Just deliver, don’t debate

by Aaron Wherry

Peter Van Loan responds to complaints about the Harper government’s moves to limit debate in the House.

Mr. Van Loan said the issues on the legislative agenda this fall have been discussed in detail over the past five or six years since Mr. Harper’s Conservatives first took office, albeit as a minority government. “These are issues that have been debated at length in elections, and issues on which we made commitments to Canadians in the last election,” he said. “They responded to those commitments by giving us a majority and asking us to deliver on those commitments.”

Mr. Van Loan said his approach has been to move quickly with time allocation so that it is clear to everyone how much time will be available for debate, allowing parties and MPs to plan their discussion. “Most people in their workplace do not debate an issue for four days before they decide what to do,” he said. “They debate it and they make a decision. It is enough time in this case to make a very clear decision on an important question.”




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Just deliver, don’t debate

  1. This is step one.  Step two is to skip the debate entirely, and just call the MPs together to vote on the foregone conclusion.  Step three will be to have the MPs stay home and vote electronically.  step four will be to have the PMO’s office submit all the CPC votes directly.

    It’s all in the plan.

  2. And Canadians have just elected members, in many cases new members, who are now denied the opportunity to debate these issues. 

  3.  “Most people in their workplace do not debate an issue for four days before they decide what to do,” he said. “They debate it and they make a decision. It is enough time in this case to make a very clear decision on an important question.”

    Does Vanloan know what a parliament is for? Still, it says something about the orientation of this govt – democracy is not only messy, it is inefficient.

  4. I’m worried about what this government will do in the remaining years of its mandate, after it railroads its longstanding agenda items thorough the House in a matter of months. Afterward, they’ll have about three years to kill before going back to the polls. They could do a lot of damage with that much time on their hands.

  5. Hmmm, where to start…

    Debate:  I’ve only actually seen a handful of true public debates over my lifetime – they were awesome to witness, since the debaters actually responded to the points/questions of their opponents, the debaters were engaged, passionate yet very respectful, and I often found many of the points from both sides to be very persuasive.  What Van Loan calls debate doesn’t actually qualify as debate by any of those criteria.

    Decisions:  I’ll have to do some research wrt Van Loan’s business experience, because it certainly doesn’t jive with what I’ve seen in business over the last 30 years or so.

    Mandate:  Van Loan makes the common mistake of confusing a clear mandate to govern (which the CPC does have) with explicit approval for and/or agreement with each and every policy proposal.

  6. While this is bad, the real test will be after Harper prorogues once all this ‘housekeeping’ is done and begins moving ahead with ‘new’ priorities — issues that haven’t been on the radar screen like the gun registry, etc. I wonder how often closure will be invoked then. That’s what really worries me.

  7. “Most people in their workplace do not debate an issue for four
    days before they decide what to do,” he said. “They debate it and they
    make a decision. It is enough time in this case to make a very clear
    decision on an important question.”

    Most people in their workplace do not vote on what to do.  When was the last time management held a vote before making a decision where you work?  Seems to me as though if the Tories want to make Parliament REALLY efficient they’ll eliminate the hassle of having the House of Commons vote on everything.

    • And I quote: “Why not blow up the parliament buildings? It’s clear they’re of no use anymore.”

  8. And I quote: “Why not blow up the parliament buildings? It’s clear they’re of no use anymore.”

  9. Take a listen to some of the most useless annoying screaming in the HOC in recent memory from Ashton and Easter about the elimination of the Wheat Board and you will see why people are sick of the constant repetetive b!tchfest Parliament has become.

    • Does the period 1993 – 2005 count as recent memory?  Because I seem to recall a lot of complaining by the likes of Harper on a lot of policies voted on in those years.  Heck, they are still complaining about the NEP even though its long gone. 

      • The early part of the period between 1993-2005 was a time when the likes of Harper were convincing the governing Liberal Party that low spending and reduction of debt was the poilcies that would ensure the long term stability that Canada now feels.

        The latter part of that period was a time when the likes of Harper was convincing Canadians that a corrupt Liberal Party was unfit to govern.

        I am much too young to remember whether there was even any Parliamentary debates about the NEP, however from what I remember I believe the NEP was pushed through parliament in the early eighties by the Trudeau government as part of the Budget process.
        No debate–just the new law—good-bye Liberal Party in Western Canada. That Trudeau guy was the first to begin the process of destroying the Liberals. I suspect his son will finish the job in about 7 years.

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