The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Canada needs more independent media. And independent media needs you.

Did you know that most news organizations in Canada are owned by just a handful of companies? And that these companies have been shutting down newsrooms and laying off reporters continually over the past few decades?

Fact-based, credible journalism is essential to our democracy. Unlike many other newsrooms across the country, The Tyee’s independent newsroom is stable and growing.

How are we able to do this? The Tyee Builder program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip into our editorial budget so that we can keep doing what we do best: fact-based, in-depth reporting on issues that matter to our readers. No paywall. No junk. Just good journalism.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to be Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.
Life

The First MLA Physically Thrown from the Legislature

Who was it? And why doesn't this happen more often? 'Some Honourable Members' gets rowdy.

By Tom Barrett 26 Apr 2013 | TheTyee.ca

Find Tyee election reporting team member and contributing editor Tom Barrett's previous Tyee articles here. Find him on Twitter, or email him here.

image atom
Illustration by Jessie Donaldson.

[Editor's note: This is the ninth in our "Some Honourable Members" series, depicting the more dubious moments in B.C.'s political history, brought to you by veteran muckrakers Tom Barrett and Tom Hawthorn, one a day until election day.]

One of B.C.'s more peculiar democratic traditions goes by the name of legislation by exhaustion.

From time to time, as opposition MLAs have became too disputatious, governments held all-night sittings, forcing their opponents to talk around the clock. As the sittings ground on, even the most forceful filibuster would eventually run out of gas, allowing the government's agenda to limp into law.

Those all-night sittings produced some memorable confrontations between sleep-deprived members, who were often braced by the odd snort from a bottle of bottom-drawer scotch.

Although no booze was involved, one of the lowest moments came in October 1983, during debate on then-premier Bill Bennett's restraint package. The package, a series of bills that slashed the civil service, suppressed union rights, cut social services, repealed human rights legislation and centralized power in Victoria, set off a backlash led by the B.C. labour movement.

When the New Democratic Party Opposition roused itself to fight the bills, Bennett opted for legislation by exhaustion. At around 4 a.m. on Oct. 6, with backbench MLA John Parks in the Speaker's chair, the NDP moved for the house to adjourn. Parks refused the motion and soon found himself in a convoluted procedural exchange with Opposition leader Dave Barrett:

Parks: Would you be kind enough to take your place?
Barrett: No, because I'm asking you: is that a ruling?
Parks: Did you rise on a point of order?
Barrett: Yes, I'm on a point of order. Is that a ruling?
Parks: Have you made the point of order?
Barrett: Yes, I'm asking if you're ruling that you have the right to rule without a ruling.
Parks: Having made the point of order, I'd advise that you take your seat.
Barrett: No, I want a ruling.


And so on.

Eventually, Parks ordered Barrett to leave the chamber. Barrett refused. Parks called on the sergeant-at-arms's staff, a group of older gentlemen whose main tasks involved filling water glasses and carrying messages.

On Parks's orders, three of the sergeant's men grabbed Barrett's chair and tried to lift it. The chair toppled and Barrett fell to floor. The three then dragged Barrett, his arms crossed, out of the house and dumped him on the floor of the hallway outside.

It was a historic moment, the first time an MLA had been thrown bodily from the B.C. legislature.

But no footage exists of the incident. Cameras were banned from the legislative chamber in those days. Outside the chamber, at least one TV cameraman was in position to film Barrett being given the bum's rush. But as Barrett was being dumped on the red carpet of the corridor, Speaker Walter Davidson stood by, threatening to yank the credentials of anyone filming the scene.

Nor is there an official written record of the great heave-ho. Hansard records Parks's instruction to the sergeant's men, followed by one parenthetical word: "[Interruption.]"  [Tyee]

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free.

LATEST STORIES

The Barometer

Tyee Poll: What Is One Art or Design Skill You Wish to Learn?

Take this week's poll