By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, March 21, 2013 - 0 Comments
All signs point to another omnibus budget, writes Aaron Wherry
On Jan. 26, 1971, Speaker of the House Lucien Lamoureux presented two existential questions to the House of Commons. “Where do we stop?” he asked. “Where is the point of no return?” Lamoureux was responding to a point of order raised about Bill C-207, the Government Organization Act. The complaint concerned the omnibus nature of the bill—that the legislation in question contained several distinct and unique measures that would be better dealt with separately. While the speaker was sympathetic to the arguments presented, he ultimately ruled that the bill was in order—but not without a caveat that should ring in the ears of every current member of Parliament. “I would have to rule—if I must rule—that the government has followed the practice that has been accepted in the past, rightly or wrongly,” he said, “but that we may have reached the point where we are gong too far and that omnibus bills seek to take in too much.”
Forty-two years later, Lamoureux’s questions remain unanswered, at least officially. And it is in the absence of answers that our parliamentary democracy has come to be tested each spring with the presentation of a new budget.
The quandary of omnibus legislation returned to the fore last year with C-38 and C-45, the two budget implementation acts, tabled in the spring and fall, respectively. Each numbered more than 450 pages and contained dozens of measures. And each, in protest, was subject to hours of voting as the opposition parties sought to bring attention to both the controversial changes contained therein and the highly questionable design of the bills themselves. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 10:49 AM - 0 Comments
The Canadian Press finds that the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association was interested in changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act.
The Harper government’s attempts to explain the changes to the act have been problematic from the start. First was the attempt, in the context of last year’s second omnibus budget bill, to claim that the changes had been mentioned in the budget. Then there was the case of the disappearing FAQ. And then there was the claim that the act had nothing to do with the environment.
But members of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) are claiming a victory with the change to navigable water legislation. ”We’re ecstatic about that,” president David Marit told delegates to SARM’s mid-term convention back in November. It’s a long fight that we’ve had to deal with and we finally got what we wanted.”
… Marit said the change is the result of a 10-year battle waged by Saskatchewan RMs. “We were the leading advocate across Canada on this issue and we got it,” he said. He said it means streams that only run during the spring season no longer come under the Act. And there’s “one less bureaucracy that we have to go through for approvals on either bridge or culvert replacements.”
Here is Mr. Marit’s testimony to the transport committee last fall.
(Mr. Marit is now perhaps better known as the dissenting commissioner in the dispute over the new Saskatchewan riding boundaries.)
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 - Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
A senior government source tells the Star that the Prime Minister understands the importance of Friday’s meeting with aboriginal leaders, but the Globe wonders if the meeting will happen at all—some chiefs apparently agreeing with Theresa Spence that the Governor General must be present. Or, as one chief explained to APTN, “If there is any honour in this Crown the governor general better get his ass there.” (I believe the proper phrasing is “his right honourable ass.”)
There is a lot of history between First Nations and the crown—some of First Nations leaders have requested a meeting with the Queen later this year—but it’s not clear to me what the Governor General could be expected to do here. If this were a larger summit or gathering, you might imagine the Governor General participating in an opening or closing ceremony. But this is said to a be a working meeting—Shawn Atleo has specifically noted the difference—and the Prime Minister and his cabinet are responsible for government policy.
In that regard, APTN lists a few potential demands that are being considered.
According to a draft position from Manitoba’s Southern Chiefs Organization obtained by APTN National News, it appears First Nations leaders are planning to put repealing the Bill C-45 and Bill C-38, the government’s omnibus budget bills on the table.
The draft outline, which APTN National News was told broadly, reflected the direction of discussions, also called for Canada to set a timeline and process to scrap the Indian Act and replace it with a “Treaty Recognition and Implementation Act.”
Fully repealing 900 pages of legislation—the combined extent of C-38 and C-45—seems a rather large request at this point, but the Indian Act is already up for debate and there seems unanimous agreement that it must (somehow) be replaced.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 3:48 PM - 0 Comments
Conservative MP Larry Miller suggests opposition complaints about the size of this year’s omnibus budget bills are not to be taken seriously because he “never heard a peep out of them” when the budget bill in 2010 was 900 pages.
It is possible that Mr. Miller didn’t hear anything, but it would not be accurate to thus presume that the omnibus nature of C-9 passed without a peep. Here, for instance, is a rudimentary search of Hansard that shows the omnibus nature of the bill was at least noted. There were two attempts to split that bill—one in the House, one in the Senate—but the Liberals were loath to initiate an election. Ultimately, the bill passed the Senate intact.
That said, Mr. Miller has something of a point: the consternation expressed about C-38 this spring (and again this fall with C-45) seemed orders of magnitude larger than the reaction that met previous bills. That probably has something to do with the fact that a majority government situation makes it easier to oppose. And had there been more attention paid to previous budget bills, the fight against omnibus legislation now might be easier. (If, for instance, you imagine that continued fights over omnibus legislation will ultimately force some kind of compromise, it’s possible that a greater fight two years ago might mean compromise that much sooner. That is, if you believe that this year’s fights over C-38 and C-45 have had, or will have, some impact.)
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 11:23 AM - 0 Comments
Jeremy Warren talks to two of the women who started the burgeoning protest movement.
The four moved their conversations about their shared disappointment over federal legislation to a Face-book page created for a small rally at Station 20 West in Saskatoon. The four titled the page Idle No More as a motivational slogan, said Jessica Gordon, one of the local and national organizers.
“We thought it would just be a planning group and we titled the page Idle No More as a way to get our butts off the couch to work on this,” Gordon said in an interview. Gordon, along with Sheelah McLean, Sylvia McAdams and Nina Wilson, may have sparked the Idle No More campaign, but the grassroots movement has taken on a life of its own and spread across the country and beyond its borders with rallies involving thousands of people. Another event is scheduled for Friday in Saskatoon, the same day rallies will be held in Ottawa, L.A. and San Francisco.
“This movement is really important and it’s going to get stronger and better,” Sheelah McLean said. Facebook and Twitter have helped spread the Idle No More movement and allowed organizers to maintain its grassroots beginnings, Gordon said. ”Social media are pushing a lot of the issues,” she said. “People are more aware of the legislation being pushed through undemocratically.”
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 - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 at 11:16 AM - 0 Comments
Chantal Chagnon, an aboriginal singer and drummer originally from the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, said the omnibus bill violates First Nations’ treaty rights as well as human rights. “We’re fed up,” Chagnon said. “This new bill coming in, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.”
Regena Crowchild, a treaty consultant with the Tsuu T’ina nation, said the government hasn’t consulted with First Nations groups on the legislation that affects them. “They’re not giving us proper opportunity to address our concerns or talk to them about it,” Crowchild said. “They want to amend the Indian Act without consulting us. All this legislation is just moving towards making us ordinary Canadians with no treaty rights.”
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.