Friday, November 19, 2010


Once again, the halls of parliament are rife with cries of righteous indignation among the opposition coalition regarding the defeat this week of a Private Member’s Bill in the Senate.

Bill C-311 was introduced by the NDP in the House of Commons and sponsored in the Senate by their would-be coalition partner, the Liberals through Senator Grant Mitchell

Senator Mitchell chose to spin the vote he unwittingly caused to occur this way: “Killing Bill C-311 shows a fundamental lack of respect for the many Canadians who care deeply about climate change. They had a right to have this bill debated properly.”

Let’s be crystal clear: Our government wanted to debate this bill. We had serious concerns regarding its proposed provisions. We were ready, willing and prepared to put these on the record. We would not have obstructed its path through parliament.

Canadian’s rights and the application of democracy were by no means impinged. The Liberals forced the vote on their own coalition’s bill. They created the conditions which brought about the vote. They could have done otherwise and did not.

The opposition hyperbole around the vote results continued. Jack Layton stated that he believes Stephen Harper is allowing the unelected senators to wield their power to subvert the democratic decision of the House of Commons.

What Mr. Layton and others conveniently forget, fail to grasp or seek to conceal is that were they to apply their own power, as elected Members of Parliament, they could work with the government to bring about Senate Reform.

We pushed the matter in the House yesterday. We sought unanimous consent to pass C-10, the Senate term limits bill which would have delivered eight-year term limits. Contending that the bill is flawed, unanimous consent was not granted.

So, out of one side of their mouths the opposition accuses the government of subverting democracy. Yet when given the chance to exercise such democracy, the still-thriving Liberal/NDP Coalition retreats from the challenge.

It’s an appropriate time to remind Canadians that after the last election, the NDP set out to form a Coalition to overturn the election results. That Coalition would have appointed Coalition members to the Senate.

We’re prepared to reform the Senate. We’ve been entirely consistent on this and will continue to be. We are also prepared to work to ensure that completely irresponsible legislation like Bill C-311 does not pass, kicking the daylights out of the Canadian economy.

We were equally prepared to debate Bill C-311 until the sponsor chose to bring the matter to a vote. The Coalition opposition knew of our concerns with the bill’s proposed provisions. They caused the conditions for a vote to occur. They made the step that precluded the potential for debate. The coalition talk out of both sides of its mouth shows them to be, as the old adage goes, “all talk and no trousers”.

The Upper Chamber of Canada’s parliament is no place to play games like this in the midst of such a serious undertaking.


nesa7 said...

I'm curious about "will be introducing Bill C-3 in the Senate this afternoon in response to the McIvor decision."

Any updates on this. I am curious because, my son's application for indian registration is currently pending....and after speaking with the membership officer for my band, i get the feeling the government is dragging its heels on getting this decision of courts implemented. Apparently it could take up to two years for my son to become registered....if it is deemed by the government (i am supposing) that he is eligible.

nesa7 said...

p.s. wonderful that you have a blog again! Thank you!

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