NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Prime Minister Stephen Harper had already exchanged words about Senate reform in Question Period. Mulcair asked a supplementary about human rights in Sri Lanka, but preempted it with another jab at Harper on the Senate. Harper responded to the Senate charge first, before he addressed Sri Lanka.
Mulcair: Mr. Speaker, that is rich coming from a party that used unelected senators to overturn Jack Layton’s climate change bill duly enacted by the Parliament of Canada. In 2009 the international community failed spectacularly to prevent atrocities committed against Tamil civilians in the final months of the Sri Lankan civil war. The government of Sri Lanka has refused to accept accountability for these events ever since. If no investigation occurs as being asked for right now in the United Nations, will the Prime Minister commit to stay away from the upcoming Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Colombo?
Harper: Mr. Speaker, let us be clear. It is this party that is trying to get the Senate elected; it is that party which is resisting Senate elections. We all know why. It is not because of abolition because those members have never actually seriously proposed it. It is because we know, as we knew during the 2008-09 coalition exercise, they want to appoint their own senators. That is why. In terms of the question on Sri Lanka, as the House knows, I have indicated that unless changes occur in Sri Lanka I will not be attending the Commonwealth summit there. I am concerned with further developments since I made that statement which are taking that country in a worse direction.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013