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Another young MP bucks his party in emergency debate

Another young MP bucks his party in emergency debate

Earlier this week Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, the 39-year-old Liberal M.P. for Beaches-East York who has received media coverage in the past for his independent points of view criticized his own party over its part in the political polarization that is rampant in Canada, and, as a lawyer, expressed grave doubts about whether the Emergency Act was properly applied.

Also taking part in the debate was the Conservative MP from Dryden, 29-year-old Eric Melillo, who like Erskine Smith, demonstrated some independence of thought in his remarks on the Emergency Act debate. He voted against the act, but chided some of his fellow conservatives for their rhetoric in criticizing Prime Minister Trudeau.

We are seeing people accusing the Prime Minister of being a communist dictator, which is ridiculous and untrue. We are seeing hate and polarization all across this chamber and across this country, and putting an end to it starts right here with every single one of us in the House. We need to turn down the heat. We need to tone down the rhetoric as my friend before me mentioned.

    I am shocked that I have to say this in the House. We have a Prime Minister who was democratically elected three times, who commands the confidence of this chamber, yet there are many people across the country who are not seeing it as legitimate and that is a very big problem in our democracy. I disagree with the use of the Emergencies Act. I believe it is far-reaching, but it does not make the Prime Minister a dictator. He is within his right to invoke it.

    My plea to all of my colleagues is to think about the words we use in this place. We cannot throw around words like “dictator” and “racist” flippantly. These words matter. They carry weight and when we use these words so casually, we delegitimize the true evils that have been experienced by many people and continue to be experienced by many people in the world.

    I am asking all of my colleagues to look at their comments, look at their rhetoric and reassess because we are seeing divisions created that I do not know how we come back from at this point. I am urging all my colleagues to tone down the rhetoric and work to unify. I do not mean to unify in the sense that we all agree on everything. We never will, nor should we, but let us have a respectful debate about the issues. Surely we do not need to resort to name-calling and personal attacks.

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