The sexist jeering and catcalling from the government bench is getting out of hand, opposition leaders charged during today's Question Period.
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff demanded an apology for the heckling yesterday of Toronto MP Carolyn Bennett, who was shouted at by Conservative MPs as she tried to ask a question about H1N1.
NDP Leader Jack Layton, meanwhile, said the "abuse is growing hotter, it is growing more frequent and there is more bullying." He said women, in particular, are being targeted.
He told the Conservative side to "get a grip" on its members.
It didn't seem to make much of a difference.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper didn't apologize to Ms. Bennett. Rather, he said the vaccine, adjuvanted or unadjuvanted, is safe for pregnant women in Canada.
Ms. Bennett, a medical doctor, has been raising questions about confusion around the vaccine for pregnant women.
For the most part, however, Conservative MPs were quiet at least during Ms. Bennett's questions on Wednesday. And most quiet of all was Treasury Board President Vic Toews.
Two Liberal staffers sitting in the gallery above him noticed that his attention was on achieving the next level in Brick Breaker, an absolutely addictive game, on his BlackBerry.
In the opposite gallery were several Nobel laureates in physiology and medicine taking in the proceedings.
Then there was Transport Minister John Baird, who once again couldn't resist needling the Liberals, bragging about his close relationship with Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.
Liberal infrastructure critic Gerard Kennedy has been on the government's case for several days now about the amount of stimulus infrastructure money - more than any other Northern Ontario seat - going into Industry Minister Tony Clement's Muskoka riding. The G8 summit is to be held in Mr. Clement's constituency next summer.
Mr. Baird said the minister has been working hard with his provincial colleagues "on infrastructure investment in every corner of the province."
And then his barb:
"This member cannot even get along with Dalton McGuinty, and someone who cannot get along with Dalton McGuinty is certainly no friend of mine," he said, referring to the fact that Mr. Kennedy's relationship with the Premier was not warm and fuzzy when he served in the provincial government.
On to the Big Oil imbroglio: The Bloc Quebecois has been referring to Environment Minister Jim Prentice as the "Minister for Big Oil" as it questions and criticizes the government on its environmental record.
Today, rather than Mr. Prentice standing up to answer, Government House Leader Jay Hill rose: "Mr. Speaker, I have checked the portfolios of my colleagues in cabinet. I cannot find a minister for Big Oil."
Addendum: NDP MP Olivia Chow rose on a point of order after Question Period. She had documented the hooting, hollering and jeering of women during the 45-minute session.
"At 2:20 p.m., the member for Kootenay - Columbia said, 'What a bunch of' whatever. I did not want to copy out the words. Then, there was 'holier than thou' and 'wake up'. … They got louder and louder, especially when a woman member of Parliament got up," she said.
The Tories then accused the NDP of heckling when one of their members asked a question.
It's like a schoolyard sometimes.