The New Democrats have announced that they’ll use an opposition day on Monday to put the following motion before the House.
That it be an instruction to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs that, during its consideration of Bill C-23, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, the Committee shall: a) hear witnesses from, but not limited to, Elections Canada, political parties as defined under the Canada Elections Act, the Minister of State who introduced the bill, representatives of First Nations, anti-poverty groups, groups representing persons with disabilities, groups representing youth advocates and students, as well as specific groups which have been active in society on elections rules; b) have the power to travel to all regions of Canada, (Atlantic Canada, Quebec, Ontario, Northern Ontario, the Prairies, British Columbia and the North), including downtown urban settings, rural and remote settings, and that the Committee request that this travel take place in March and April 2014; and c) only proceed to clause-by-clause consideration of the Bill after these hearings have been completed, with a goal to commence clause-by-clause consideration on Thursday, May 1, 2014.
This motion largely repeats the motion that NDP MP David Christopherson has tabled with the Procedure and House Affairs committee. And the Conservatives’ unwillingness to go along with said motion is the reason for both Mr. Christopherson’s filibuster of that committee and the NDP’s move to block all committee travel.
Regardless of whether the Conservative motion passes, the NDP would at least force another day of debate in the House with this motion (and of course, if the motion is defeated, New Democrats would have another chance to moan about an opportunity to hear from Canadians has again been blocked.)