A wasted year? - Macleans.ca

A wasted year?

Conservatives passed virtually no new legislation in 2010


If legislative accomplishments are anything to go by, 2010 hasn’t been a banner year for the Conservatives. According to an analysis done by Le Devoir, the Harper government spent the better part of the past year re-doing the work it scrapped when it prorogued Parliament last winter, with little in the way of results to show for their efforts. Of the 61 pieces of legislation the Conservatives introduced in the House over the last 12 months, 33 were recycled from the previous session of Parliament; and as of right now, 18 of those 33 bills are either at the same stage or further away from being made law than they were before prorogation. In fact, only three of the recycled bills have received royal assent. Among those legislative items that are further behind than they were at this time last year are supposed Conservative priorities, like a bill that would stiffen sentences for drug offences and a proposal to grant police new investigative powers. Counting the three bills that are set to be granted royal assent Wednesday afternoon, the Conservatives will have passed a meagre 11 bills through Parliament over the past 12 months, leading Le Devoir to conclude that “2010 was a total waste on the legislative front.”

Le Devoir

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A wasted year?

  1. It's hard to get anything done when the opposition parties don't want the (minority) government to get anything done.

    • Especially when combined with the fact that the government doesn't want to get anything done.

    • If this minority government were willing to collaborate as well as other minorities (e.g., Pearson's Liberals) did in the past, they'd have a much more respectable record of legislative achievement.

      Don't reinforce this government's habit of blaming everyone else for its failures. Honestly, they make a coalition look good.

    • "It's hard to get anything done when the opposition parties don't want the (minority) government to get anything done."

      …so SEND your contributions to the Conservative Party of Canada TODAY! The first 100 donors get a 'Scrap the Gun Registry Now' bumper sticker and a John Baird bobblehead!

    • Very few of these bills have been put forward for debate by the Conservatives. After they are introduced, they are never scheduled for debate or committee … they just sit on the Order Papers. Opposition parties can't honestly be accused of obstructionism when they've had no opportunity to obstruct. But who would expect honesty from Harper's team?

      • " Opposition parties can't honestly be accused of obstructionism when they've had no opportunity to obstruct. "

        Oh I don't know – the Conservatives spent a year accusing the Liberal-majority Senate of obstructing their agenda. It was so absurd and went on for so long that Liberal senators sent an open letter to the PM taking him to task.

        • I did say "honestly" — and your point is well made.

      • It's true, 15 Government Bills are still at First Reading in the House (and one more in the Senate). That means that the Government still hasn't brought these bills forward for debate. The Government can bring these bills forward for debate anytime it chooses, and has nothing to do with whether the opposition parties are willing to collaborate or not.

    • It's even harder when the Prime Minister doesn't want anything done so keeps shutting things down.

      • Prorogue; start over. Prorogue; start over… either they are covering up a huge deficit of ideas ("If we get these passed, what then? Crap! Let's scrap 'em and start again, so we still have things to say we want to accomplish") or Harper has watched Groundhog Day one too many times.

    • Which part of "re-doing the work it scrapped when it prorogued Parliament last year" was too difficult for you? I mean, there's only three words there with more than one syllable, and I assume you're familiar with "doing"

    • They prorogued parliament you insensitive clod.

      Didn't you read TFA?

  2. The Tories haven't passed any laws because they're too busy figuring out ways to spend money

  3. Political antagonism is not the most productive road for a minority Parliament.

    Blaming the opposition has become second nature to this government, so I suppose the story will be massaged into the election based "we need a majority mandate to prevent further legislative stagnation."

    Wait for it.

    • the story will get "massaged" and told by the media, not the government. it will be portrayed exactly as is was here: a "wasted year" even on "supposed Conservative priorities".

      little mention will be made of the fact that the conservatives are governing in the minority and therefore can't pass legislation without the cooperation from other parties, that despite this they have managed to keep stimulus spending well below that of other governments such we are emerging from the fiscal crisis with one of the strongest fiscal situations among western nations.

      and people like you will happily swallow the story as portrayed by the media – hook, line, and sinker – while cautioning about all the propaganda we will supposedly see. the gullibility is astonishing. scratch that: the gullibility is typical of the canadian voter.

      • Let's take a look at C-12, the bill to expand Parliament to correct the under-representation of Alberta, BC and Ontario. The Tories have tabled it for precisely one day of debate since it was introduced, and have left it on the shelf since then. There is absolutely no evidence of "obstructionism".

        The Conservatives are indeed a minority government, about to enter their sixth year as such, with no sign that they are likely to break into majority territory. Those are the cards they have been dealt, not by the media or the opposition, but by the voters of Canada. To complain that the opposition parties are somehow in the wrong for doing their democratic duty to oppose the government is a pathetic cop-out. Like any minority government, if PM Harper and his party want to govern effectively, they need to tone down the partisanship and work with their opponents for the good of the country. Instead they remain locked in the attack mode that they were in during their own time in opposition, apparently far more interested in picking fights than solving problems.

        • well said.

      • You don't mention prorogation killing legislation. Who was behind the prorogation?
        The stimulus was obviously supported by the other parties, or it wouldn't have happened.
        If we are emerging from the fiscal crisis stronger than other nations, it was with a mighty assist from the banking regulations put forth by the previous government. The Conservatives burned through the surplus they inherited before the recession even hit. They also knocked 2 points off the GST, driving revenue down while becoming the highest spending government in Canadian history. They have been consistently wrong with their economic forecasts, preach transparency while practicing obfuscation and have little regard for the parliamentary democracy they run roughshod over when it suits their needs- all the while waving the flag.
        Now who's gullible?
        Stephen Harper is a very effective politician with a very carefully crafted message. In my estimation, he is an absolute master of propaganda controlling the message.
        You buy into it.

        No thanks, I'll pass.

  4. Proroguing begins to make sense as an instrument of policy when you accept the premise that these guys are bereft of new ideas to begin with; going back to square one maybe their most logical option really.

    • But that's the re-calibration they claimed to need last year when they shut Parliament down for 3 months.

  5. Who determined that government passing legislation is something that it *has* to do.

    If there is a quota of legislation that needs to be passed, it will not be long before we see the Department of Silly Walks for real.

    • Brilliantly argued! No-one would have expected either the Spanish Inquisition or the defence that the job of legislators is not, in fact, to legislate…

      • Heh.. I think some people missed your humor, Guest, so I've thumbed you up to make up for it. :)

      • Brilliant :D
        You should sign up, Guest.

  6. A general statement on the sad state of affairs in Canadian politics and governments.

    Less games….more results please.

    …and that goes for everyone.

  7. But what about the silver lining? No legislation is better than bad legislation.

    • Word, brother!

    • I totally agree. My fingers are crossed that the writ is dropped so C-32 goes bye bye.

  8. Wow, you mean with all the KING's men … I mean all the new (unelected) RUBBER STAMPED Senators the KING appointed when the KING did the KING's yearly PROROGATION to RUN AWAY and HIDE (well, I guess this year, the KING did not RUN AWAY and HIDE from a scheduled NON CONFIDENCE vote that the Oppostion had publicly announced they would defeat the PM on, an act that ONLY a KING can do).

  9. Remember 2006 when an election was absolutely necessary because parliament was "unworkable"? And this despite passing an actual law to the contrary?

    Seriously, Steve, if you can't do the job, quit. You can't be happy in your current position.

    And in one last "screw you" to the 70% of Canadians who just weren't good enough to vote for you and your awesome ideology, make your successor Tony Clement.

  10. Yes, but are we all SCARED … BOO … the Stephen Harper way, the POLITICS OF FEAR (and CRIME).

    • …not to mention he's "Scary Harper."

      The Lib's are still using that lame excuse as the cornerstone of their campaigns.

      The really scary part is…all of our parties are lame.

      • Really? When's the last time that was even mentioned? Certainly didn't see it in the 2008 election.

      • Have you joined one to make it better?

  11. It was not a waste. The government deliberately kept Bills from progressing through parliament so that journalists would write stories about how it was a wasted year so that Conservatives could campaign on the idea that they need a majority to get something done for Canadians

    If executing your pre-election plan exactly as envisioned is a waste of a year, then the Conseravtievs should be pretty happy about the 'waste'.

  12. No comment on what the private sector has "done".

    Here in progressia, it's all government all the time.

    The government must do this or that, the government hasn't done enough, government, government, government.

    Yet in spite of the purported fact the government hasn't done anything, the economy bounces back. Go figure?

    Ok enough about the private sector, onward with our statist utopia where government provides a solution to all of our problems.

    • Funny that there is such a focus on politics on a blog about politics, eh? Who woulda thought?

      • I am certain you did NOT mean to imply by the above that "limited government that intrudes as little as possible in the lives of a free people" is a disallowed political focus. But I thought I should give you a chance to confirm.

        • Ladies and gentlemen, observe the ability of the Harper supporter to swallow not only the most baldfaced lies (think back, dear friends, to how absolutely unforeseeable it was that new companies would become income trusts – why! how could he have been expected to keep his promise?) but lies Harper has not yet even SPOKE.

        • I have absolutely no idea how you could think I didn't either from reading my comment or other stuff I've written. This is a politics blog so unlike Chet here I don't think it too unusual that the subject matter ends up being about politics and government.

          • Yeah, well, for all chet's, um, charm, his comment WAS about politics. The politics of government staying out of the way.

        • MYL, seriously.

          This is a blog post about what Parliament has accomplished this year. If you want to go to the blog post about what this private company or that private company has accomplished this year, I suggest you go to their website, or perhaps a community magazine will have a feature. If you want to see more of a lumped-together blog post on what the private sector has done, perhaps Canadian Business magazine will have some blog post to that effect. But to complain that there are no comments on what the private sector has done on this blog post is as silly as complaining that this blog post also doesn't include the year's advances in science. And it doesn't. DOES NOBODY CARE ABOUT SCIENCE?

    • Unlike the government, the only parts of the private sector I'm paying are the ones that do things for me.

      I mean, if you're happy paying your CPC representatives to sit on their hind-ends, I suppose that's your option. Personally, I'm not so thrilled.

    • Wait, the government hasn't done anything?

      Another person that didn't read the article but wants to talk. When does it end?

  13. In 2010, the CONS completed the subversion of the Senate with PM Harper's unelected Senators. I bet PM Harper thinks that is good, good for him, bad for CANADA.

    • When the LIBS did stuff the Senate that was OK right.?..You Pharisee

      • Agreed. It's annoying to see the Senate used and abused by whichever party is in power.

      • There's nothing wrong with appointing senators. It's only bad to stuff a senate if you say it is.

        The Liberals didn't make it part of their election platform. The Conservatives did. That's the difference, and you should be angry.

        • The conservatives also killed an acutal bill, which hadn't been done in living memory!

  14. For a sample of how duplicitous Harper's team is when it comes to legislation and Parliament, we have one minister (Toews) saying it was a session filled with Opposition obstruction of justice bills, while another minister (Baird) said the exact opposite. From today's Star:

    >> Fantino said he was “very pleased” to be “part of the Harper team with respect to supporting some of the very critical pieces of legislation going forward.”

    >> He pointed to his policing experience and “commended” the Harper government and echoed Toews' criticisms of the Opposition for “frustrating” the progress of government justice bills that he said would make a “significant difference” to public safety and “quality of life” in Canada.

    >> However Conservative House leader John Baird adopted an entirely different tone Tuesday, saying he was “very pleased” the government had successfully passed “a good number of justice bills” this fall and had had a “very productive session.”

    • If you keep on reading the STAR you'll keep on coming up with forced, cheap, embarasing shots like this

      • As opposed to just getting the forced, cheap and embarrassing shots directly from the horses', er, Fantino and Toews, mouths?

  15. Any Government that manages to keep its nose out of people's business gets my vote. The only people upset about this are the nanny state whiners who have a never ending list of crises the think the Government should spend money on and pass legislation.
    Well done Harper. Try doing less next year.

    • And be sure to take their pay increase for doing so, right?

    • how is writing and publicly promoting legislation, then introducing it in Parliament, but not advancing the legislation through the parliamentary process a good example of "Government that manages to keep its nose out of people's business"? I mean, the Government wouldn't write and promote these bills if they thought they were a bad idea, right? If they were just sticking their noses in people's business, right? and yet, if these bills are so important, why not bring them forward for debate? (for the record, as I noted above, 15 Government Bills are still at First Reading in the House, and one more in the Senate, which means that the Government still hasn't brought these bills forward for debate)

    • Well done?

      Yeah. I'd say he's cooked.

  16. Canada must be a laughing stock beyond our borders : let's have an election and get the country moving in the right direction.

    Harper has to go.

    • No arguments for your thesis Sophie ? Are you Bloc or LIB?

  17. The Conservative Party of Canada: too busy passing the buck to pass any legislation.

  18. New laws mean more intrusion in peoples lives and/or more money spent. I know it goes against the grain of the left to slow down the goosestepping of Mommy government but I say GREAT… Quit trying to look like those bureaucrats posing as journalists at the CBC. Remember, they are civil 'servants'. You are not.

    • You mean like the legislation to do away with the gun registry? That means more intrusion in people's lives? Interesting.

      That doesn't seem right though. Maybe you meant the new crime laws, which would automatically put convicted criminals in jail for a certain period. Yes, that would certainly be an intrusion on the felon's life — I can see what you're getting at.

      Oh no, wait, perhaps you meant legislation like the Act to Amend the Telecommunications Act, which created the Do-Not-Call list? Yes, I can see how that added to government intrusion into people's lives.. that is.. if you're a person who likes to make annoying random phone calls to sell your crap. A terrible intrusion.

      Oh! Wait! I know! You mean the legislation like PIPEDA, which requires companies honour your requests to delete or correct information on you they may have in their databases, or which require that companies can only ask for information relevant to your transaction.

      Or maybe you're just ignorant of what government actually does, and instead exist in some sort of Randian fantasy land, well divorced from reality.

    • Then why would the Government even waste time and money drafting these bills (drafting legislation requires a ton of expense on the research and consultations that feed into the production of the bill, the lawyers who draft and review the text itself, and the comunications events to promote the bills).

    • You mean like bills to increase the fair representation of AB,, BC and ON? That goosestepping Mommyism? Phew, thank god they're dragging their heals on it!

  19. I suppose the commenters who are making ridiculous statements are at a loss because not only have they not read the article, it's in french so they can't.

    I feel like my high school english teacher.

    Here: http://babelfish.yahoo.com/ and paste the Le Devoir article into the translate web page link, and select French to your language of choice.