Fredericton — A Green Party MLA is calling for mandatory Christian prayers to be done away with in the provincial legislature and has suggested replacing those prayers with the silent treatment.
The silent treatment, a tactic used in relationships to control the other emotionally, happens when someone shows unhappiness or contempt through nonverbal gestures while maintaining verbal silence.
“The silent treatment is something that’s common to all of us, regardless of religion. It brings people together as human beings,” said Kent North MLA Kevin Arseneau. “So instead of bowing our heads to pray, let’s just kinda stand there for a bit, sighing, glancing contemptuously at each other and rolling our eyes periodically.
“We politicians don’t like each other and we all have some sort of axe to grind, so the silent treatment should come naturally. Just let it happen.”
Tory Premier Blaine Higgs says tradition is important in politics, and the Christian prayers should remain a part of the legislature’s proceedings.
“I was raised to be regular-aggressive, not passive-aggressive!” Higgs shouted. “You better believe that if I don’t like ya, you and God and everyone else are gonna hear about it. I’m not staying silent!”
Regardless of the premier’s wishes, Arseneau plans to bring his motion forward when the house returns in May.
“The outdated prayer practice excludes agnostics and atheists, as well as anyone of another faith,” said Arseneau. “The silent treatment, though, excludes everyone, thereby excluding no one. Why are we talking to some ‘god’ when we could be not talking to each other?”
Liberal MLA Francine Landry supports the move to end prayers, saying the legislature is already a hotbed of passive-aggresive behaviours, so it can’t hurt to add one more.
“Everywhere you look, party leaders are ignoring the Speaker and playing Candy Crush on their iPads; MLAs are interrupting each other with sarcastic remarks,” she said. “I think the silent treatment will better reflect who we are as politicians — I mean, honestly, what does God have to do with any of this mess?”