The House

In House: death by consultation?

In House panelists Laura Stone and Kristy Kirkup discuss the strategy of delay tactics in politics and look ahead to the future of the Liberals' assisted dying bill in committee.
Canada Post review task force chair Francoise Bertrand, left, listens to Public Services Minister Judy Foote speak to reporters as she launched a broad national review of Canadian postal services Thursday. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

From Canada Post home delivery to electoral reform, the Liberals made a lot of promises during the campaign.

So when will those promises start to bear fruit?

Our In House panelists Laura Stone, reporter for the Globe and Mail, and the Canadian Press' Kristy Kirkup dig into the political strategy of "death by consultation" — and address accusations of bad behaviour in the House this week.

What do you make of the government's announcement to launch a review of Canada Post?

Kristy Kirkup: They're already giving signals that restoring home delivery could actually mean a couple days a week, not actually a full reinstatement of home delivery. There's going to be a review that's conducted,a nd that's going to take some time, but certainly I'm surprised to hear that. That wasn't my understanding of what was promised during hte campaign.

Laura Stone: I think the Liberals are just now facing the realities of governing. They've made these broad promises to many groups and now they're facing hte economic reality of what restoring home delivery for everyone would mean. This is the Liberals' play - to have these consultations on a number of topics, and then it kind of gets them out of making the decision right away. 

KK: Especially in terms of the pledge to legalize the recreational use of pot. One thing the government has said repeatedly is that they were going to establish this provincial territorial federal task force that was going to review the landscape going forward - hear from health experts, people in the legal community, from police officers, for example. And they still haven't established that community. So lots of questions about how they can proceed with these promises when the first step is taking that deep dive to find out where they actually need to go and what that road map will look like. 

LS: And also, do they take these consultations to heart? We're seeing that now with the physician assisted dying bill. The government struck this joint committee for two months which studied this issue intensely and made all these recommendations that the government proceeded to ignore.

It's been a week where nonpartisanship has been on display, but there was an incident in the House of Commons when Conservative MP Blake Richards accused the Prime Minister of bad behaviour during Question Period. What did you make of his comments?

KK: What is going on? Did the Prime Minister stick out his tongue? I can't attest to seeing that.

LS: I think that's just how he smiles, honestly. I think he just has a very wide smile. 

KK: I never thought that would be a topic of conversation in the House.

LS: I think the speeches about Fort McMurray were a really nice moment in the House. I've just come from Parliament where Mauril Belanger's [national anthem] bill was blocked by Conservatives to lead it to a vote, so that bill is now back at the bottom of the pile, so he likely won't see a vote anytime soon. So I'd argue there were moments of bipartisanship, but the House is the House.

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