By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, May 2, 2013 - 0 Comments
Officially, C-60, the first budget implementation act of the year, requires 128 pages to print. Government House leader Peter Van Loan gave notice yesterday that he’ll move a motion of time allocation today to limit debate at second reading to a total of five days.
We support efforts to help Crown Corporations manage public resources responsibly. We believe that this initiative may have unintended consequences on the successful operation of some corporations. It is important that these consequences are understood and addressed.
We will be writing to the Government to share our concerns about C-60, and to request a meeting to ensure that Ministers have accurate information on CBC/Radio-Canada’s record, both at managing public resources and delivering on its mandate.
The New Democrats, meanwhile, have tabled their proposal for splitting the bill. The motion was denied yesterday at the finance committee, but, for the record, here is what Peggy Nash proposed.
“That notwithstanding any Standing Order or usual practice of the House, that Bill C-60, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 21, 2013 and other measures be amended by removing the following clauses:
a) clauses 136 to154 related to the Investment Canada Act;
b) clauses 161 to 166 related to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and the Temporary Foreign Worker Program;
c) clauses 174 to 199 related to the proposed Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act;
d) clauses 213 to 224 related to the National Capital Act and the Department of Canadian Heritage Act;
e) clauses 228 to 232 related to the Financial Administration Act and collective bargaining between Crown corporations and their employees;
That the clauses mentioned in section a) of this motion do compose Bill C-61; that Bill C-61 be deemed read a first time and be printed; that the order for second reading of the said bill provide for the referral to the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology;
that the clauses mentioned in section b) of this motion do compose Bill C-62; that Bill C-62 be deemed read a first time and be printed; that the order for second reading of the said bill provide for the referral to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities;
that the clauses mentioned in section c) of this motion do compose Bill C-63; that Bill C-63 be deemed read a first time and be printed; that the order for second reading of the said bill provide for the referral to the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development;
that the clauses mentioned in section d) of this motion do compose Bill C-64; that Bill C-64 be deemed read a first time and be printed; that the order for second reading of the said bill provide for the referral to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage;
that the clauses mentioned in section e) of this motion do compose Bill C-65; that Bill C-65 be deemed read a first time and be printed; that the order for second reading of the said bill provide for the referral to the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates;
that Bill C-60 retain the status on the Order Paper that it had prior to the adoption of this Order; that Bill C-60 be reprinted as amended; and that the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel be authorized to make any technical changes or corrections as may be necessary to give effect to this motion.”
The Conservatives have said they would like different parts of the bill sent to different committees for study, but we don’t yet have the details of their proposal.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, April 29, 2013 at 3:30 PM - 0 Comments
Here is Bill C-60, the first budget implementation act of the year.
At 125 pages—according to the page count on Adobe—it is the shortest budget bill tabled by the Conservatives since 2009, when that year’s second budget bill was 60 pages (the first budget bill tabled that year was 551 pages). It is still larger than all but three budget bills tabled between 1994 and 2005. See this short history of budget implementation acts for previous page totals.
After tabling the bill in the House, Jim Flaherty told reporters that the government will ask the finance committee to send certain parts of the bill to different committees for study.
The bill amends the Excise Tax Act, the Excise Act, 2001, the Customs Tariff, the Trust and Loan Companies Act, the Bank Act, the Insurance Companies Act, the Cooperative Credit Associations Act, the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act, the Canadian Securities Regulation Regime Transition Office Act, the Investment Canada Act, the Canada Pension Plan, the Pension Act, the War Veterans Allowance Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the Citizenship Act, the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, the National Capital Act, the Department of Canadian Heritage Act, the National Holocaust Monument Act, the Salaries Act, the Parliament of Canada Act, the Department of Public Works and Government Services Act, the Financial Administration Act and the Keeping Canada’s Economy and Jobs Growing Act.
It also enacts the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Act, which allows for the amalgamation of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and CIDA.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 12:00 PM - 0 Comments
Chris Selley points to one part of C-45, last year’s second budget implementation act.
Until C-45 passed, reserves wishing to lease off parts of their land to businesses had to obtain the consent, in a referendum, of 50%-plus-one members, with a quorum of 50%. If that failed, a second referendum could be launched, and the plan approved with a simple majority, no quorum. Now a single simple majority vote is all that’s needed. Some native leaders object to this amendment on principle. But many others support the changes as a way of streamlining a process that can take years, during which time reserves are at a huge disadvantage in attracting new businesses compared to surrounding communities that are subject to no such process. (Here’s a crazy idea: Why can’t reserves decide the process for themselves?) At the Aboriginal Affairs Committee on Nov. 19, representatives from the Assembly of First Nations, the First Nations Tax Commission, the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board and the National Aboriginal Lands Managers Association all expressed support for untangling land designations.
But the democratic process that led to these amendments came in for a pounding, both from otherwise supportive witnesses and opposition politicians. Andrew Beynon, the witness from the Aboriginal Affairs department, conceded that there had been no “extensive consultation process,” and that he had never before seen such a sensitive matter crammed into an omnibus bill. Suspicion is warranted any time a government tries to slip something by you in a giant document without asking your opinion.
Two First Nations from Alberta are seeking to challenge C-38 and C-45 in federal court on the grounds that they were not consulted, but their concerns seem to be primarily with the changes made to the Fisheries Act and Navigable Waters Protection Act.
Structural reform to limit the ability of a government to table and pass omnibus legislation is probably necessary—if you take the opinion that such bills are a problem and that actual, codified reform is the only way to establish change—but I wonder whether we might reach a point at which the practice is more trouble than it is worth: that what is gained by a government in getting to do what it wants to do in a relatively expedient manner is surpassed by the consternation that results. Does the very idea of omnibus legislation become poisoned? Or can you eventually exhaust the public (and perhaps critics) into accepting that this is how business is done?
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, December 18, 2012 at 9:06 AM - 0 Comments
Wab Kinew explains the Idle No More protests.
2. #IdleNoMore is about the Environment
Idle No More started in part because of outrage that Bill C-45 reduced the number of federally protected waterways. The environment continues to be a regular topic at Idle No More protests. Dr. Pam Palmater, one of the leading voices in the Idle No More conversation, argues this is indigenous environmentalism is significant since the crown has a duty to consult with Aboriginal people before natural resource projects proceed. She says, “First Nations are Canadians’ last, best hope of protecting the land, water, sky and plants and animals for their future generations as well.”
1. #IdleNoMore is about Democracy
Democracy thrives when well-informed people are engaged and make their voices heard. Idle No More started with four young lawyers trying to inform the people in their communities about an issue they were passionate about. Now many people are engaged. Even more information is being shared, and even more voices are being heard. There is no one leader or “list of demands” attributable to Idle No More. While this may seem chaotic, this is what democracy is all about. Democracy is messy. Democracy is loud. Democracy is about hearing a wide ranges of voices and trying to build a path forward among them. It is not about shutting off debate or trying to rush things in through the back door.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, December 7, 2012 at 3:20 PM - 0 Comments
Keith Beardsley considers Peter Van Loan’s walk across the aisle, opposition delays and omnibus legislation.
The Official Opposition thought they had caught the government on a technicality and they wanted to force another vote which would have further delayed passage of Bill C-45, a bill with which they strongly disagree. What is so exciting about that? Why was it necessary for the Conservative House Leader to cross the floor? It is perfectly legitimate for any opposition party to use the full arsenal of tactics available to them to delay or defeat government legislation.
Perhaps the Conservative side has forgotten the tactics they used when one of their predecessor parties (the Reform Party) used every tactic available to them to stall and try to prevent the Nis’ga Treaty from being passed by the Chretien government. In 1999, the Reform Party forced 471 votes on amendments to the Nis’ga Land Claims Treaty. According to the CBC, it took 42 hours and 25 minutes to force recall votes on all the motions, including some as minor as the placement of a comma. Delaying or stalling the passage of a bill is a legitimate tactic in a democracy. While the Conservatives may not like anyone standing up to them or delaying their agenda in the House, the last I heard Canada was still a democracy and opposition parties are not required to do the government’s bidding.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, December 6, 2012 at 12:52 PM - 0 Comments
On Tuesday, Denis Lebel ventured that all of the provinces had been consulted about C-45′s changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act and that none of the provinces had any concerns. But it seems the Nova Scotia government, having received a letter from Mr. Lebel three days before the bill was tabled, are still working on their response.
A provincial spokeswoman said the province received a letter from Lebel on Oct. 15, three days before the bill went through first reading in the House of Commons. Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Maurice Smith wrote back to his federal colleague on Nov. 2, saying he would respond to the proposed changes, said spokeswoman Lori Errington. By that point, the bill had passed second reading in the House and was sent to the finance committee for study. The committee passed it with no amendments.
The province still had not responded as of Wednesday, when the House passed the bill for the third and final time. “We’re working on a response from the province, which has taken time because the Act is complex and affects four departments. We’re expecting to send it soon,” Errington said Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the New Democrats quibble with Mr. Lebel’s explanation of what constitutes a navigable waterway.
This follows the government side’s attempt to explain where changes to the act were referenced in the spring budget and the disappearing FAQ. The Conservative argument that the act has nothing to do with the environment is also problematic.
Update 4:37pm. In a statement, Mr. Lebel dismisses the suggestion that the government of Nova Scotia was not informed until October 15.
The Harper Government continues to deliver on our budget commitment to reduce red tape and create jobs. The streamlined Navigation Protection Act will cut red tape that has held up provincial and municipal infrastructure projects like bridge construction and repairs.
The claim that Nova Scotia was not consulted well in advance is completely false. Throughout the summer, all provinces and territories were consulted. On July 5 Transport Canada met with 10 senior officials from Nova Scotia’s departments of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, Fisheries and Aquaculture, and Natural Resources and there was more follow-up on August 29 and September 13. The Minister’s office was engaged on July 10 and contacted again on September 11. Officials did not express objections or propose any additions to the list of waterways.
My October 15 letter to the Minister Smith referenced these consultations. As well, I discussed the principles for reforming the Act with my colleagues at a Federal-Provincial-Territorial Council of Ministers, shortly before the bill was introduced. The new approach to navigation law will reduce the backlog of applications and ensure that provincial and municipal infrastructure projects can proceed more quickly.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 5:05 PM - 0 Comments
Ralph Goodale reports on some kind of confrontation in the House following a vote this afternoon.
Altercation on floor of HofC – DefMin MacKay has to pull his HouseLeader + another ConsMin out of silly scrap with Mulcair+ Dippers….
Lots of talk and gestures. Nose to nose, but no apparent direct contact.
Right after vote, Cons House Leader crossed floor to confront NDP leadership group. Tempers clearly flared.
CTV has the House video that shows Peter Van Loan and Gary Goodyear on the NDP side of the House.
Update 5:13pm. There was maybe a middle finger involved?
Update 5:27pm. A little bit of background is apparently necessary. After Question Period, Nathan Cullen rose on a point of order to argue that the final vote on C-45 last night was out of order because the person moving for the vote, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, was not in his seat when the motion was brought forward. After submissions from all sides on this, the Speaker promised to get back to the House and the House proceeded to a separate vote. After that vote, the Speaker ruled that the final vote last night was in order. It is apparently after that ruling, as MPs were milling about, that, at least according to the New Democrats, Peter Van Loan crossed the aisle and complained to Mr. Cullen about Mr. Cullen’s point of order. Mr. Mulcair seems to have objected to Mr. Van Loan’s treatment of Mr. Cullen and, in the ensuing discussion, cross words seem to have been exchanged.
Update 5:58pm. Oddly enough, this confrontation was preceded by a notably civil moment between Mr. Mulcair and the Prime Minister. Immediately after Mr. Cullen’s point of order, as MPs were being called in for the subsequent vote, the NDP leader crossed the aisle and sat down beside Mr. Harper. The two chatted apparently amicably for a few minutes, Mr. Mulcair even laughing at something Mr. Harper said. The two parted company with a handshake.
Update 6:16pm. C-45 has just now passed a vote at third and is off to the Senate.
Update 6:31pm. Here is CBC’s version of the House video: it’s a bit longer than the CTV cut and in it you can see Mr. Van Loan walk across the aisle immediately after Speaker Scheer finished delivering his ruling.
Mulcair has a temper, but Van Loan would have turned Gandhi into a cold blooded killer.
Update 8:00pm. Peter MacKay tweets his version of events.
Whoa – Angry Tom at it again! NDP snaps at Van Loan for standing up for Canada’s economic recovery
Here is Mr. Cullen’s interview with the CBC.
Update 8:25pm. A statement from Peter Van Loan.
We are disappointed that the NDP has attempted to obstruct the passage of the important job creating measures in the Jobs and Growth Act, 2012.
Today, I conveyed my disappointment to the NDP House Leader for the hypocrisy of his complaint which related to a mistake by a member of his own caucus last night.
It is normal for me to speak with the opposition House Leaders. I was however surprised how Mr. Mulcair snapped and lost his temper.
The reference to “a mistake by a member of his own caucus” is apparently a reference to the fact that Deputy Speaker Joe Comartin was in the Speaker’s chair when the vote in question was called last night.
Update 9:38pm. The Canadian Press talks to Mr. Cullen.
For his part, Cullen wouldn’t specify precisely what was said but indicated that Van Loan used “a lot of real bad language, threatening language.” ”It was inappropriate and then Tom said, ‘Don’t threaten my House leader,’ and that’s when we all sort of stood up to make sure it didn’t go any further,” Cullen said in an interview. ”You’ve got to get him away because nothing good happens if he stays there talking that way.”
Cullen said Mulcair’s intervention was aimed at making Van Loan back off. ”For the Conservatives to try to spin his out that somehow (Van Loan) was the victim, I mean, give me a break … That’s ridiculous.”
Update 10:51pm. Mr. Cullen tweets at Mr. MacKay.
Check the video @MinPeterMacKay to see who came after whom. But we all need to work on raising decorum, I hope you agree with that, at least
Update 10:56pm. Elizabeth May chimes in.
Update Thursday. For the sake of comparison, a brief history of recent commotions is here. Morning-after interviews with Mr. Van Loan and Mr. Cullen are here. And this morning’s points of order on the matter are here.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 10:16 AM - 0 Comments
Shortly after Question Period concluded, the Speaker formally called for yelling. All those in favour of the motion were invited to yell yea. All those opposed were invited to yell nay.
Technically, one supposes, the members need not yell yea or nay. They could nearly say so aloud. But democracy is not for the quiet. And so on one side they yelled yea and on the other side they yelled nay, the NDP’s Peter Julian seeming to particularly enjoy this (holding his yell for an extra beat or two). The Speaker made a judgement as to who had yelled most and then, inevitably, at least five members of whichever side had lost stood to demonstrate their desire for a formal standing vote to be recorded for the sake of posterity.
With a few of these final formalities dispatched with, the Speaker called for the members—all those duly elected to be here given 30 minutes to report to the House to spend the next seven hours expressing their respective wills on Bill C-45, the second budget implementation act of 2012.
Out in the foyer, as the dull digital tone that now stands in for the ringing of actual bells chimed over and over, Bob Rae attempted to explain to a cluster of reporters what could be hoped to be accomplished by what was about to happen.
“Well, you know, we want to inflict, frankly, as much damage and make the government realize this is just a crazy way to do public business,” he said. “We’re happy to discuss navigable waters. We’re happy to discuss the tax credit policy of the government. We’re happy to discuss what their approach is to small business. We just think these things have to be dealt with in a way that respects the House and respects the democratic process. And we just don’t see that in the approach that’s being taken by the government. They are pushing any approach that’s being taken by any other parliament in the world much, much, much further. In fact, if you go back to many of the principles of parliamentary democracy, they’re opposed to this joining together of several measures in one bill. In some states in the United States, to do that is actually unconstitutional.” Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 6:00 AM - 0 Comments
The House of Commons is filling up—the Prime Minister seems to have brought a large stack of paperwork to keep him busy—and voting on C-45 will soon commence. We’ll be here until the end to observer all the sights, sounds, thrills and chills of democracy in motion (specifically the motion of standing and sitting down repeatedly).
3:43pm. The party whips have been duly applauded and the Speaker is now calling the first vote. Thomas Mulcair receives a round of applause as he leads the votes in favour.
3:45pm. If you’d like to follow along with the commentary from the floor, our list of MPs on Twitter is here.
3:47pm. Mr. Harper receives a round of applause as he leads the nays.
3:51pm. The first vote goes to the nays, 156-134.
3:56pm. Michelle Rempel, Pierre Poilievre, Randy Kamp, Mark Adler, Bob Rae, Vic Toews and Ruth Ellen Brosseau are using the time to sign Christmas cards. Greg Rickford is reading Sports Illustrated. Denis Lebel is going through some paperwork. Megan Leslie and Nathan Cullen are fiddling with their iPads.
3:58pm. The second notes goes to the nays, 147-134. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 1:11 PM - 0 Comments
The proposed amendments are presently being read into the record and put to voice votes in the House. As I type, Joe Comartin just read Motion 386, leaving just less than 300 to go. While we wait for the reading to end and the standing votes to begin, a few random speeches (courtesy of YouTube) from the C-45 debate.
Liberal MP Judy Foote.
NDP MP Glenn Thibeault.
Conservative MP Ted Opitz.
NDP MP Pierre-Luc Dusseault.
Conservative MP Kyle Seeback.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 9:36 AM - 0 Comments
At some point today, the House will begin voting on the proposed changes to C-45. Precisely when will depend on what the opposition parties might yet do to delay those votes. Yesterday, for instance, Megan Leslie seemed to briefly attempt to read the name of every body of water in the country into the record on a point of order.
Whenever the voting begins, it should take something like eight hours to get through it.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, December 3, 2012 at 11:41 AM - 0 Comments
With the House due to spend something like eight hours Tuesday night voting on the second budget implementation bill, a rough guide to how we arrived at this point (again).
I have this odd feeling of deja vu.
Yeah, me too.
So what’s the deal?
As has been their habit since forming government, the Conservatives tabled a second budget implementation act this fall. C-45 measures 457 pages. That’s actually five pages longer than the relatively infamous C-38. At a combined weight of more than 900 pages, this year’s budget bills are only outweighed by 2010′s tandem, which measured 1,056 pages. In all, C-45 amends all of these different pieces of legislation and creates an entirely new act to deal with the bridge from Windsor to Detroit.
Could you please neatly summarize the issues and concerns about omnibus legislation of this sort?
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, December 3, 2012 at 10:03 AM - 0 Comments
So Peter van Loan asked Speaker of the House Scheer to allow a test vote wherein the Conservatives vote down all of May’s amendments in one go. Think about this for a second. van Loan’s logic implies,
1) The government is blindly, dogmatically opposed to any change being proposed by an independent MP.
2) A government shouldn’t have to actually demonstrate this knee-jerk opposition through voting down everything May proposes. Instead they should just have to do it once.
3) The substance of the amendments is of zero importance. Even if all 80 amendments span totally different subjects and sections of legislation, they should all be grouped together as one *because of who proposed them.*
If Mr. Van Loan’s proposal were ever implemented, it would be a profound loss for parliamentary democracy in this country. It would cross a line that, however much it has been trampled, is still faintly there: we would be done even with the principle that the legislature and its individual members mattered as something other than pawns of the party leaders. You could argue that a single MP should not be able to prevent the House from passing legislation (consider the use of the filibuster in the United States), but that’s not the situation here. At most, Elizabeth May will have tied up the House for a day or so. I defer here to none other than Joe Oliver, who, during the vote marathon on C-38, acknowledged that the opposition had a right to force those votes and that the country was not imperilled as a result (scroll down to the 7:25pm entry).
Meanwhile, former Liberal house leader Don Boudria says the rules should be changed to limit the amendments that can be proposed at report stage. Of all the ways the House of Commons might be reformed, I’m not sure limiting the ability of the opposition to delay the passage of legislation should be anyone’s priority. The Conservatives apparently aren’t interested. Nor, really, should they be. One day, presumably, they will be in opposition. And someday, one imagines, they will want to delay a piece of legislation. Those members of the government side who were Reform MPs in 1999 will understand this very well.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, November 30, 2012 at 11:27 AM - 0 Comments
Elizabeth May’s speech yesterday on C-45, the second budget implementation bill.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 12:11 PM - 0 Comments
As per the Speaker’s ruling this morning, there will be a maximum of 47 votes on C-45 at report stage. For the sake of comparison, there were 157 votes required to get through C-38 in the spring.
The independent member’s motions are an interesting question. They require some attention, because the independent member does not sit on committee. However, they should not be dealt with in such a manner that they represent, effectively, a harassment of the balance of the House. Compared to the several hundred amendments proposed by the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands in June, on Bill C-38, her proposals as of today’s date are slightly less unreasonable. However, the fact remains that the rights of individual members of Parliament must be balanced with the ability of the majority of the House to dispatch its business with some reasonable, practical speed. Allowing a single member of Parliament to hold the House hostage in a voting marathon is simply not reasonable.
I propose the following arrangement, which could, in future, extend to other government bills. Report stage motions submitted by a member of Parliament who is not part of a recognized party shall be selected in the manner provided for by our rules. The selected motions may be grouped for debate in the usual fashion. Subject to the next point, the voting patterns for the motions would be set in the usual manner, as required by the ordinary practices of considering legislative amendments. However, one amendment per independent member of Parliament would be chosen to be a test vote. The voting pattern for the rest of that independent member’s motions would only be implemented if the test motion were adopted. A rejection of the test motion would be inferred as a rejection of all that member’s proposals. Therefore, the balance of the independent member’s motions would not be put to the House.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 10:00 AM - 0 Comments
Kady O’Malley tallies 665 amendments to C-45 so far tabled for consideration in the House. Elizabeth May previously figured she’d have 100 amendments, so that total may yet increase slightly.
That list will then probably be winnowed down somewhat, but a second vote marathon seems impending.
Update 12:11pm. The notice paper lists 1,662 amendments tabled so far.
Update 1:21pm. The NDP says it has 411 amendments or changes to propose. The Liberals are up to 1,373. If Ms. May comes through with about a hundred, the Speaker will have about 1,900 to consider. We’ll apparently learn tomorrow how many votes will result from all of this—keeping in mind that there could be duplication, some motions might be ruled out of order and others will be grouped together for voting.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 11:26 AM - 0 Comments
Amid all else yesterday, Nathan Cullen rose on a point of order shortly after Question Period to argue that the way in which C-45 was referred to various committees for study was procedurally illegitimate.
Scott Brison then rose on his own point of order to argue that the maneuvering at the finance committee was out of order.
Meanwhile, the Green Party has recruited Gord Downie, Leslie Feist and Sarah Harmer to oppose C-45′s changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, November 23, 2012 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
The Brisonbuster continues at the finance committee.
Last night, Mr. Brison unleashed a 14-part series of tweets to explain himself.
What’s at stake here? When the Cons use their majority to effectively suspend the rules, we’re no longer in a democracy
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at 1:07 PM - 0 Comments
Scott Brison has submitted some 3,000 amendments to C-45 to be considered by the finance committee. The committee will inevitably run out of time to vote on all those amendments, at which point the House could be asked to consider the proposed changes.
Either way, Elizabeth May says she’ll have about 100 amendments to proposed when the latest budget bill returns to the House. So while the precise duration remains to be seen, some kind of voting marathon appears likely.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 4:53 PM - 0 Comments
But NDP MP David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre, Ont.), chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, countered that the government knew the timing meant the committee reviews would be limited. “I think our House leader nailed it right when he said it’s a charade,” Mr. Christopherson said. “The government is trying to give the impression they are acquiescing to the opposition’s request for a more detailed scrutiny of the budget implementation bill, but they are doing it in such a way that, in reality, it’s not going to happen in a way that can have any kind of impact,” he said. “It’s all a charade, it’s all a game. It’s unfortunate because it leaves Canadians with the impression that this government is being transparent and accountable, but the reality is they are not. By having control of all the committees, through their majority vote, they are able to manipulate this process in such a way that it looks like something good is being done, but in reality it’s not really happening, which is sort of the trademark of this government, isn’t it,” Mr. Christopherson said.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 4:24 PM - 0 Comments
The House is scheduled to be on break for the week of November 12 and the New Democrats and Liberals are thus concerned that the government’s schedule for study of C-45 does not allow committees sufficient time to properly review the bill. A motion from Marc Garneau that would’ve instructed the committees to meet through the break week failed to receive unanimous consent in the House.
Here is Bob Rae’s exchange with the Prime Minister this afternoon.
Bob Rae. Mr. Speaker, in the discussion on the omnibus legislation, it is now clear that because of the short week next week and because of the break the week after, the committees to which all these bills and measures have been referred will have very little time to deal with the substantive matters before them. Would the Prime Minister agree that it would be a much better idea if the House were to direct the committees to meet during the break week so that these substantive measures can be dealt with?
Stephen Harper. Mr. Speaker, traditionally I do not get involved in procedural matters and committees are the masters of their own business. As is very well known, the government tabled the budget in March of this year, with a range of very important measures for the strength of the Canadian economy. We are in a period once again of some global slowdown and we need to be doing everything we can to keep our economy moving forward. I know these things have been before Parliament for a very long time so obviously I would encourage all members to continue their study of them and to act expeditiously in a way that is in the interests of jobs and growth.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
As promised, the Conservatives introduced a motion at the finance committee late yesterday afternoon that will see the second budget implementation act studied by the aboriginal affairs, agriculture, immigration, environment, fisheries, health, human resources, justice, public safety and transport committees.
Here is the full text of C-45.
And here is the full text of the motion that sets out how it will be studied. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 11:27 AM - 0 Comments
A recent poll from Forum Research.
‘Do you agree or disagree the government should be permitted to bundle many different types of legislation under one Omnibus Budget Bill?’
Don’t know 22%
Within that sample, only 33% of Conservative supporters agreed that government’s should be permitted to use omnibus budget bills.
The significant development here, if there is one, would be that the very idea of an omnibus bill could be taking on negative connotations in the general public. Arguably that’s already happened with prorogation.