On the occasion of the government’s decision to limit debate on its omnibus crime legislation, astute commenter Thwim digs up a point of order raised by a young Stephen Harper in response to an omnibus bill proposed by the Liberal government of the day in 1994.
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.
Mr. Harper’s ancient lament has something in common with the NDP’s current desire to split the crime bill and expedite certain parts of it.
The young Reform MP was arguing, in that case, against a bill that included entirely unrelated measures. And while it could be argued that the crime bill at least groups legislation from one genre, Mr. Harper’s concerns could be applied quite directly to legislation like the 2010 budget bill.