NDP MPs pose with a pile of paper, for democracy - Macleans.ca

NDP MPs pose with a pile of paper, for democracy

NDP MPs pose with a stack of paper to protest the government’s use of time allocation to limit debate in the House of Commons

CP/Adrian Wyld

CP/Adrian Wyld

Yesterday, for the 100th time in this Parliament, an end was imposed on a debate in the House of Commons. NDP MPs marked the occasion with a large stack of paper—apparently a pile constructed of every bill for which debate has been somehow constrained.

While it might be generally agreed that the debate of each measure and issue that comes before the House must be concluded at some point, there is inevitably bound to be disagreement about what constitutes an appropriate amount of discussion. As I wrote a year ago, in previous parliaments this was often settled via negotiation between the parties in the House, but mutual agreement has now been replaced entirely by government imposition. The government claims it is moving things along while still allowing plenty of time for debate. The opposition parties, particularly the NDP, claim the government is trampling our parliamentary democracy. The Conservatives and the Liberals have suggested the NDP is unco-operative in reaching agreement. The New Democrats put the blame entirely on the Conservatives.

Whatever has been happening in the weekly meetings of House leaders and however we got to the point of the routine use of guillotine motions in the House of Commons, it has resulted in a profound waste of time. Each motion of time allocation, the measure most often used by the government to curtail debate, is accompanied by a 30-minute debate and then a recorded vote. As a result, the 41st Parliament has spent something like 90 hours—roughly the equivalent of 10 full sitting days—debating and voting on how much time to spend debating. That is perhaps the epitome of dysfunction.

All of which at least resulted yesterday in the mildly entertaining spectacle of NDP MPs posing with a large stack of paper. After NDP House leader Peter Julian had spoken beside the stack in a news conference outside the House, the pile was apparently wheeled into the opposition lobby. Props are banned in the House of Commons, but social media remains blessedly unconstrained. And so began the tweets, compiled here for posterity and for the purposes of deciding who posed best (personally, I think Robert Aubin did the best job of projecting outrage—it’s all in the eyes).


NDP MPs pose with a pile of paper, for democracy

  1. Better to use social media this way, I suppose, than to repost ISIS images and ask for money. At least these guys are trying to make a point.

    • Yah, like the dippers wouldn’t introduce Omni bus bills either, what planet are you from, it’s just they wouldn’t be able to use that much paper to do it, because every policy the dippers have now, was stolen from years of liberal ideas, they even want to reintroduce the gun registry, another boondoggle. Time for the media to lift the hood on the real dipper policies, 3 words for the dipper policies, spend, spend, and spend, sorry 4 words.

  2. Smart move by the NDP and a good way to make a point without being slanderous or partisan. There are reasons why more Canadians are considering the NDP as a legitimate alt to the two party revolving Liberal and Conservative door (remind anyone of the 43 year Tory in Alberta). Change will come.

    • Mulcair not being slanderous and partisan, that’s all he does is go around like the cock of the walk and slander parliamentary institutions at will, because he has no control over them, can you imagine what he would do to our institutions, if he was elected, he would be just like Harper. Is Tom going to slander the criminal courts as Kangaroo courts like he did with the BOIE over his funneling of 2.7 mill belong to the taxpayers. We have a guy in power now who loaded the SCC with his own appointments, and what does he want to do now, abolish appointed judges, and have them elected because they have only over ruled him for the last 20 or so times, how stupid is that, just look at the mess the US are in with elected judges, jails full of innocent people because some judge want to get reelected, play the old populist game. Will Tom go after the SCC if it doesn’t agree with him, you bet he would. He is too erratic for me, a loose cannon. I also thought this author was Mr. Democracy, he used to rant all the time the way Harper was running our democracy, I guess he too has fallen under the spell of populism by Tom Mulcair and the dippers.

  3. Mulcair the most trusted leader today in Canada- he is the genuine article i.e. Canadian (what it is to be Canadian). the late James Travers (lauded by Harper) said that the Conservatives took offensive behaviour/ into to its highest level (e.g.. in the Ethics Committee chaired by Liberal Paul Szabo a few years back) in Canadian politics. Alexanders outburst in the last day against McCullum illustrates the above and we know that there has been racist statements by the Conservative party in the last few months and I would include the Prime Minister.

    • If the Tom and the dippers want to be the crusaders of democracy, stop assaulting it, with telling the electorate that he wants open the constitution, and stop this pandering to whats popular, bumper sticker politics usually ends in a car wreck, and start telling us what they are going to do about getting Canadians back to work or help making the ground fertile enough to create jobs, instead the dippers do the same thing as the cons, they attack what doesn’t agree with them. That’s all I see Tom doing is re announcing the same policies now as he did before the oil prices dropped, hoping oil will increase and spending money he hasn’t or can’t even account for. They should also pay back the 2.7 million dollars they used to funnel to outpost satellite offices, and stop this self righteous and pious attitudes. The dippers are starting to become more of whiny and trite party. The MSM are just as bad by overlooking this 2.7 mill with the attitude, well the other parties do it, why shouldn’t the dippers? Well that’s not an excuse nor reason. If Trudeau robbed this 2.7 million, the media would all over him like dung flung on a blanket. Tom Mulcair is a fake, he has as much authenticity as Jekyll and Hyde, same as Harper.