Stephen Harper, this is your life

by Aaron Wherry

The Liberals have decided they will indeed use their opposition day tomorrow to consider Stephen Harper’s previous views on omnibus legislation and whether the House Affairs committee should consider reform.




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Stephen Harper, this is your life

  1. Abortion, buttsecks, and divorce were all legalizedliberalized via omnibus bills, which are a common and legitimate tool of government in Canada when confronted by an obstructionist opposition; to suggest they are not betrays a profound ignorance of Canadian history and politics.

    But don’t take my word for it, just watch this video entitled “John Turner: In Defence of the Omnibus Bill” featuring (and I do have to explain this, sadly) former Liberal Prime Minister John Turner: http://www.cbc.ca/archives/categories/politics/prime-ministers/the-long-run-the-political-rise-of-john-turner/in-defence-of-the-omnibus-bill.html

    Have a pleasant afternoon, all.

    • Take it up with Harper.

    • The poster unwittingly mentions a reasonable point – much like pro-roguing, it is not necessarily the tool that is the problem, so much as the craven hand which wields it.

      • Agreed….an omnibus bill, like proroguing, has it’s uses. When the bill has a lot of items already agreed to, or in effect….it solves a problem and saves time. It’s not meant to change a lot of things that no one has discussed much less agreed to.

        Proroguing is usually done at the end of a session…..only Harper used it to prevent a known non-confidence vote.

      • The tool using the tool, as it were.

      • Exactly. So when Liberals prorogue or bring in an omnibus bill, it’s part of the overall advancement of all things progressive. So it’s a good thing. When Conservatives prorogue or bring in an omnibus bill, it’s part of the insidious, evil neo-con agenda. So it’s a bad thing.

        • You’re missing the point. Can you honestly say that the size, scope and incoherence of omnibus bills hasn’t got progressively worse over time? How can anyone who isn’t a part of the govt defend this last one? At the very least it could have been cut into segments that corresponded to the relevant committees – they could still have put a reasonable time limit on debate.
          You seem to be buying the govts line without any forethought, that the opposition only wants to gum up the works. If they were operating in good faith they could have worked around that by appealing to those of good faith within the opposition – or are you also buying VL’s ludicrous assertion that there aren’t any of those to be found? Yours appears to be an awfully cynical view. 70 laws changed and or repealed, debate limited to generalities and before a sub committee heavily slanted toward finance, and not, as far as i know, a single amendment accepted, perhaps even considered. Proud of that are you?

          • Pssst. You’re kind of preaching to the converted.

          • I often find that to be the case when I go over 50-60 words or so. Either that or I’m preaching to the utterly lost cause.

          • “You’re missing the point. Can you honestly say that the size, scope and incoherence of omnibus bills hasn’t got progressively worse over time? ”

            But that, er, isn’t the point, or factually accurate. 40 years ago we didn’t post the entire omnibus bill on the internet in W3C Level II Accessibility format for all 34 million Canadians to read for weeks before it went to a vote. A 400 page omnibus bill posted for 6 weeks, that’s 10 pages a week to read, hardly onerous.

            If you think omnibii have become larger in size and scope you are invited to post data to that effect in lieu of just flinging guesses about. There is a science to politics and these things can be quantified.

            “How can anyone who isn’t a part of the govt defend this last one? ”

            It contained a lot of good legislation: democratized enviro process, streamlined it to protect EAs from being highjacked, repealed Not-So-Fair Wages Act which enriched few at expense of many, it brought merit instead of quotas to government contracting and procurment, and that’s just off the top of my head. I read the damned thing, you clearly did not.

            The opposition is obstructionist and Harper had a hard enough time passing what he passed in omnibus form – cutting an omnibus bill up into pieces accomplishes nothing but delay, and democracy delayed is democracy denied.

          • @twitter-219007676:disqus unwittingly touched on the real problem with the omnibus bill: not the sheer number of pages, but its vast scope, most of which was not debated in Parliament.

            Whether or not you appreciate all the changes made to dozens of pieces of legislation in this bill, it’s undemocratic to make those changes in this manner.

            Read this: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/06/18/partial-list-of-omnibus-b_n_1607029.html There’s no editorial, it’s just a (partial) list of legislative changes stuffed into the omnibus bill.

            Again, whether you agree with the changes or not, many of these are significant enough to deserve a debate in the House.

          • I hope you have a megaphone. Neil isn’t just tone deaf, he’s stone deaf.

          • You’re joking right! Even you must get there’s a distinction between a 400 page omnibus bill that we can all see but not touch or amend.That is the point.
            I did post at least a basic comparison between Trudeau’s justice bill[ all items related to justice], and the latest abomination, which is all over the place, a hodgepodge veering schizophrenically from changes to CSIS oversight to a gutting of environmental laws and regulations, all carried out without any appropriate or meaningful opportunity to question or amend before the appropriate committee – see any differences or distinctions?
            As you say, it’s off the top of your head – enough said.I get that you don’t get democracy.
            “Democracy delayed is democracy denied”…oh boy they didn’t have force you to chug the koolaid did they? Try engaging your whole brain and more than one eye when pretending to analyse serious stuff.

          • Get it Neil. Reading a 400 page + bill in 6 weeks = democracy. I knew i shouldn’t have challenged your take on it,

          • “Can you honestly say that the size, scope and incoherence of omnibus bills hasn’t got progressively worse over time? ”

            Um, there’s an easy question. Yes. Unquestionably, yes, it has NOT gotten worse. Next question.

            Now, whether they’re good or bad, those omnibus bills, that’s another question. Personally I think there’s nothing wrong with them whatsoever.

          • Well i guess that’s the partisan’s perspective. I was hoping for someone with their eyes open.

            and i didn’t say they should be banned, they’re just being abused, which is part and parcel of the Harper style by now.

          • You’ve got it backwards. You are the partisan because you deride something done today that has always been done, in ways no different than today, simply because of who is doing it.
            You are an extreme partisan because you utter falsehoods while doing so.

          • The “in ways no different from today” is where your argument fails.

          • Ok and you just confirmed you aren’t one. Come back with some facts that make your point and i might consider your comment to be something more than nyah nayah nayah na nyah ya…mewling from an infant.

          • I don’t care what you consider my comment to be, and it is truly bizarre that you would have the egotism to think otherwise.

          • I’ll try to remember that the next time you don’t express an opinion on other comments here.

          • good for you

          • That of course is a two way street, my dear.

        • I think McGuinty’s prorogue is as bad Harper’s.
          *This is in response to Bean

      • Sort of like yourself and an internet connection.

    • Says nothing like that

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criminal_Law_Amendment_Act,_1968-69

      Even a casual perusal of this as opposed to this: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/06/18/partial-list-of-omnibus-b_n_1607029.html …ought to provide a clue as to why what went on in yesteryear is NOT the same as what goes on now. Far from it. It might even be argued that Trudeau abused the process also, but it is perfectly clear bill 150 was a reform bill from end to end, not a lets get our whole agenda through Parliament in one fell swoop.

    • Canada’s abortion law was struck down years ago as unconstitutional by the SCC and we currently have no laws governing abortion. If indeed the previous law was part of an omnibus bill, you are going quite a way back to get your example.

      As for the history of omnibus bills, just because past governments have used them doesn’t mean we should continue to do so. And it certainly doesn’t mean that a PM who was so opposed to them in the past should not be questioned on why he now sets new records for the size and amount of content he is jamming into his own omnibus bills. Harper is always happy to jump on (or lie about) others’ hypocrisy, so he should expect the same in return.

    • Curiosity based question, no sarcasm intended…

      Under what types of conditions would you consider the use of an omnibus bill to be illegitimate?

  2. I suspect the Liberals overestimate the amount CPC will let reality intrude on their political inclinations.

  3. Exactly how has this continued obsession with non-economic issues helped the Liberals over the last six year?

    People care about jobs, not omnibus bills, omnibus bills which have been abused by Liberals for generations.

    Mulcair seems to know better, and knows he has to stay mostly on the economic front, even if he is wrong about everything.

    Inside baseball has taken the Liberals to 3rd place on the way to oblivion.

    • Another relativist, who thinks the liberals being half bad circa 1970 = the CPC being all bad circa 2012.
      People don’t appear to care about all kinds of things.I suspect that a fair percentage of the pop could be persuaded to give up their right to the presumption of innocence too, for the sake of a more efficient and effective justice system. When in your humble opinion should people ever get upset about abuse of process?

      • Harper is now working on us accepting the eating of tainted beef – hey, only a few people got sick, nobody died.

        • Yes, Harper is so evil, he wants us all to eat tainted meat and die.
          I’m not making this up.

          • Are you sure he’s evil? He might just have a kind of weird sense of humour.

          • I’m now cooking prime rib by marinating it in hand sanitizer and boiling it for 3 hours.

    • Ah – it’s Harper who can’t stop talking about carbon. Positively obsessed he is. Perhaps you could have a word with him. Friends, don’t let friends, make fools of themselves.

  4. VIEW IN CLEAN READING MODE »
    WHAT IS THIS ?

    Courtesy of Parliament’s indispensable website, here is a list of budget implementation acts going back to 1994. Below, those 22 24
    bills listed chronologically with page counts (the electronic database
    does not include the first-reading versions of the first three).

    C-17, 1994. 24 pages at Royal Assent.

    C-76, 1995. 49 pages at Royal Assent.

    C-31, 1996. 56 pages at Royal Assent

    C-93, 1997. 117 pages at First Reading. 61 pages at Royal Assent.

    C-36, 1998. 144 pages at First Reading. 92 pages at Royal Assent.

    C-71, 1999. 60 pages at First Reading. 32 pages at Royal Assent.

    C-32, 2000. 64 pages at First Reading. 35 pages at Royal Assent.

    C-49, 2001. 124 pages at First Reading. 124 pages at Royal Assent.

    C-28, 2003. 272 pages at First Reading. 144 pages at Royal Assent.

    C-30, 2004. 122 pages at First Reading. 64 pages at Royal Assent.

    C-33. 2004. 82 pages at First Reading. 82 pages at Royal Assent.

    C-43, 2005. 128 pages at First Reading. 120 pages at Royal Assent.

    C-13, 2006. 198 pages at First Reading. 198 pages at Royal Assent.

    C-28, 2006. 138 pages at First Reading. 140 pages at Royal Assent.

    C-52, 2007. 148 pages at First Reading. 146 pages at Royal Assent.

    C-28, 2007. 390 pages at First Reading. 378 pages at Royal Assent.

    C-50, 2008. 152 pages at First Reading. 152 pages at Royal Assent.

    C-10, 2009. 551 pages at First Reading. 552 pages at Royal Assent.

    C-51, 2009. 60 pages at First Reading. 60 pages at Royal Assent.

    C-9, 2010. 904 pages at First Reading. 904 pages at Royal Assent.

    C-47, 2010. 152 pages at First Reading. 152 pages at Royal Assent.

    C-3, 2011. 58 pages at First Reading. 58 pages at Royal Assent.

    C-13, 2011. 658 pages at First Reading. 658 pages at Royal Assent.

    C-38, 2012. 452 pages at First Reading.

    Well, Neil i apologize. Evidently SH is finally getting a handle on the size of his budget bills. Now, if only he could get a handle on the meaning of real debate, debate that among reasonable men and women often results in odd little compromises called amendments.

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