By Aaron Wherry - Monday, March 25, 2013 - 0 Comments
Two years ago, the procedure and House affairs committee voted to find the Harper government in contempt for its refusal to provide costing analysis for some of its major initiatives.
Last fall, the Harper government refused to provide the Parliamentary Budget Officer with information about the government’s spending cuts.
And three weeks ago, Conservative MPs on the public accounts committee decided they didn’t want to see the government’s reports on fiscal sustainability.
Meanwhile, the Finance Minister says he doesn’t know how much his increase in tariffs will end up costing consumers.
But, last week, several Conservative MPs submitted order paper questions asking the government to provide costing analysis for several private members’ bills proposed by NDP MPs.
It is perhaps useful here to recall Brent Rathgeber’s words about the job of a government backbencher.
I understand that Members of Parliament, who are not members of the executive, sometimes think of themselves as part of the government; we are not. Under our system of Responsible Government, the Executive is responsible and accountable to the Legislature. The latter holds the former to account. A disservice is provided to both when Parliament forgets to hold the Cabinet to account.
Perhaps Merv Tweed, Ted Opitz, Randy Hoback, Kelly Block and Wladyslaw Lizon could use their next order paper questions to ask for the government’s fiscal sustainability reports or demand a costing analysis of the tariff increases. (Perhaps they could refuse to vote on the budget until such information is provided.) Perhaps they could submit order paper questions demanding exactly the information that Kevin Page is seeking. Or perhaps they could join together to propose that the Parliamentary Budget Officer be given the resources necessary to analyze all private members’ bills, thus saving the government the time and expense.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 5:09 PM - 0 Comments
Conservative MPs Maurice Vellacott, Leon Benoit and Wladyslaw Lizon have written to the RCMP to request that some abortions be investigated as homicides.
In their letter, the MPs wrote that between 2000 and 2009 there were 491 abortions performed on Canadian women who were pregnant for longer than 19 weeks. They contend that at this stage of gestation, the abortions involved live babies. “These are vulnerable, innocent children that homicide has been perpetrated on,” Vellacott said Thursday from Ottawa. “The individuals who have perpetrated the breach of the Criminal Code should be charged and brought to justice.”
The NDP’s Megan Leslie led Question Period this afternoon and challenged the Prime Minister on this.
Megan Leslie. Mr. Speaker, just days after the 25th anniversary of the Morgentaler decision and just days after we heard the Minister for Status of Women acknowledge that Canadians do not want the abortion debate reopened, we see another attempt by the Conservative backbench to do just that. These Conservatives are trying to get the RCMP to investigate abortions as murders. Will the government make it clear that this question was settled 25 years ago? Will the Prime Minister make it clear that he and his government understand that abortion is not murder?
Stephen Harper. Mr. Speaker, I think all members of the House, whether they agree with it or not, understand that abortion is legal in Canada. This government, myself included, have made it very clear that the government does not intend to change the law in this regard.
After QP, Bob Rae offered his particular concern.
Well, I believe the Prime Minister when he says he does not intend to do that. But it’s obvious that there are a lot of members of his caucus who want to do that. I think there’s also a question about—there’s a difference between Joe Public writing a letter to the Commissioner of the RCMP and the Commissioner of the RCMP receiving such a letter. I don’t think the application of the criminal law in Canada should be subject to political pressure of any kind whatsoever from any source whatsoever and I regret the fact that members are doing this because I think it creates a sense that somehow this determination is a political determination. It’s been a common understanding of the law in Canada that the decision to terminate a pregnancy is not a criminal act and that is the law of Canada so I think it’s important that we all start from that premise.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at 12:43 PM - 0 Comments
The Toronto Star reports that officials were already permitted to confirm an individual’s identity at citizenship ceremonies.
Before Monday’s ban of the niqab at citizenship ceremonies, Ottawa already had a protocol to verify the identity of a new citizen behind the veil. Officials at the ceremony, usually citizenship clerks, could pull aside someone wearing a niqab — a veil that only shows the eyes — and lift it for identification, the immigration department confirmed Tuesday.
Yesterday during QP, Conservative backbencher Wladyslaw Lizon seemed to be given some credit for alerting the Immigration Minister to the fact that one could be veiled while actually reciting the oath.