Andrew Scheer is just so mad, you guys.
He’s so mad, he’s doing the least he can possibly do to discipline a Conservative caucus member who got into some major hot water during a parliamentary hearing.
Here’s the situation in a nutshell.
Conservative MP Michael Cooper (St. Albert-Edmonton) took umbrage with Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council President Faisal Khan Suri, during a hearing about online hate.
According to multiple news outlets, Suri commented on a couple of infamous mass shooters— Alexandre Bissonnette, who killed six people in Quebec City in 2017 and New Zealand mass shooter Brenton Tarrant — saying they sought out alt-right and conservative commentators and alt-right online networks.
“I take great umbrage with your defamatory comments to try to link conservatism with violence and extremist attacks,” Cooper said at the hearing. “They have no foundation. They are defamatory. And they diminish your credibility as a witness,” said Cooper.
He then read — he actually quoted! — the New Zealand shooter’s manifesto.
Suri was appalled, as were other MPs at the hearing.
In response, the fired up Conservative leader Andrew Scheer threw Cooper out of caucus, saying he would not tolerate those kind of statements.
Ha ha. I kid. Of course he didn’t throw Cooper out of caucus. He just removed him from the justice committee. Mr. Cooper will keep his role as deputy justice critic, because really, quoting a mass shooter, who specifically killed Muslims, in order to berate a Muslim witness at a hearing, is NBD (no big deal).
“I have spoken with Michael Cooper about comments he made at the Justice Committee earlier this week. Having taken the time to review the incident, I have informed him that he will no longer sit on the Justice committee as a consequence,” Scheer posted on Twitter.
“Reading the name and quoting the words of the Christchurch shooter, especially when directed at a Muslim witness during a parliamentary hearing, is insensitive and unacceptable. Mr. Cooper has apologized. I accept his apology and I consider the matter closed.”
It’s over. Nothing to see here. Move along.
Mr. Suri says Cooper should be tossed out of caucus for his “un-Canadian” statements.
But according to Scheer, Cooper said he was sorry! Dad has spoken to him, he’s grounded for two weeks with no phone privileges.
After all, it only took him a couple of days to apologize and I’m sure it had nothing to do with the attention his nasty comments were receiving. He just felt bad, is all. After some reflection. About how it could affect his political career.
Seems sincere as can be.
“I quoted the words of a white supremacist anti-Muslim mass murderer in an ill-advised attempt to demonstrate that such acts are not linked to conservatism. I absolutely should not have quoted these words nor named the perpetrator,” Cooper said.
Gee, you think? Regardless of whether you agree with the point Cooper was trying, so ham-handedly, to make, you should be alarmed that an elected official showed such terrible judgement. Not a great endorsement of his decision making skills.
All kidding aside, allowing this MP to get away with that kind of antics, without really punishing him, is a bad look for Scheer.
If the Conservative Party of Canada really doesn’t want to be, shall we say racism-adjacent, they really are going to have to come down harder on members who are so blatant about it.
“There is absolutely no room in a peaceful and free country like Canada for intolerance, racism and extremism of any kind. And the Conservative Party of Canada will always make that absolutely clear,” Mr. Scheer said last week, before this incident.
By giving Mr. Cooper what amounts to a pass for his behaviour, it appears Scheer is talking the talk, but not walking the walk.
By the way, Conservative commentators are outraged that Scheer sanctioned MP Cooper at all, saying it makes him look weak.
Rock, meet hard place, for Andrew Scheer.