An MP’s job “isn’t to kill time in Ottawa”


Steven Blaney delivers the goods.

Via Jean-François Lisée over at our French-language sister site comes video evidence the Conservative script for explaining last December’s prorogation still has a few holes in it. During a panel discussion alongside opposition MPs on Radio-Canada this past Monday, Steven Blaney, the chair of the Quebec Conservative caucus, was forced to rely on the escape hatch of last resort: make things up as you go along.

Blaney baldly stated bills that were on the order paper would be “automatically re-activated” once Parliament comes back and that shutting everything down simply “prevents debates from going on forever.”

Of course, as his fellow panelists were all too eager to point out, and as everyone with even a passing interest in these things is seemingly aware, that’s patently untrue. (Though, to give Blaney credit, it’s true that prorogation prevents debates from dragging on, if only because it prevents them from taking place at all.) Blaney’s baffling ignorance of parliamentary procedure should perhaps come as no surprise given his other justifications for his extended winter vacation:

* “Stephen Harper is showing leadership.”

* “Our role as parliamentarians isn’t to kill time in Ottawa, it’s to deliver results… Right now, it’s to consult with our people on the budget, solve constituent issues, take care of immigration cases.”

* “What [constituents] want is a government and parliamentarians that deliver the goods.”

As Blaney so succinctly put it, “don’t take Canadians and Quebecers for a bunch of idiots.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.


An MP’s job “isn’t to kill time in Ottawa”

  1. "What [constituents] want is a government and parliamentarians that deliver the goods.”

    In other words representative democracy…at least the part that isn't conservative – is nothing but a time killing nuisance…you say he's from Quebec, he could as easily be from Alberta , with that sort of attitude.

  2. Please, let's get these f*ckers out of power. They sicken me…

  3. With each passing day, it becomes more and more evident that the government benches are filled with bunglers.

    • You are too kind — bunglers is an understatement.

  4. No, bunglers are people who try something and fail repeatedly. Government benches are filled with people who try nothing at all.

  5. So the jury is out about whether its a good thing our mp's are sitting or not?

  6. Has Harper cloned Polievre 145 times?

    • If so, we are 145 horsemen of the apocalypse on our way to a Conservative majority…

    • thanks, I will have nightmares for a week about that image

  7. Was it Steve Blaney I saw on tv with Denis Coderre greeting escapees from the Haitian disaster?

  8. Perhaps you should all have a look at Paul Benoit's column in today's Citizen
    Focus on point 6, with regards to rules on the re-introduction of pre-existing bills. Perhaps ignorance of parliamentary procedure is not so concentrated as this thread would like.

    • From the House of Commons website:

      "In order for government bills to be proceeded with in a new session{following a prorogation}, they must be reintroduced as new bills or they may be reinstated, if the House agrees to this.

      The Standing Orders provide for the automatic reinstatement of all items of Private Members' Business in a new session. Committee work may also be revived either by motion in the House, or in committee, depending upon the nature of the study."

      So no, it is not automatic for government legislation. A motion must pass to allow that to happen. I can't find any similar rules in the Senate. So they may not have any such procedure.

      I found each of this fellow's points equally easy to parse. Not very convincing.

      • If I were running the opposition parties, I would only agree to reinstate the bills if Harper agreed to a) provide all the unredacted documents, and b) commit to having his MP's attend the committee so there will be a quorum.

        That should help make up for lost time.

        • There should certainly be some sort of price…th trick is not looking obstructionist yourself. Nonetheless backbone is called for here.

          • What is obstructionist about demanding something you have already demanded?

  9. “What [constituents] want is a government and parliamentarians that deliver the goods.”

    Roll out the pork barrel, we'll have a pork barrel of fun.

  10. Are you unable to do simple research, or are you out to spread malicious lies? Since the Thirteenth Report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs was adopted in November, 1998, it is automatic that Private Members Bills are reinstated at the stage they were at prior to prorogation.

    • Is that you, Steven Blaney?

      It was linked above, but I guess some people are "unable to so simple research." From House of Commons Procedure and Practice:

      "Bills which have not received Royal Assent before prorogation are 'entirely terminated' and, in order to be proceeded with in the new session, must be reintroduced as if they had never existed."

      • Not so. They can be re-introduced at the same stage provided house assent. This practice has been in effect since the Chrietien era.

        • Only with unanimous consent of the House. And then, there is still at least 6-9 months delay.

          More importantly, most of those bills didn't have unanimous consent in the first place so what makes you think they would get it now?

          Besides, if Stephen Harper didn't care enough to hurry through his own legislation, why should the opposition parties?

  11. What sadly is being done is to confuse the citizens about what is the correct procedures by having mis information delivered either by the PM, ministers, Conservative MP's or paid Conservative people. At the same time as think of all the possible procedural methods that this government can twist and manipulate. If the government was a person, I might suspect that they suffer from anti social personality disorder?

  12. "Our role as parliamentarians isn't to kill time in Ottawa"

    Someone who believes that parliamentarians are "killing time" when they are in Ottawa is self-evidently unfit to serve as a parliamentarian.

    But I appreciate those putting this talking point forward for so identifying themselves, and I look forward to their resignation shortly after the next general election, if not before.

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