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Should Shelly Glover and James Bezan still be sitting in the House of Commons?

The Speaker’s decision is questioned


 

Sean Kilpatrick/CP

John Geddes reviews the curious cases of Conservative MPs Shelly Glover and James Bezan.

Having reached an impasse, Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand did what the Canada Elections Act says he must. Mayrand wrote to Andrew Scheer, the Speaker of the House, and told him where things stand, pointing out that the act states clearly that Glover and Bezan “may not continue to sit or vote as a member” until they fix their campaign returns.

But Scheer chose not to immediately suspend the two. Instead, taking into account the fact that Glover and Bezan are both challenging Elections Canada’s interpretation of the rules in court, Scheer decided to wait and see what decisions the judges hand down. The Liberals have formally contested Scheer’s right to allow the MPs to keep sitting in the House while the matter is before the courts. Scheer will have to rule on that sometime soon.

In his letter to the Speaker about Mr. Bezan, the chief electoral officer cited Subsection 463(2) of the Elections Act.

(2) An elected candidate who fails to provide a document as required by section 451 or 455 or fails to make a correction as requested under subsection 457(2) or authorized by 458(1) shall not continue to sit or vote as a member until they are provided or made, as the case may be.

That letter was dated May 23, but the matter was not reported publicly until Postmedia’s story on June 4.

Liberal MP Scott Andrews rose in the House on Wednesday on a question of privilege to suggest that neither Mr. Bezan nor Ms. Glover should be sitting in the House and that the question of whether they should be allowed to sit in the House should be put to the House (conceivably the Conservative majority would vote to allow them to remain).

The Speaker’s office says Mr. Scheer will wait for the court proceedings to conclude before taking any action, but questions are now being raised about how he has handled the matter.

Thomas Hall, who worked in the House of Commons for 30 years and was a Commons clerk, was taken aback by Scheer’s behaviour. “I was very surprised that he didn’t inform the House on it … just the fact that it was keeping information from the House that [MPs] were entitled to know.”

Hall cites a precedent in 1966, when an MP had similarly gotten into trouble with the election law. In that case, the Speaker at the time said it was up to the House to decide what should happen to the transgressor and that the Speaker had a role to play in such matters…

Michael Behiels, a professor of Canadian political and constitutional history at the University of Ottawa, says Scheer is wrong to cede authority to the courts. “By being deferential to the courts, the Speaker is undermining the sovereignty of Parliament and his authority as Speaker of the House,” he says.


 

Should Shelly Glover and James Bezan still be sitting in the House of Commons?

  1. No, the fact that they are is an outrage!

    • Do you have both sides of the story?

      Were you equally outraged when Liberal MP’s sat in the House when THEIR disagreements with EC over the rules were before the courts?

      • Yes, how many times do I have to tell you, I don’t like the libs, but I like you even less, f*ck*ng c*nt.

        • But no one tried to force out the Liberal MP’s out of the House then.

          Why the outrage for you now?

          Are you outraged over the double standards being applied by the Liberals?

          Or by EC?

          Ask Wherry what he thinks about it all. He often does lenghty reports on past events. Years, and years Wherry goes back, at times. Of course.

          • Nope because there are no double standards.
            But I am amused that the Conservatives never picked up on the Liberals troubles back then. I wonder why a party in permanent war mode screwed up then?

          • How do you know what I’ve been involved in, against the libs? You just love making stuff up, don’t you? You should seek help.

      • Do you actually read any of the replies that people give you? This has been explained in nutgrinding detail to you earlier in the week and it doesn’t need any partisan BS to explain it.

        Those Liberal MPs and their dispute with EC was over a leadership election not a general election – Internal party thing verses external election.
        The Harper Party never objected to them sitting in the House and voting., surely if there was a problem they would have done?
        The courts told EC to forget about it so they did.

        The Liberals are obviously a bit sharper today, than the Cons were back then and have noticed the situation and are quite rightly pointing out the situation. They are also pointing out the corrupt nature of the Speaker’s actions or inaction.
        Until the court rules these two MPs are in violation of election law and Scheer tried to hide that up.

        • Actually, she doesn’t. And neither do any of the Con shills who comment. It’s frustrating to try to hold a conversation or make valid points which are just ignored. I know how you feel.

  2. What do you expect with an idiotic and uber-partisan speaker? Scheer was too immature, inexperienced, and frankly not bright enough to manage such a job. He is incapable of ruminating and measuring his way through complex decisions and for all I know, has no intention of even trying. If anyone in HoC is in “over his head,” it’s Young Andy Scheer.

  3. Scheer reminds me of a 16 year old refereeing a Beer League hockey game, where his dad plays on one of the teams . . .

  4. I would say that the Speaker has been promoted way above his pay grade and is in way over his head. But given the crooked nature of this government and the self serving and venal attitudes of the Harper Cons I’m not too sure that is the case. Harper has undermined and corrupted every Parliamentary institution in his time in office and this looks like just one more case of that.

    Scheer is just doing what his boss wants him to do and assist in the destruction of Parliament. He’s another bagman ensuring that Harper’s plans face no opposition.

  5. I’m fuzzy on the interplay between courts and the speaker in matters like this, but I think the proper course of action would be to force them to not sit, and then let them appeal THAT order to a court for some sort of stay allowing them to sit, if in fact they are allowed to do so.

      • Credit where credit is due – that was a relevant and interesting point, and I applaud you for it.

    • Exactly right GFMD. But we are apparently living in an upside down Harperland world right now, and Scheer is a puppet or sheep or trained seal or what ever they are called these days. In fact, Glover has just been chosen to sit on the committee choosing the next Supreme Court appointee, so if this case ends up there, she could be appealing her case to some judge that she had a hand in selecting! Don’t you love the insanity of this?

  6. Simple word “No!”

  7. F*** this guy.

  8. The section of the election act quoted does not prevent the two members from doing constituency work, and the Conservatives certainly don’t need these two votes to maintain their majority advantage in the house. Why would Scheer belittle the position of Speaker by sitting on the EC letter? It makes no sense. He could have immediately acknowledged the letter in the House and make a recommendation (either to allow the members to sit pending appeal or to have them recuse themselves until EC determined the matters resolved). It would not have affected the government either way, practically speaking. Sitting on the letter for three weeks implies either incompetence on Scheer’s part or worse, a complete lack of respect for Elections Canada and the laws which govern Elections Canada’s mandate.

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