NDP MPs sport rainbow ties in support of LGBT rights in Russia
As their party waged procedural warfare against the government's efforts to shut down debate on the election bill, New Democrat MPs donned rainbow scarves and ties to make a caucus-wide fashion statement in support of the gay and lesbian communities in Russia on the eve of the Sochi Olympic Games.
"MPs are sending luck and love to Sochi," caucus spokesperson Veronique Breton told CBC News.
She said the festive accessories were a gift from the Young New Democrats of Quebec, which launched the initiative in collaboration with the party's LGBT commission.
"They wanted to send a message before the games to remember that LGBT rights are important here and everywhere."
But while several of those young New Democrats were in the Chamber for today's show of sartorial succour, they weren't allowed to sport rainbow flourishes of their own, a move that, not surprisingly, garnered a heated reaction on Twitter.
In an interview with CBC News, Quebec youth wing co-chair Marianne Côté confirmed that the group — who were, it's worth noting, there as personal guests of NDP Leader Tom Mulcair — were informed by security that, "as it was considered a political statement," they wouldn't be allowed to wear their items in the Commons gallery.
"It was disappointing, but they told us very nicely, and we didn't mind, because the main event was the MPs standing in solidarity, so we were very proud to be part of that."
It's worth noting that this isn't the first time the ban on "political" clothing in the Commons public gallery has been invoked in recent years.
In 2009, visitors wearing Greenpeace t-shirts were briefly barred from Centre Block after environmental activists successfully scaled the roof to hang a banner critical of the prime minister. According to the Speaker's office, visitors have also been asked to remove anti-abortion pins before entering the chamber.