By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 0 Comments
Earlier this morning, NDP House leader Nathan Cullen and Conservative MP Kyle Seeback added their support to Mark Warawa’s question of privilege.
Nathan Cullen. Mr. Speaker, first, I appreciate the time today for allowing me to offer a few additional comments on what I believe is an important issue for Parliament and an important issue for Canadians.
On March 26, the member for Langley rose to say that his rights as a member of Parliament had been infringed upon when he was prevented by the whip of his own party to deliver a statement in this House, a statement that, in parliamentary terms, we call an “S. O. 31”. Much like the terms “omnibus bills”, “prorogation” and “closure”, the Conservative Party continues to offer what I believe is an unintentional lesson in how parliamentary systems work and sometimes can be abused.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at 8:55 PM - 0 Comments
Mark Warawa presented his appeal to the Procedure and House Affairs committee this afternoon. The committee had no questions for him, went in camera to decide the fate of Motion 408 and will table its report with the House tomorrow.
The search is otherwise on for the meaning of all this.
Conservative MP Jay Aspin says Mark Warawa has gone “rogue.”
Conservative MP Jay Aspin criticized Warawa, saying he went “rogue” on the abortion issue, which Harper has vowed not to revisit. “[The] Conservative party has a policy. We had a policy going into the last election, and he failed to adhere to it,” Aspin said after the weekly Conservative caucus meeting.
On the matter of Mr. Warawa’s freedom to give a members’ statement about his motion, Conservative MP Kyle Seeback is supportive.
“A member should be able to make a statement on any issue they think is important to themselves or their constituencies,” said Tory MP Kyle Seeback. “Mr. Warawa’s (member’s statement) should not have been taken away. That’s my personal view.”
Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth says he’s thinking about it.
“Is the right to make a member statement owned by an individual member or is it owned by the whip? I still haven’t quite got there yet,” he told reporters.
Mr. Warawa pledges his full support for the Prime Minister and tries to blame the state of Parliament for the fact that he couldn’t deliver that statement, while also saying he’s not being muzzled.
I think Parliament’s at fault for not permitting this issue to be dealt with earlier and others have suffered by losing that right. I experienced that suffering last Thursday and then when it affected me personally, then I had a responsibility to speak up.
Andrew Coyne considers the ramifications of it all.
This did not begin with Warawa, in short, and it will not end here. The question is whether opposition MPs will join the fray. The shuttering of Warawa’s motion, after all, was an all-party affair: it was his motion this time, but it could be theirs next. There’s a fight worth having, here, but it isn’t Conservatives vs. Opposition, or pro-life vs. pro-choice. It’s for the freedom of all MPs against the dictates of a system that, as in no other democracy, has vested all power in the party leader.
In other news, tonight the House defeated NDP MP Fin Donnelly’s private member’s bill that would have banned the import of shark fins. Kristy Kirkup reports that some Conservatives supported the bill, but that the Prime Minister’s Office pushed for the bill to be defeated.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, March 22, 2013 at 12:08 PM - 0 Comments
Conservative MP Mark Warawa would like to put a resolution before the House of Commons that would condemn “sex-selective pregnancy termination.” But yesterday, Conservative MPs joined with New Democrats and Liberals on the subcommittee that oversees private members’ business to deem the motion out of order.
The decision on MP Mark Warawa’s motion came in a special parliamentary subcommittee Thursday, as Tory MP Scott Armstrong closed ranks with the opposition and voted against letting it proceed. “(The motion) involves ultrasounds and health-care delivery,” Armstrong said just before the vote. “This is clearly the jurisdiction of the provinces.”
Armstrong’s comment flew in the face of the testimony of a Library of Parliament analyst that the motion was within federal jurisdiction, wasn’t similar to another motion before the Commons and wasn’t unconstitutional. The decision irritated members of the Conservative caucus. “Scott Armstrong was whipped,” one MP said. “There’s little doubt that the Prime Minister’s Office wanted this motion removed so that it not be dealt with by the House of Commons.”
Mr. Warawa is displeased (and will appeal).
“My motion is fully in line with the criteria to deem Private Members’ Business votable,” said Warawa. “The idea that Members of Parliament aren’t allowed to express an opinion on any subject is beyond belief.”
WeNeedaLAW director Mike Schouten was also shocked by the decision. “Is the Prime Minister’s Office so dismissive of anything remotely connected to pre-born human rights that it will subvert democracy itself to avoid the discussion?” he asked.
Here is where Mr. Warawa might get the support of those who otherwise oppose his views on abortion. Regardless of how one feels about his motion, regardless of how uncomfortable it might make the leadership of Mr. Warawa’s party, every MP and everyone who is represented by an MP should be concerned if Mr. Warawa is being prevented from putting a motion before the House simply because some people oppose its sentiment or would rather it not be brought forward. Never mind the very fraught matter of abortion, this now threatens to become a question about the nature of parliamentary democracy and the independence of MPs.
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 - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 at 4:34 PM - 0 Comments
While the New Democrats continue to try to shame Conservative backbenchers—see Olivia Chow’s statement on Monday and Niki Ashton’s statement on Tuesday—the Conservatives have responded by finding new ways to lament for the prospect of a cap-and-trade system.
Kyle Seeback worried yesterday that the possibility of cap-and-trade would ruin the magic of winter. John Carmichael segued from marking the 20th anniversary of the Toronto Blue Jays’ first World Series championship to worrying that a cap-and-trade system would leave Canadians with less money to spend on baseball. And while wishing Thomas Mulcair a happy birthday, Jacques Gourde lamented that cap-and-trade would raise the price of birthday cakes.
(Is it possible that when John Baird, Jim Flaherty, Stephen Harper and Jim Prentice were advocating for cap-and-trade and a price on carbon, they were intending to ruin hot chocolate, baseball and birthdays? Is the hidden agenda finally revealed?)
Here again is everything you need to know about the Conservatives’ carbon tax farce.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, September 21, 2012 at 2:59 PM - 0 Comments
Among the Conservaties who stood in the House this week and criticized the NDP’s stance on cap-and-trade were Kyle Seeback, Peter Van Loan, Gord Brown, Leon Benoit, Shelly Glover, Chris Warkentin, LaVar Payne, Gerry Ritz, Pierre Poilievre, Christian Paradis, Rick Dykstra, Randy Hoback, Pierre Lemieux, Ed Fast, Tony Clement and Andrew Saxton. These individuals—like Phil McColeman, Joe Preston and Ed Holder, who attacked the NDP last week—were all Conservative candidates in 2008 when the Conservative party platform included a commitment to pursue a continental cap-and-trade system.
Here, again, is everything you need to know about the Conservatives’ carbon tax farce.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, December 15, 2011 at 9:30 AM - 0 Comments
Megan Leslie, asked yesterday about Mr. Trudeau’s shouted profanities.
I think it was an honest reaction from him in some ways. I certainly have bit my tongue so hard sometimes it bleeds in that House. I think he recognized that it wasn’t Parliamentary. Sometimes though the Conservatives and their games do get the better of us and we react. I think it was an honest reaction. He apologized for it. I just wish that the Conservatives would actually talk about issues and stop with the name calling and these kinds of dirty tricks. It’s really shameful.
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 9:06 AM - 0 Comments
The International Association of Firefighters arrived in Ottawa and held a reception at the…
The International Association of Firefighters arrived in Ottawa and held a reception at the Delta Hotel.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, October 21, 2011 at 10:00 AM - 17 Comments
Steven Fletcher, Oct. 19. Mr. Speaker, I reject the premise of the member’s question.
John Baird, Oct. 19. Mr. Speaker, it will not come as any surprise to my friend from northern Ontario that I do not agree with the premise of his question.
Ed Fast, Oct. 19. Mr. Speaker, I do not accept the premise of that question.
Stephen Harper, Oct. 19. Mr. Speaker, I completely disagree with the premise of that question.
Denis Lebel, Oct. 18. Mr. Speaker, I do not accept the premise of that question.
John Baird, Oct. 17. Mr. Speaker, it will not come as any surprise to that member or to the House that I categorically reject the premise of the member’s question.
Brent Rathgeber, Oct. 17. Mr. Speaker, I absolutely disagree with the premise of that question.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, September 1, 2011 at 2:21 PM - 2 Comments
In light of a short-lived NDP motion on Old Age Security eligibility, Kevin Milligan reviews the practical principles at play.
So, we had twenty years of contributory Old Age Security taxes — but that ended 40 years ago. Assuming work started at age 18, this means no one under age 58 today has ever paid any explicit Old Age Security taxes — and those over age 58 paid explicit taxes only for a fraction of their working lives. Moreover, the proportion of people who never paid the explicit tax will only grow in the future as younger generations reach age 65 with increasingly less work exposure to the 1952-1971 window. This renders the argument about a tax-benefit linkage much weaker for Old Age Security than for the Canada Pension Plan.
A refinement of the argument posits implicit linkages between a lifetime of paying taxes into general revenues and the pension benefits that flow at older ages. This argument seems sound in general, but I find it hard to distinguish why we should impose residency requirements on Old Age Security but not other public benefits or public spending. Why restrict Old Age Security to long-term residents but not public health insurance? What makes Old Age Security so different?
Kady O’Malley notes the relatively symbolic nature of private members’ motions and the fact that—among other plausibly controversial motions—a motion to change Old Age Security requirements was put forward by a Conservative MP in 2004. Nonetheless, Conservative MPs Dean Del Mastro, Kyle Seeback, Greg Rickford and Cathy McLeod have moved quickly to reassure their constituents that they are entirely opposed to this recklessness.