Liberal government tries to unilaterally change rules

The Liberal government in Ottawa has released a discussion paper on bringing changes to the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Canada.

The Liberal government in Ottawa has released a discussion paper on bringing changes to the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Canada. In the document, they propose to give the government side of the House of Commons even more power and control over the daily business of the House and other proceedings, including debates in committees, the House itself, and Question Period. The discussion paper proposes to allow the governing party in the House of Commons (the Liberals) to act unilaterally taking rights away from the opposition parties.

One main feature of the Liberal’s proposed changes to the rules of parliament will make Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s life much easier. He will only have to show up for work in parliament once a week. He wants to answer all the questions during a single Question Period one day a week when the House is sitting. He will not attend Question Period the other days of the week. The Prime Minister also wants to shut down parliament on Fridays again reducing the opportunity for all parties to hold his government to account.

The Conservative Party is the Official Opposition in the House of Commons and we are willing to discuss and debate measures that would modernize some of the processes and procedures under which parliament operates. The NDP have also said they are willing to enter such discussions. Both parties were shocked when the Liberal’s discussion paper was tabled at a Liberal-dominated committee and the Liberals announced limits on debate and timelines leading up to a vote (that the Liberals will win because of their majority in the House and at committees) to adopt, support and pass the discussion paper.

The discussion paper details proposals to allow the Liberals control over the amount of debate. A minister or parliamentary secretary would be able to stop debate at any time, and unilaterally adjourn the House if they want. This means that if a debate is not going the way they want, they can just shut it off and shut down the House.

The discussion paper also strips the opposition parties of the few procedural tactics we have under the rules. The opposition sometimes wants to extend hours of debate on certain government policies because if they don’t support a given item of business they may want extra time to bring the matter to the attention of Canadians and increase the chance that the government will ultimately listen to their reasons and public opinion and agree to make changes to a bill.

This is the way our democracy works. There ought to be a measure of give and take during the debates on the floor of the House of Commons chamber and in committees.

Major changes to the Standing Orders that have been made in our parliament over the past 150 years have been done with the consensus of all parties. In the interest of democracy, the Liberal government should not proceed with changes without the consent of all parties.

With proposals as controversial as this, it makes me wonder if this is not just an attempt to divert attention away from the Prime Minister’s weak budget and his plan to legalize marijuana that he reannounced last Monday.

 

Just Posted

Sentencing postponed in Castor triple homicide

Jason Klaus and Josh Frank will appear in court again Feb. 14th

County council writes off certain Botha accounts

Council hears public library saw 60,000 pass through doors this year

Stettler secondhand charity looks for new home

Superfluity lease not being renewed; will move by Sept., 2018

First auction of 2018 has solid numbers: auction market

Stettler Auction Mart sees 700 head move through Jan. 9

Stettler and area youth jump into curling this winter

Junior Curling Program runs Monday nights in Stettler

Stettler and area youth jump into curling this winter

Junior Curling Program runs Monday nights in Stettler

Bell Media, NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad rules to top court

At issue is a ban on substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the game’s broadcast

Sentencing postponed in Castor triple homicide

Jason Klaus and Josh Frank will appear in court again Feb. 14th

Drumheller-Stettler MLA visits Stettler County Council during January constituency break

Rural crime matters, agriculture plastics recycling and infrastructure requests brought forward

Cougar window shops at Banff grocery store

An RCMP officer spots a cougar outside an Alberta grocery store

$130K could get you on a dive to the Titanic

Hot summer ticket: $130K could get you on a dive to the Titanic off Newfoundland

UK’s Princess Eugenie, daughter of Prince Andrew, engaged

Princess Eugenie, the daughter of Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, will marry Jack Brooksbank in Autumn 2018

German nurse charged with 97 more murders

Niels Hoegel, serving a life sentence for two murders, has been indicted in nearly 100 more killings.

Two men guilty in murders of Alberta family could face 75 years

The pair were found guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Klaus’s parents and sister in a rural home near Castor, Alberta

Most Read


Weekly delivery plus unlimited digital access for $50.40 for 52 issues (must live within 95 kilometers of Stettler) Unlimited Digital Access for one year for $50.40 Prefer to have us call you? Click here and we’ll get back to you within one business day.