Inside Politics

UPDATED - Gov't cancels debate on Liberal push for backbench freedom

Well, this may put the cat amongst those allegedly mutinous Conservative backbench pigeons -- a votable and fully binding opposition day motion that, if passed, would yank control of the pre-QP speaking slots away from the party whip in favour of a new system that would have the speaker recognize members in alphabetical order: 


That Standing Order 31 be amended by adding the following:

(1) The Speaker shall recognize Members in alphabetical order by Party. For the purposes of this Standing Order, all Members who do not belong to a recognized party shall be grouped together.

(2) When a Member is unable to present his or her statement on the date required by Standing Order 31(1), he or she may indicate in writing to the Speaker at least one hour prior to the beginning of Statement by Members, the name of the Member with whom he or she will exchange position.

At press time, that debate is scheduled to unfold on Monday, and according to the advisory sent out by the party newly elected leader Justin Trudeau will kick off the discussion. 

Stay tuned!  

UPDATE - Waiting for confirmation from the government house leader's office, but word has it that Monday's opposition day has been cancelled. 

CONFIRMATION: Here's what Government House Leader Peter Van Loan said in the House earlier today: 

Mr. Speaker, I wish to make a brief statement respecting the business of the House next week. As I said at the start of question period, leadership requires decisive and serious action in response to the serious threats of violent terrorism. 
 In order to give members of this House an opportunity to express their views on the appropriate way to respond to terrorist violence, on Monday and Tuesday the House will debate Bill S-7, the Combating Terrorism Act. This bill is at its final stage in Parliament and I call upon all members of this place to pass this bill, we don't need further study - we need action. 
 As a result, the government business originally scheduled for those days will be re-scheduled to a later date.
As I previously noted on twitter, it's odd that the government would choose to make this last minute scheduling change only after being advised of the content of the Liberal motion. In fact, Monday's now-cancelled opposition day was only designated as such on Thursday afternoon. 

It's also worth pointing out that, since Monday, there have been four days on which the above-referenced bill could have been debated - including two earlier opposition days.

WEDNESDAY IT IS: According to the government house leader's office, Wednesday will be designated an opposition day. 

PMO weighs in: 

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