Ending debate


The government announced after QP yesterday that it was tired of talking about it’s crime legislation and has since invoked closure to limit debate.

NDP House Leader Thomas Mulcair said the Official Opposition would offer to split the bill, allowing quick passage of the measures that have broad support and permitting time for debate on those items that remain contentious.

“Here we’re dealing with an important bill in the area of crime,” Mr. Mulcair said at a morning new conference. “It’s a bill where we haven’t been given an real estimate of the costs to the provinces.” The Conservatives, he said, “are trying to shove this down the throats of Parliamentarians. There will be no full debate on this bill of on its costing.”

The projected cost of one crime bill continues to increase.


Ending debate

  1. Omnibus bills
    Limited debate

     What would opposition Harper have thought of these tactics?

    • He would have been secretly, gleefully rubbing his hands together and giggling, “Oh, Boy! Wait till I’m in charge!”

    • Let’s see, shall we?

      “Mr. Speaker, I am rising on a point of order to make a procedural argument concerning the omnibus nature of this piece of legislation.This is a new Parliament which I think has been working reasonably well in spite of our recent difficulties. I really would like to call the attention of the Chair to the nature of this particular bill and to urge the Chair to re-examine a practice we have fallen into.

      The particular bill before us, Bill C-17, is of an omnibus nature. I put it to you, Mr. Speaker, that you should rule it out of order and it should not be considered by the House in the form in which it has been presented. I would hope that in making your decision on the acceptability of Bill C-17 in its present form you will refer to the famous ruling by Mr. Lamoureux of January 26, 1971 in which he said:

      However, where do we stop? Where is the point of no return? The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre, and I believe the hon. member for Edmonton West, said that we might reach a point where we would have only one bill, a bill at the start of the session for the improvement of the quality of the life in Canada which would include every single proposed piece of legislation for the session. That would be an omnibus bill with a capital O and a capital B . But would it be acceptable legislation? There must be a point where we can go beyond what is acceptable from a strictly parliamentary standpoint.  …

      Mr. Speaker, I would argue that the subject matter of the bill is so diverse that a single vote on the content would put members in conflict with their own principles.In this present case, the drafters of Bill C-17 have incorporated in the same bill the following measures: public sector compensation freezes; a freeze in Canada assistance plan payments and Public Utilities Income Tax Transfer Act transfers; extension and deepening of transportation subsidies; authorization for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to borrow money; and changes to unemployment insurance with respect to benefits and the payroll taxes.

      First, there is a lack of relevancy of these issues. The omnibus bills we have before us attempt to amend several different existing laws.

      Second, in the interest of democracy I ask: How can members represent their constituents on these various areas when they are forced to vote in a block on such legislation and on such concerns? We can agree with some of the measures but oppose others. How do we express our views and the views of our constituents when the matters are so diverse? Dividing the bill into several components would allow members to represent views of their constituents on each of the different components in the bill. The bill contains many distinct proposals and principles and asking members to provide simple answers to such complex questions is in contradiction to the conventions and practices of the House.”

      –Stephen Harper

      • Well played Thwim.

    • The crime rate has been steadily decreasing for 20 years now. 

      • Don’t worry, with Harper on the case we should be able to turn that around by the next election.

  2. Someone please give Mulcair a copy of the G&M article.

    “Correctional Services Canada’s overall budget for the current fiscal year of 2011-12 is projected to be $514.2-million, or 20.8 per cent, higher than the year before. The main reason for this is $458-million in new spending tied to the Truth in Sentencing Act. Should that figure hold over five years, the five-year cost would be $2.3-billion, $300-million higher that Mr. Toews’s estimate but significantly lower that Mr. Page’s.

    However the PBO report also highlights new federal government reports that had so far received very little attention. With little fanfare on Aug. 29, federal departments released reports breaking down their spending over the first quarter of the fiscal year. This has never been done before and provides new detail as to where government departments are spending and where they are cutting back.

    The Corrections report is particularly candid in its assessment of the impact of the government’s tough on crime measures.”

    • If only the Conservative government had some kind of a forum where they could publicly state the actual costs to bypass the media filter…some sort or public forum, that broadcast live on television and the internet…

      • Lol – good one MC.

        My point is that as far as costs go, we now have a PBO which did not exist when the liberals held power and did the ‘closure’ thingy all the time because they could.

        Also, from what these estimates are saying, the actual costs will be somewhere in the middle.  CSC has stated several times the difficulty of estimating costs as so many factors are involved.  How many current prisoners would have gotten a parol with the faint hope clause?  How many prisoners currently held for trial will stop slowing down the process in order to get double or triple credit for time served?  

        • Then you’d also have to consider how many crown prosecutors will let a trial languish because they aren’t concerned about double credit for time served. It’s expensive to keep people in remand, too, and that creates provincial costs.

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