No time for debate


While the Liberals complain that the budget implementation act received just four days of House debate at second reading—15 seconds per page, the Liberals figure—two former government House leaders defend the practice of “time allocation.”

“If the opposition is entitled to filibuster, then the government is entitled to un-filibuster,” Boudria said. The second-longest serving House leader in Canadian history, Boudria said the government needs to be able to speed up a bill if the opposition has slowed it down.

His counterpart — who was often the target of the measures Boudria used under Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien — said parliamentary rules that allow the government to end debate are necessary. “Although we railed against their usage at times by Mr. Chrétien and Don Boudria, we recognized even then that in our system of government, if you’re going to actually get something done, you have to be able to use them,” Hill said.

In addition to being a critic of omnibus legislation, the young Stephen Harper was also not particularly a fan of the use of time allocation and closure.


No time for debate

  1. Everyone’s had plenty of time to comment.  I move this topic be closed.

  2. Never did like Boudria, even less the tactics he practised oh so well.

  3. To be fair, though, all those quotes are from the days that Harper was a member of the Reform Party, and that party is long gone.

    I kind of miss the Reform Party, especially the parts of their platform that were aimed at reforming the way Canada does politics.

    • I notice that there are lots of people these days who say they miss the old Reform Party and the old federal Progressive Conservative Party.  Many of these same people never voted for either of those parties.  Which goes some way to explaining why said parties no longer exist and said people miss them.

      • “Many of these same people never voted for either of those parties.”

        Anything non-anecdotal to back that up?  Because otherwise I call BS.  The sum of the PC/Reform vote in the years they both existed hovered around 35-38%, since the merger it’s ranged from 29-39%.  Just based on the numbers, it would appear those who were voting for either Reform or PC were voting Conservative.  (This doesn’t even count voter turnout, which dropped from 70% to 59% from 1993 to 2008, so there may indeed have been Reform/PC voters who did just stay home after the merger, rather than the Tories picking up votes that were not previously one of Reform or PC).

      • …lots of people…

        More these days than 5 days ago, 5 months ago or 5 years ago? Curious, since I’ve noticed fewer lately than 6 months ago or even a bit longer.

        Also, I’d be surprised if the specific reforms that are being alluded to in the Harper quotes (less use of time allocation, etc) played much of a role in stunting the growth of Reform.

  4. There’s a difference between saying the Government should have the right/ability to move it’s agenda forward and saying that the imposition of closure/time allocation on a given item of business is the right thing to do.

    Furthermore, Boudria’s comments seem to envision a situation where the opposition is causing delay simply because they disagree – not a situation where the opposition merely wishes to examine and debate the merits of legislation.

    • The idea of wanting to examine and debate merits of legislation (aka, work at what they’re paid to do) is alien to CPC MPs. Hence why any such action is obviously just to cause delay.

  5. If the limit for fillibustering is 15 seconds per page, that would suggest that Dryden does it every time he stands up.

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