Planted questions

In addition to the questions posed by opposition MPs each afternoon, a few spots are set aside each day for government MPs to ask questions. In theory, Conservative backbenchers might use these opportunities to perform their duty of holding the government to account. Instead they are generally used by the government side to lob friendly requests that ministers stand and expound on the greatness of the government’s efforts in some regard or another.

Yesterday though, the government side abandoned even that pretence and sent up Rob Merrifield to mouth the following on behalf of the people of Yellowhead.

Mr. Speaker, our government is defending Canada’s interests around the world, and why would we not? That is what we were elected to do and that is what Canadians expect us to do. Meanwhile, the NDP consistently tries to undermine Canada’s interests, whether that is in Europe or whether that is in the United States. Would the Minister of Natural Resources update the House on the latest ridiculous NDP anti-trade mission?

The Speaker didn’t intervene and Joe Oliver duly stood and proceeded to complain about the NDP.

By the conventions of Parliament set out in House of Commons Procedure and Practice, members should “ask a question that is within the administrative responsibility of the government or of the individual Minister addressed.” What responsibility Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver has for the NDP is unclear.

A year ago, the Conservatives sent Royal Galipeau up to ask a similar query about a Liberal critic, but Speaker Peter Milliken ruled it out of order. Similarly, Speaker Milliken ruled out of order a Conservative question about what the Liberals thought of a Conservative candidate.




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Planted questions

    • That’s a good analogy by Gardner about the dog who catches the car and doesn’t know what to do with it.

      Conservatives have never made the transition from Opposition to Government, and so they go out of their way to find things to crtiicize and oppose, rather than putting forward and acting on their great ideas.

      • Yes they have, this is just who they are. It’s probably about time everyone recognizes this!

        • I’d bet if the opposition packed it in and went home for good the cons would happily fill the opposition’s role for a while by lobbing puff balls at the govt. But after a while they’d revert to form and start in on the govt as visiously and with as much enthusiasm as they do the present opposition parties.

          The old parable of the frog and the scorpion come to mind…poor dears can’t help it…it is in their natures.

      • It was Tim Harper from The Star who made the “dog catching the car” analogy.  Gardner is even more cutting in his critique.

  1. this is what bullies do: they beat you up, then make fun of you as you lay on the ground, then boast about it to everyone, then spread rumors.

    there is only one thing to do with a bully: and it is not a stern talking to. bullies need bashed

  2. Curious, did anyone raise this on a point of order after QP?

    Reading O’Brien and Bosc, it states that QP questions must not (among many other things):
    - ask a question that is within the administrative responsibility of the government or of the individual Minister addressed
    - seek an opinion, either legal or otherwise
    - reflect on the character or conduct of Chair Occupants, members of the House and of the Senate or members of the judiciary

    Given the House is such a stickler for some other criteria (e.g. cannot ask a question from a constituent), it is amazing how much is let go that in my opinion violates the criteria I listed above.

    • Makes one question the Speaker’s integrity.

  3. It was bad enough when the backbench questions were: ‘This government is awesome. Can you tell the House just how awesome this government truly is?’ They’ve been wasting time with those questions long before the Conservatives arrived on the government side. Now it’s, ‘This government is awesome and the opposition members are a collection of seditious scumbags. Can you tell the House just how seditious and scummy they are?’

    Hopefully the speaker will do what he can to reverse this trend.

  4. So the Speaker has no integrity and is just a puppet for the sith himself. Good, I hope the opposition just ignores the idiot from now on. Would love to see someone just tell him to GFY if he tries to intervene again.

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