By Aaron Wherry - Friday, March 1, 2013 - 0 Comments
Six hours or so after Claude Patry’s move from the NDP to the Bloc, the House moved to the second hour of debate on the Bloc’s bill to repeal the Clarity Act last night. No less than five New Democrats—Mathieu Ravignat, Robert Aubin, Nycole Turmel, Francoise Boivin and Craig Scott—stood to dismiss the Bloc bill and commend their side’s Unity Bill. The task of defending the Clarity Act fell to the Liberal Francis Scarpaleggia.
The following is from Mr. Aubin’s explanation of the NDP perspective.
What does the NDP bill say compared to the bill introduced by the Bloc? It says very straightforward things. An association, whether a business association, a constitutional association, or even a romantic association, is based on trust. It starts with trust. We will not change the ground rules along the way. It would therefore be rather silly to claim that 50% plus one is enough to join Canada’s Constitution, but that in order to leave, you need 66%. The rules for entry and departure should be the same. The NDP’s job is to make Quebeckers feel respected and at home in Canada, thereby ensuring that the question does not come up again. If it does, then these are the conditions that will apply.
The question could not be clearer. At the beginning, I said that Quebeckers will be able to decide their future at a time of their choosing. Naturally, they will also decide on the question. The NDP believes, however, that with their experience of repeated referenda, Quebeckers have also gained maturity. We believe that it might be possible, should a third referendum be held, to follow the example of the Scottish model and agree in advance on the wording of a question that would have everyone live with the results when the referendum was over. This is a very mature approach that Quebeckers are prepared to adopt, except perhaps for those who are spoiling for a fight.
And this from Mr. Scarpaleggia.
With regard to the threshold that would have to be met in a referendum to begin negotiating Quebec’s independence with the rest of Canada, the Liberal caucus fully supports, with the strongest and deepest conviction, the Clarity Act, based as it is on the Supreme Court opinion to the effect that the threshold must be much higher than the 50% plus one rule. There are number of reasons for this condition. First, the 50% plus one rule is not 50% plus one in reality; voter turnout at the polls is never actually 100%. We know that if you snooze, you lose, but do you deserve to lose your country and your citizenship forever if illness or some other situation makes it impossible for you to exercise your right to vote?
In the event that the “yes” side won a slight victory, would there be the broad popular consensus needed to move forward with the difficult negotiations with the rest of Canada? On the day after this kind of result, will Quebec fall into a bitter political deadlock that would undermine economic stability?
The Conservatives, meanwhile, were quite eager during QP this morning to suggest the NDP caucus was rife with separatists.
By Mitchel Raphael - Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 9:50 PM - 0 Comments
A photo gallery by Mitchel Raphael
MPs and Hill staff gathered at the Government Conference Centre for the annual All-Party Party — an opportunity for MPs to thank those who sweep their floors and carry their binders.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, November 7, 2012 at 11:55 AM - 0 Comments
Yesterday afternoon, the NDP sent up Robert Aubin to ask Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Peter Penashue about his portfolio. Mr. Penashue hasn’t been answering questions about his election campaign, but Government House leader Peter Van Loan pointed at Mr. Penashue to take this one. Only Mr. Penashue didn’t seem to get the message and so, after a couple of seconds, Mr. Van Loan pointed to Tony Clement, who then stood and responded.
The NDP tried again and Mr. Van Loan again pointed at Mr. Penashue and this Mr. Penashue got the message and stood and offered an awkward response. A third question about intergovernmental affairs was then directed to Kerry-Lynne Findlay, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of justice. A final question, about Mr. Penashue’s election campaign, was taken by Pierre Poilievre, the designated government spokesman on questions of ethics.
Yesterday’s one response from Mr. Penashue was the first time he’s spoken in the House this fall and just the tenth time he’s spoken this year.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 5:59 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. Of all the festive games to be played on Halloween, shaming committee chairs is somewhat less messy than leaving a bag of flaming dog poop on a neighbour’s doorstep, but decidedly less fun than bobbing for apples. Alas, under the stodgy rules of parliamentary decorum, it was the best the NDP could offer this afternoon.
The New Democrats have been occupying themselves these days with attempting to convince various committees to take up study of C-45, the government’s latest budget bill. The Conservatives, soon after tabling the bill in the House, had said that they would allow the bill to be studied at 10 committees. The Conservatives vowed they would move a motion at the finance committee to do just that. But the New Democrats were apparently keen to see those studies commence post haste and so have been proposing motions hither and yon. Each of those efforts seems to have been stymied. And so now the New Democrats get to claim great umbrage.
“Mr. Speaker, this is simple,” Megan Leslie explained this afternoon. “A motion was proposed, we went in camera, and the motion never came out again.”
Ms. Leslie wondered if the chair of the environment committee—Conservative MP Mark Warawa—might stand and confirm that he was going to be scheduling hearings on C-45. To respond though stood Transport Minister Denis Lebel, who assured Ms. Leslie of the validity of the budget’s changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 at 10:17 AM - 0 Comments
New Democrats say Lise St-Denis owes it to her voters to return to the polls. “If Lise St-Denis has confidence and an ounce of respect for democracy, she’ll let the citizens of her riding be the judge. If not, she’s unworthy of representing them.”
“New Democrats will continue to work on behalf of the citizens of Saint-Maurice–Champlain. They deserve someone in Ottawa who will stand up for them and represent their values,” concluded Turmel. “The families of the region can continue to count on us.” To demonstrate this, the leader asked Robert Aubin (Trois-Rivières) and Ruth Ellen Brosseau (Berthier – Maskinongé) to step in and bring the issues affecting the people of Saint-Maurice – Champlain to the House of Commons.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, September 16, 2011 at 10:35 AM - 2 Comments
NDP MPs Robert Aubin, Francois Lapointe, Jamie Nicholls, Marie-Claude Morin, Alexandrine Latendresse, Pierre Nantel and Claude Patry pledge their support for Thomas Mulcair’s as-yet-undeclared NDP leadership bid.
Rathika Sitsabaiesan and Brian Masse side with Peter Julian.
And later today, Romeo Saganash will announce his support for Brian Topp.