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Charlie Angus has been a member of Parliament for 20 years. First elected as MP for Timmins-James Bay in 2004, he had been encouraged to run by then-NDP leader Jack Layton. Over two decades, Mr. Angus became a stalwart of the party – outspoken on many matters, including the environment, social justice, mental health, Indigenous issues, and the arts (he’s a musician and author too). In 2017, he ran for the NDP leadership, finishing second to Jagmeet Singh.

This month, he announced that he is retiring, and will not run in the next federal election.

“After seven elections, 20 years of service, and the privilege of being the longest-serving MP in Timmins history, it is time to pass the baton,” Mr. Angus said in a statement Apr. 4.

The leader of the Opposition, Pierre Poilievre, who, like Mr. Angus, has been an MP for 20 years, responded to the announcement by posting the following statement: “Charlie Angus jumps ship rather than face voters after he voted to hike the carbon tax and ban the hunting rifles of Northern Ontarians.” Mr. Poilievre added a plug for “Common sense Conservatives” and his party’s proposed policies.

Then, in the House of Commons this week, the Conservative MP for Calgary Midnapore, Stephanie Kusie, also said her farewells to Mr. Angus. She did so after he spoke about past bad Conservative behaviour, referencing “synthetic outrage” in the House.

“I’d like to thank the member for Timmins-James Bay for relieving us of our misery and announcing his resignation,” she responded, her voice ramping up to a shout and her arms flailing. “Thank you so much; I truly appreciate that. You know, we’re all gonna really miss him on this side of the House. Not!”

Behind her, Sarnia-Lambton Conservative MP Marilyn Gladu chuckled and nodded along.

If Ms. Kusie had second thoughts about her Wayne’s World-inspired outburst, that didn’t stop her from posting the exchange to her X (formerly Twitter) account, with the words “BYE FELICIA” (all-caps hers) – a meme originating from the 1995 Ice Cube film Friday, indicating a dismissive send-off.

It was an embarrassing display from a member of Parliament. (Also, 1992 called. It wants its “not!” joke back.)

Politicians elected to represent Canadians should operate with grace, class and statesmanship – maturity, at the very least. Whatever you want to call it, Mr. Poilievre and Ms. Kusie (a former diplomat) have displayed the polar opposite – whatever you want to call that. And you know what it’s not? Funny.

You could almost sense Brian Mulroney eye-rolling in his grave. Mr. Mulroney’s Progressive Conservative politics may not have appealed to everyone, but the former prime minister, who died in February, conducted himself in a way that today’s Conservative Leader would do well to study and try to emulate. If Mr. Poilievre is going to borrow “common sense” political sloganeering from former Ontario Conservative premier Mike Harris, perhaps he could learn some gravitas from another Conservative politician from the past.

Despite the childish behaviour, the Conservatives are looking good in the polls. A recent Nanos survey found that 37 per cent of Canadians would consider voting Liberal, compared to 48 per cent for the Conservatives.

A lot could change before the next federal election; as the survey noted, a different Liberal Leader could affect the outcome. But with or without Justin Trudeau leading the Liberals, it is conceivable – some might say likely – that the Conservatives will form the next government of Canada.

Picture the type of behaviour on display this week in the House of Commons on the world stage instead – with Canadian government members meeting with other global leaders, perhaps in urgent diplomatic negotiations, as they represent the country internationally. “Not” is not going to cut it. Neither is the knee-jerk smarmy indignation that Mr. Poilievre has a consistent tendency to exhibit as he blames Mr. Trudeau for anything that goes wrong anywhere, no matter how great the stretch. The scornful derision he displayed toward Mr. Angus may appeal to the Conservative base (emphasis on “base”), but it comes off as distasteful, tone-deaf and frankly embarrassing.

There’s still time for a would-be Prime Minister and his crew to learn some etiquette, diplomacy and manners. Perhaps they – including the laugh-alongs – will cotton onto the fact that what Mr. Angus rightly referred to as “synthetic outrage” is really ugly.

When the day eventually comes for Mr. Poilievre to leave politics, whenever that is, I trust he will receive a more gracious send-off than he was able to offer Mr. Angus.

And no doubt Mr. Poilievre will behave more tastefully when Mr. Trudeau announces his own departure, whenever that is. Not!

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