Most recent entries for March 2013

Earlier today, New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen rose in the House to share his thoughts on Conservative MP Mark Warawa's contention that his privileges were breached when the government yanked his name from last Thursday's members' statement speaking list.

Although Cullen did not explicitly endorse his Commons colleague's complaint, his speech -- which you can read here -- at least made it clear that he shared the view that it is a crucial question, and one with deep significance for both Parliament and Canadians, and eventually seemed to come down, albeit indirectly, on the side of freedom of speech for backbenchers.

Conspicuously absent thus far, however, has been the Liberal caucus, collectively and as individuals. 

As yet, the party has not put up a single speaker on Warawa's point of privilege -- and, according to a spokesperson for the now vacant office of the leader, currently has no plans to do so.

But what about the six Liberals hoping to move into that office?

Hit the jump to find out! 

We asked: Do Canada's election laws need to be reformed?

Here are the results:

Yes: 95%
No: 4%
Not sure: 1%
Normally, journalists don't like complaining about long it took them to get data, in large part because the internal battles for information hardly make for riveting or relevant stories. In short, they can be boring and self-indulgent.

But sometimes it's worth peeling back the curtain just a bit to make a point about open data.

Our stories about drugs seized at Canadian land-border crossings, ports, airports and mail centres were difficult ones to tell because it was difficult to get information about these seizures.

Read more .... after the jump.
Courtesy of NDP House Leader Nathan Cullen, the speaking notes for his musings on Conservative MP Mark Warawa's question of privilege on freedom of speech for backbench MPs, which were delivered in the House of Commons earlier today. 

Hit the jump to read the speech. 
As the House prepares to shutter the doors for a two-week constituency break, all eyes will be on the Chamber this morning as New Democrat House Leader Nathan Cullen shares his thoughts on the privilege claim raised by backbench government MP Mark Warawa on the government's move to shut down his pre-QP speaking slot due to objections over his topic of choice: namely, his now notorious motion to condemn sex-selective abortion.

Hit the jump for the full post. 
A few weeks back, New Democrat MP Pat Martin to lure House Speaker Andrew Scheer into the ongoing dispute over whether the Canadian government -- both the current iteration and its Liberal predecessors -- has been blithely ignoring its statutory duty to review all proposed legislation for potential Charter conflict, and report back any potential "inconsistencies" to the House. 

In his argument, Martin pointed out that, if that was the case, not only would the law of the land have been breached, but so, too, have the privileges of countless parliamentarians, who, he contended, would have been deprived of critical information that could have otherwise informed them in past consideration of bills, regulations and other proposals. 

This afternoon, Scheer rejected his complaint. 

In his ruling, the speaker noted that not only is the matter currently before the courts, courtesy of Justice lawyer Ed Scmidt's lawsuit against his employer, but concluded that, as far as he is concerned, that is where it should stay, as it goes to the legal responsibilities of the minister, and not his obligation to the House. 

Hit the jump to read the full ruling. 
We asked: Will cuts to border services lead to more illegal drugs on Canadian streets?

Here are the results:

Yes: 81%
No: 17%
Not sure: 2%

Total responses: 802

After spending the last few days making his case before the cameras, Conservative MP Mark Warawa will finally get his first chance to formally appeal the all-party decision to moot his non-binding motion to condemn sex-selective abortion when he goes before the full procedure committee this afternoon.

According to the posted schedule, Warawa will have 45 minutes to convince his colleagues to reject the unanimous recommendation to declare M-408 non-votable, after which the committee will go in camera to discuss the matter before reporting its conclusions back to the House, which will likely occur tomorrow morning.

The political and parliamentary implications of the Warawa motion -- which, as reported yesterday, has now mushroomed into a full-fledged privilege war -- will almost certainly come up as MPs retreat behind closed doors for their weekly caucus confabs.

The New Democrats, however, will have to get by without the direct presence of their leader, as Tom Mulcair will be spending a second day in Labrador, where he will join the party's by-election candidate-in-waiting at the Wabush mine, where the pair will meet with union workers.

When the Chamber reopens this afternoon, MPs will devote themselves to a final round of pro forma approval-in-principle debate on the budget, although not before taking a brief break from the usual partisan wrangling to pay tribute to outgoing interim Liberal leader Bob Rae with post-QP tributes -- and, almost certainly, more than a little affectionate ribbing.

Later this evening, the Commons will pass judgement on the latest batch of private members' business poised for second reading approval: a trio of NDP-backed bids to ban shark fin imports, boost parental leave for parents of multiples, and codify the rights of air passengers.

Also up for a vote this evening: Conservative MP Brent Rathgeber's proposal to clarify the CBC's journalistic, programming and other exemptions from the Access to Information Act, as well as -- and, it's fair to say, more contentiously, at least as far as the government -- expand expense disclosure requirements for anyone who gets a federal government salary at or above the starting salary at the DM1 level, or $188,600.

Hit the jump for the full post. 

We asked: Should all MPs have the right to speak their minds in the House?

Here are the results:

Yes: 96%
No: 3%
Not sure: 1%
Conservative MP Mark Warawa's one-man campaign to put his motion on sex-selective abortion back on the House agenda is now threatening to pit the powers that be at PMO against the party's own backbench.

Hit the jump for the full post. 
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