A difficult moment in the Senate tonight. ISG Senator Mary Jane McCallum, speaking to Bill C-15, held an eagle feather. Conservative leader Don Plett rose on a point of order, asking the Speaker to decide whether the feather was allowed. Debate ensued.. @ISGSenate #SenCa
The Speaker was compelled to break for dinner moment later, at 6 pm EDT. Debate over whether an Indigenous Senator can hold an eagle feather when they speak will likely be debated more then. The Speaker may rule tonight - or may reserve his decision.
For context: props are not allowed in the Senate. No charts. No T-shirts with slogans. But is an eagle feather a prop? Or more akin to a sacred symbol?
To be clear - I don’t think an eagle feather is a prop. But the ultimate decision will rest with the Speaker. I will keep you apprised.
Sen Don Plett has stood to say he still believes his point of order is valid, but that he will withdraw it, and apologize to Senator McCallum if he hurt her “in light of the circumstances we are in.” #SenCA
Senator McCallum has thanked Sen. Plett for his apology.

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More from @Paulatics

1 Jun
There's lots of talk on Twitter today about whether we should take down the Grey Nuns mural in the Grandin LRT station. I talked about that issue of @aaronpaquette last winter, as part of @AlbertaUnbound. Here's an excerpt. #yeg #yegheritage
Here's my whole conversation with Aaron about truth, reconciliation, the intergenerational legacy of residential schools, and how we, as Albertans and Canadians, need to confront (and depict) that history. podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/s2-… @aaronpaquette @AlbertaUnbound
Aaron and I recorded that conversation in December - before the horrible details of the Kamloops burials were known, but with both of us well aware of the horrific legacy of residential schools. But I feel as if last week's news was an epiphany and turning point for many.
Read 4 tweets
31 May
At the Alberta Legislature. A sunny day. A solemn vigil. #215children #ableg #yeg #SenCA ImageImage
The vigil begin now with smudge and prayer. #215children #215CanadaDayOfMourning #yeg #ableg #SenCA ImageImage
“We’re feeling this grief, coast to coast on Turtle Island,” says Kookum Kathy. “We’re feeling it in the marrow of our bones.” #215children #215CanadaDayOfMourning #yeg #ableg Image
Read 5 tweets
13 Apr
Debate begins now on @jeneroux 's Private Members Bill C-220 is beginning now. parlvu.parl.gc.ca/Harmony/en/Pow… #cdnpoli #SenCa #yeg
The report of the committee was adopted unanimously - and third reading begins now, with @jeneroux, the MP for Edmonton-Riverbend. parlvu.parl.gc.ca/Harmony/en/Pow…
Matt Jeneroux begins by thanking Liberal MP @AHousefather for his championship of the bill, and then thanking many MPs from all parties for their support of this bill - which will grant workers under the Canada Labour Code an additional 5 days of bereavement leave. #cdnpoli #yeg
Read 10 tweets
12 Mar
There has been so much (quite legitimate) griping about airlocks in Alberta's Covid testing and vaccine booking systems, that today I wanted to share two more hopeful anecdotes, by way of happy balance.
Monday, my nephew was sent home from his high school, after one of his schoolmates tested positive for Covid. He went for his own test Thursday afternoon. There were no lines at all - he was in and out of the Expo Centre in less than 30 minutes.
AHS texted his test results at 3:20 this morning - negative, thank goodness. That was about 12 hours after he was swabbed. I was impressed with the turn-around. (Especially since I wasn't the one awakened by that 3 AM text.)
Read 5 tweets
12 Mar
This afternoon, the Other Place passed Bill C-7, with changes as suggested by the Senate, including a 24 month sunset clause on the prohibition of MAID for those suffering solely from a psychiatric condition. Here is my own Senate speech on this point:
Let us be crystal clear. This would not mean that people suffering from suicidal ideation or transient depression would be offered medical aid in dying. Nor would MAID be available to anyone who was delusional or lacked capacity to consent.
There are all kinds of psychiatric conditions that are not depression. And you can be “mentally ill” and still have clear legal capacity to make your own medical decisions. Each patient would need to be accessed individually and with great clinical care.
Read 6 tweets
9 Mar
A lot of people have asked why I haven't spoken out more publicly about the plight of the beautiful & historic Ring Houses on the University of Alberta campus. After all, as a newspaper columnist, I was a very public advocate of heritage preservation. But now - I'm a senator.
And that's a differnt role. As a columnist, it was my job to be a frank and outspoken catalyst for community debate. And I raised a stink about all kinds of heritage buildings that I fought to save. Some stories had happy endings. No column of mine saved a building. But...
Often times, conversations I provoked inspired others to step in. When I travel #yeg and see buildings such as the old Molson Brewery, or the old Bay Building (Enterprise Square) or the old McDougall United Church, I rejoice to see the splendid buildings we came together to save.
Read 13 tweets

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