As someone living in Canada for a limited amount of time, especially living in the capital of Ottawa, it was a necessity for me to take a tour around the Parliament of Canada while I was here. There were tours available in large groups, but fortunately I knew someone working there who was able to offer a private tour and entry to Question Time. I was beyond excited to experience this opportunity and see inside the political centre of Canada.
After an extensive security check, we were admitted to the building. The tour started with seeing the architecture in the hallways and the memorials throughout the centre of the building for many commemorative events. We then went to the library, the only part of the building that was not destroyed during a fire in 1916, it was an utterly breathtaking room. We had a brief history lesson about the different aspects of the building, then we made our way to the Peace Tower which was completed in 1927 after the rebuilding of the centre block. From the Peace Tower there were views across the whole of Ottawa, and the workings of the original clock made in Croydon – a nice throwback. After more sights inside the building, we made our way to the House of Commons to watch the parliamentary questions.
We were guided into the room which housed the question time, there was the audience watching from above, and the action unfolding below – much as you see on TV. The Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was present which made the whole event much more exciting. I was prepared for some theatricality to unfold, but nothing could prepare me for what actually happened, my jaw was on my chest for the entire thing as I could not believe it. The actual questions raised were somewhat dubious and controversial as far as I was concerned, but the actions of the politicians really stood out. From heckling to snubbing, everything was in play. It was like watching a squabble between two children, and that was politics! There were standing ovations from everyone in the speakers party whenever they said something. Heckling and booing whenever someone of the opposition spoke. And a large range of snubbing if they said something they agreed with but were from the opposing party. It was truly a sight to behold.
The whole charade largely resembled a performance, with each of the actors playing a role to the camera and their audience. Their supporting cast cheered them on and rebuffed anything from the antagonist. The scene was set as the spectators watched over the unfolding action. Overall I was astounded by the whole event. But hey, that’s politics.