Inside Politics

The NDP prescription for scrupulously correct parliamentary behaviour

As previewed in Orders of the Day, New Democrat house leader Nathan Cullen unveiled his party's vision for a kinder, gentler -- or, at least, less openly hostile and abusive -- House of Commons under the (somewhat unimaginative) moniker 'The Civility Project.'

Here's the full text of the motion, which would explicitly authorize the speaker to impose penalties on obstreperous MPs -- a power that, for the record, he already possesses, although the NDP initiative would tie suspension from the House to a subsequent reduction in a members' sessional allowance: 

"That the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs be instructed by the House of Commons to recommend changes to the Standing Orders procedures and practices to increase the authority of the Speaker to impose disciplinary measures against Members who use harassment, threats, personal attacks, or extreme misrepresentation of facts or position in the House, particularly regarding Statements by Members and Oral Questions, including: i) revoking questions during Oral Questions from parties whose Members have been disruptive; ii) issuing a warning to Members for a first offense; iii) suspending Members from the service of the House for one sitting day for a second offense; five days for a third offense; and twenty days for a fourth offense; and iv) suspending Members' sessional allowance for the duration of their suspension from the service of the House. And that the Committee report its findings to the House within 6 months of the adoption of this order."

Under the rules of the House, the NDP will either have to put the proposal up for debate during an opposition day, or garner the unanimous consent of the Chamber, which seems unlikely to be granted. Stay tuned!
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