The state of things -

The state of things

Mark Warawa leaves everyone grasping for meaning


Mark Warawa presented his appeal to the Procedure and House Affairs committee this afternoon. The committee had no questions for him, went in camera to decide the fate of Motion 408 and will table its report with the House tomorrow.

The search is otherwise on for the meaning of all this.

Conservative MP Jay Aspin says Mark Warawa has gone “rogue.”

Conservative MP Jay Aspin criticized Warawa, saying he went “rogue” on the abortion issue, which Harper has vowed not to revisit. “[The] Conservative party has a policy. We had a policy going into the last election, and he failed to adhere to it,” Aspin said after the weekly Conservative caucus meeting.

On the matter of Mr. Warawa’s freedom to give a members’ statement about his motion, Conservative MP Kyle Seeback is supportive.

“A member should be able to make a statement on any issue they think is important to themselves or their constituencies,” said Tory MP Kyle Seeback. “Mr. Warawa’s (member’s statement) should not have been taken away. That’s my personal view.”

Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth says he’s thinking about it.

“Is the right to make a member statement owned by an individual member or is it owned by the whip? I still haven’t quite got there yet,” he told reporters.

Mr. Warawa pledges his full support for the Prime Minister and tries to blame the state of Parliament for the fact that he couldn’t deliver that statement, while also saying he’s not being muzzled.

I think Parliament’s at fault for not permitting this issue to be dealt with earlier and others have suffered by losing that right. I experienced that suffering last Thursday and then when it affected me personally, then I had a responsibility to speak up.

Andrew Coyne considers the ramifications of it all.

This did not begin with Warawa, in short, and it will not end here. The question is whether opposition MPs will join the fray. The shuttering of Warawa’s motion, after all, was an all-party affair: it was his motion this time, but it could be theirs next. There’s a fight worth having, here, but it isn’t Conservatives vs. Opposition, or pro-life vs. pro-choice. It’s for the freedom of all MPs against the dictates of a system that, as in no other democracy, has vested all power in the party leader.

In other news, tonight the House defeated NDP MP Fin Donnelly’s private member’s bill that would have banned the import of shark fins. Kristy Kirkup reports that some Conservatives supported the bill, but that the Prime Minister’s Office pushed for the bill to be defeated.


The state of things

  1. Why does the Prime Minister hate sharks?

    • Competition?

        • Please tell us you are here all week.

          • Whether to eat shark fins or not should be a decision between a woman and her chef. As non-sharks, Parliamentarians shouldn’t be imposing their morality on us.

  2. Coyne got it exactly right.

    • Some of the conservative supporter comments on Coyne’s site where very telling. Warawa should be silienced because:

      1) he signed up as conservative

      2) Martha Findlay got flack for attacking Trudeau

      and most telling

      3) we know what he is going to say and we don’t want him to say it.

      Our Canadian Conservative Party (somewhat like their Republican brethren, want all governance to be at the result level. The idea of elevating a principle above one specific outcome strikes them as ineffective and outdated. As a result, they have had to twist and distort their ideology to the point where it is almost unrecognizable.

    • Exactly…

      “Warawa, you see, is the sponsor of M-408, which calls upon Parliament to
      condemn the practice of sex-selective abortion. That’s all it was: a motion. It
      was not a bill, it did not authorize the government to spend any money, and it
      had not been voted on before. Yet it was ruled out of order, in a brazen bit of
      despotism, by a parliamentary sub-committee. It wasn’t, of course. It merely
      offended against the all-party omerta that descends over anything
      with the word “abortion” in it. The fix, in other words, was in.”

      • Of course, Coyne is clearly and repeatedly on record as wanting to re-open the abortion debate — specifically, Coyne thinks we should have a federal criminal statute on the books dealing with abortion — which we haven’t had since the old law got struck down via the SCC’s Morgentaler decision in 1988.
        So that’s a big part of the reason why Coyne is particularly irritated about this.

  3. When the Reformers were in opposition they mocked the Liberal party saying its MPs were nothing more than trained seals. When they came to power, they set up a Soviet-style information control bureaucracy that muzzled MPs. They were no longer allowed to speak to the press unless getting prior approval from Harper’s Ministry of Truth via a Message Event Proposal. Then they were only allowed to read a scripted message.

    Harper’s implementation of his promise to bring in open, transparent and accountable government can only be described as Orwellian.

  4. I like how the first comment quoted here is about Warawa “going rogue” and failing to adhere to party policy, and the third quote is from a Tory who was allowed to “go rogue” and to table a motion that didn’t adhere to party policy (said motion then being supported by 49% of the Tory caucus, and 27% of the Tory Cabinet).

    • It is an interesting example of Harper being consistent wrt policy. As Wells has pointed out, most of the time when Harper surprises you, you can find that an earlier statement telegraphed what he intended to do. In this case he said abortion was off the table and will go to great lengths to keep his promise.

      (Shorter version: Harper doesn’t have a hidden agenda, his supporters do.)

      • I thought that my comment was illustrative of the opposite of Harper being consistent.

        If abortion being off the table was an important stance, why was Woodworth’s motion allowed to go forward, and why was 49% of the Tory caucus (and 27% of the Cabinet) allowed to vote for it? To my eye, allowing Woodworth’s motion to proceed, and allowing Tories to vote their conscience on it, and then not even letting Warawa complain on the floor of the House about his motion NOT being allowed to proceed is the opposite of consistency.

        • My best guess is that a sweater vest and perhaps some kittens were involved in the former case. It is well documented how soft, mushy and human the PM gets dressed in a sweater vest with kittens about. That said, I am told SH never likes himself in the morning after one of those episodes.

  5. Warawa is a distraction, interesting as the root issue may be.

    Meanwhile Harper made time to meet with pandas from China but wouldn’t meet those who trekked on foot over a vast distance from the north to Ottawa.

    At the same time Harper kills shark fin ban bill to avoid distressing his panda donors.

    Message to Canada’s native peoples: Harper cares more about the Chinese than you.

  6. “Mr. Warawa pledges his full support for the Prime Minister …. ”

    White people go to school
    Where they teach you how to be thick
    An’ everybody’s doing
    Just what they’re told to

    White riot – I wanna riot
    White riot – a riot of my own
    White riot – I wanna riot
    White riot – a riot of my own

    • Can’t beat The Clash