Heckling in CanadaLand

by Michael Schultz on February 2, 2016

I found out about a recent show called CanadaLand. They do podcasts about media, culture and politics in Canada. Recently they staged Episode #37….it featured Calgary Conservative MP Michelle Rempel talking about heckling in the House of Commons – seemingly a ‘hot topic’ these days. She talks openly about the atmosphere in the House. It’s not likely that heckling will go away anytime soon in the House. But with new Speaker Geoff Regan, and guidance from party leaders,  we might see the reins tighten a bit. Here’s the podcast:


Thanks to nice Annie Hodgins for passing this one along. I also discovered that Samara has produced a report on heckling called: “Cheering or Jeering: Members of Parliament Open Up About Civility in the House of Commons”. Notice it doesn’t say “heckling” but when I called to request a print version they said…” oh,you mean the ‘heckling report’.”

The Samara report is fodder for a future blog. Stay tuned.

Life Elsewhere

by Michael Schultz on February 1, 2016

I was pleased to be interviewed by Norman B. from  his base in Tampa on Sunday, January 31st. Norman is the creator and on air presence of LIFE ELSEWHERE – an online radio show dedicated to art, media and culture:

Life Elsewhere can be visited at:


Trump is the best…..

by Michael Schultz on January 28, 2016

While in Iowa on the stump this week the Donald avoided being hit by a tomato launched by a protestor. The man was arrested later for his actions.

Here’s a funny piece posted by someone – it shows someone noodling on a sticky note…..Donald Trump is the best…..at avoiding tomatoes…….

The peanut gallery is alive and well and getting arrested.

Reasons Why Politicians Heckle

by Michael Schultz on January 22, 2016

In government chambers around the world, politicians are heckling. The majority of politicians heckle – yet most disapprove of it. When it comes right down to it, there are three (3) major reasons why they heckle – not included is to make an ass of themselves. This from a Global News report on heckling in the Canadian parliament:

1. To correct omissions, respond to perceived untruths, or to point out partisan rhetoric – check out now PM Trudeau as he heckles from the back bench and then apologizes for his language.

2. To state their opposition to an issue and get it on the record – either in the media or in the government ‘books’ ( Hansard etc.).

3. To support their ‘team’.


I don’t know why you say goodbye…I say hello.

by Michael Schultz on January 6, 2016

Newsflash…CNN reporter Jeanne Moos has just covered an interesting piece on heckling and the Presidential candidates entitled: “How well do candidates handle hecklers.” January 5, 2016.


This being my first blog of 2016, I don’t think it could be a better focus. Heckling and freedom of speech are both fundamental aspects of the democratic system – particularly in the U.S. The emphasis is often on “fun” and “mental”. Here’s another one on handling hecklers.

I think the fact that CNN is all over heckling is that there appears to be a recurring concern by candidates that, like terrorism and gun violence in the general culture, heckling will become ‘standard fare’ while they are at the podium. Such is the crowd a politician faces….audiences lacking self-control…people yearning to be heard… ‘pot shots’ at best.

There’s not much new here when it comes to the fundamentals of heckling. What does intrigue us, like flies on the wall, is the manner with which candidates choose to deal with the heckling.  For Trump it seems ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ are always essential.

Watch this one for yourself and do try to figure out what the hecklers are trying to say – not just the handling of the heckler by the politician. The point is that if you are managing a candidate – you’ll have to coach them on disruptions, outspoken members of the audience, and being thrown off course by zingers and heckles – a formidable task. ‘Being good on your feet’ should be in the job description of every politician.

Court Jester

by Michael Schultz on December 30, 2015

I was never much of a basketball player. I tried out for the high school team but never made it. It was never my sport. My older brother was good – of course, he was about 4-5 inches taller than me for starters.  I played hockey – he played basketball.

When I was a kid watching a good old American network TV channel in the 60s , I remember  seeing the Harlem Globetrotters. The blew me away. The comedy and the mastery immediately grabbed my attention. It was like the Marx Brothers meet the Lakers. Crazy stuff. It spoofed the real thing but actually took the game a notch higher. I don’t know of any other sport that attempted to do what the Globetrotters did ( maybe a few baseball teams -The King and HIs Court etc…)

The real showman of this elite team was of course Meadowlark Lemon. He had a name like a blues singer and was a gifted basketball player.

Besides making incredible shots, the antics including the old bucket of confetti thrown at the ref, passing behind the back and chattering incessantly.

Good old Meadowlark passed away recently at the age of 83. He made it ok to kid around and ‘play’ a little differently on the court – he was a jester as much as an athlete – a great entertainer.

Who’s Out of Control? – Not Cenk

by Michael Schultz on December 3, 2015

Do you live in North America or anywhere in the so-called free world proudly touting democracy as your beacon? Well, listen to Cenk from Young Turks. Clearly all of this noise about pending terror attacks needs a closer look – the old adage from the 60s is back – we have seen the enemy – it’s us. Cenk would have us believe that the terrorists are right here, right now and they are among us and are us.

I think we’re on the threshold of a new movement – taking care of business in our own backyard…..all this looking outward to save the world by rattling sabres in other lands,saving fleeing refugees,  and embracing the mounds of plastic and BS  hurled at us from other shores. We have to focus on our own backyard and clean it up – now, tout suite.

I think Switzerland may be the only country running its affairs wisely…..


Get Him Out

by Michael Schultz on November 30, 2015

A black male protestor recently shouted out at a Donald Trump gathering in Alabama. Ouch. The Donald is not about to give up his microphone to anyone – no how.

Trump – like a good teacher – picks up the vibe in the room quickly – a member of the audience not paying attention – and gets his people to remove the person with a hearty “Get Out”…..

He even gets his digs in on Democratic opponent Bernie Sanders, who apparently did the ‘politically correct’ thing of relinquishing his microphone to two women who wanted his podium to broadcast their message.

Apparently Trump won’t be giving up his microphone to anyone anytime soon.

Ah America – who to follow?

Wind Beneath Their Wings…

by Michael Schultz on October 27, 2015

Interesting, a story came out about the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets who consider consider their lovable local hecklers ‘the wind beneath their wings’. Jet’s fans have been coined ‘roaring, sly and supportive’. Sounds more like a curling game but apparently Jet’s fans understand and appreciate the ‘lost art of heckling’.

The ‘lost art’? Heckling has gravitated to  a more mean-spirited fan-athlete dialogue in most sport palaces as Eric Duhatschek writes in The Globe and Mail ( October 16, 2015) – “Winnipeg fans’ fervour set to take off again” (eh?). What has been missing ,according to the journalist, is the sly humour of days gone by – a more acceptable and palatable form of heckling.

Here are a few ways the Winnipeg fans taunt the opposition with cunning wit:

* When Ovechkin arrives with the Capitals, the fans chant: “Crosby’s better.”

* Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf is called “Captain Romaine” – a reference to his premature baldness…to which Getzlaf remarked ” Like, I don’t know that I’m bald?”

Perhaps the fans in Winnipeg have to root a little louder because they have the smallest arena ( only 15,294 seats) and they need to stay warm in “Winterpeg”.

Perhaps the best testament to the fans in Winnipeg is the remark by a player who claims that they’d rather play in a building where the people care what’s going on. For players it has to make life more exciting and push them to greater heights.

Here’s a look from the players’ perspective that gives you an idea of how the fans ‘ruffle the feathers’ of the other team:


Post Election

by Michael Schultz on October 20, 2015

Well the Canadian election is over – much hoopla, press and talk about who should lead this great country. The chips fell where they probably should have….Justin Trudeau is our new PM with a Liberal majority.

Through it all there was much passionate oratory and even some bitter squabbles. Politics is serious business for the most part – but I was pleased to hear that the Rhinoceros Party is still out there. Conrad Luawski ran for the Rhinos in Ottawa Centre and didn’t really register at the polls yesterday – but the platform is full of delightful humour – remember that the Rhinos election promise is to not keep their promises.

1. Divert the polluted waters of the Ottawa River and fill the empty channels with beer.

2. Move the capital to Kapuskasing.

3. Replace 6/49 cash prizes with Senate appointments.

4. Count the Thousand Islands to make sure the Americans don’t steal some.

So it’s all in good fun – usually we laugh at the gaffs of ‘normal’ party hopefuls.

In his recent article “Ready or not, these leaders just aren’t funny” ( THE GLOBE AND MAIL, October 17, 2015), Roy MacGregor tells us a few very funny heckling stories from the past….

Apparently John A. MacDonald, having had a few, threw up on stage at a debate….the opponent asked the audience – “Do you want a drunk running your country?”….to which John A. retorted that it had nothing to do with the drink….but he threw up since he was “forced to listen to the rantings of my honourable opponent.”

Former NDP leader Tommy Douglas, who was short in stature, once had a heckler shout, “Hey Tommy, why don’t you stand on a soapbox?” His reply was “because everything I say goes over your head.” Brilliant.

If nothing else the Rhinos do help us lighten up and pay attention to the real issues of the day.