display for all on the benches behind him to see? I wonder what his girlfriend -- unless she's a Victoria's Secret model -- thinks about that?
If I were the Speaker in that instance I'd be taking his laptop away. "Hey buddy, if it's a lapdance you're interested in you'll have to look for that downtown."
Some nerve. Then of course the computer would need to be confiscated for the subsequent in-depth, internal investigation.
I say take their gadgets away from them so they pay attention. Screen them at the door. We probably don't have to worry about sharp objects and weapons, just mainly the diversions.
But, like checking kids for ID, see that they have their wits on them. Advise they keep them on their person at all times, they might be asked to show them.

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