On the morning after the president of the United States sent 59 cruise missiles into Syria, the first major military act of the wildly unpredictable Trump era, there was some confusion as to whether the prime minister of Canada had the unanimous consent of the House of Commons to stand and deliver a statement on the situation.
Shortly before 11 a.m., 15 minutes after the prime minister had been rumoured to speak, the NDP’s Matthew Dubé stood on a point of order to ask where Justin Trudeau was. Kevin Lamoureux, the deputy Liberal House leader, suggested that Dubé talk to his own side about whether they had agreed to let Trudeau speak.
Back to Dubé, who stood and testified that there was such agreement. Then to Candice Bergen, the Conservative House leader, who informed the House that her party was also agreed.
The Speaker finally rose and suggested the parties take the discussion to the lobby.
So let it be noted that not even an act of war can shake this stolid House from its commitment to low-level dysfunction.
Otherwise, the sudden escalation of an intractable tragedy was a moment that seemed to call out for urgent comment. And so the nation’s leaders were pressed into action.
Thing is, there is only so much anyone has to say.