The Backbench Spring: Brent Rathgeber on Justin Trudeau's gambit -

The Backbench Spring: Brent Rathgeber on Justin Trudeau’s gambit

A lukewarm reception from a government backbencher


The Conservative MP blogs on members’ statements and the Liberal motion.

This wording, if accurate, imports the word “Party” previously absent from the Standing Order; importing the concept of Party seems to run contrary to the stated intent of the Motion, to remove the control and vetting of SO 31s from the Parties. More troubling, the draft seems to infer (or at least is open to the interpretation of) equality of parties.  It appears the proposed rotation would be on a Party basis, meaning that all Parties would have equal, not proportional, slots.  That would certainly advantage parties with smaller caucuses, whereas the current system appropriately distributes spots proportionally to the size of the caucus.  Mathematically, the 8 Independents would similarly get 25% of the rotation; accordingly each would get to deliver a Member’s Statement approximately every other day.

The awkward wording aside, it is also unclear that the Motion is well intentioned.  It has been suggested that its entire purpose is to “wedge” Members such as myself, who have been vocal in favour of Parliamentary Reform, to vote in favour of the Motion, possibly against the wishes of our Leadership. Regardless, the whole Motion could be pre-empted and deemed moot by a positive ruling from the Speaker.  I have argued in the House that the current Standing Order 31 is actually quite clear and as written, does not support Party or Whip vetting.  If the Speaker so rules and provides appropriate direction, that would be a preferable outcome to amending the Standing Order unnecessarily and especially using unclear wordage that denotes equality of Parties rather than equality of Members.


The Backbench Spring: Brent Rathgeber on Justin Trudeau’s gambit

  1. It’s a little disapointing that Rathgeber zeros in right away on the political aspect of the motion. Rather than simply suggesting the libs amend it, if in fact it is too proportionally slanted. I guess he’s not above playing politics also.
    It’s also disappointing [if true] that JT’s first motion stresses politics over non partisanship to the degree that the dissenters wouldn’t support it. Embarrassing Harper is good if you’re a Liberal, but the wider good shouldn’t take second place if it is to succeed either. And the political payoff is still there for JT…pity.

    • JT needs to learn how to reason before stepping up to the plate! Mr.Rathberger in this case is in fact standing above party politics. That keeps in tune with his original intent. Good for him!

  2. He’s right about the Speaker being able to rule and provide direction to allocate SO31’s more reasonably. He’s wrong if he thinks Scheer will make such a ruling.

    • How do you know? Do you have a crystal ball?

      • Look! No breach of priveledge. He whispers in one ear “members are free to stand up” while the whip whispers in the other ear “don’t you dare!”. My crystal ball is awesome!

  3. “The awkward wording aside, it is also unclear that the Motion is well intentioned.”

    Whereas Warawa’s Motion is?

    While I happen to agree with any initiative to empower backbenchers of all parties, it’s not clear that Warawa’s intent is do just that, or whether he’s merely introducing a Trojan horse with anti-abortion forces inside.

  4. A good day for democracy all around. Mr.Page’s appeal to the courts turned down and now Mr.Rathberger giving an accurate account of what how his original intent has been overshadowed by Liberal partisan politics.

    Back to the drawing board, Mr.Trueau!

  5. That’s just astonishing spin right there.

    There are precisely TWO references to the word party in the motion, neither of which REMOTELY suggests that parties will get an equal number of statements, as opposed to one statement per MP. One is a reference to the fact that MPs will be called upon alphabetically by party, and another just says that MPs who are not members of an official party will be grouped together to be called alphabetically. How on EARTH is that interpreted in any way to mean that the 8 independent MPs will get 25% of the speaking slots???

    Does Rathgeber not understand what ALPHABETICALLY means???

  6. Rathgeber’s trying hard to find an accuse to vote against it. Pretty sad.

  7. Harper’s best bet is to negotiate with his backbenchers and begin allowing them to speak – and say things that Trudeau doesn’t want to hear. That’s a good way to get him off balance and possibly make him either reconsider passing this bill. If he decides to go for the bill anyway, Harper could vote for it, and shock the libs. Or Trudeau can back down. Either way, Harper’s checkmated him.