Any time a government wants to infuriate its opposition in a democratic chamber, that government should limit debate on a controversial bill. Yesterday, as the House of Commons debated the Fair Elections Act, a bill meant to make some changes to Canada’s election law, the government moved a time allocation motion that would limit the amount of debate on the bill to whatever duration the Conservatives so desire. Aaron Wherry has the details. The NDP attempted to delay the motion’s passage, even attempting the classic vote-very-slowly technique.
Today, the House will inevitably continue a debate about the debate. The NDP will accuse the government of curtailing parliamentary scrutiny of a bill riddled with problems. They’ll also accuse the governing party of doing more to suppress voting than encourage voting. They’ll recall robocalls allegations. For its part, the government will suggest, somewhat bizarrely, that the Official Opposition simply won’t accept the result of the last election. The bickering may, if everyone at home is lucky, occasionally debate the reform bill itself.
Electoral reform is far from the opposition’s only concern this afternoon. A spate of proposed changes to the Citizenship Act, trumpeted by the Tories as the first comprehensive reform since 1977, will earn the ire of the opposition. If there’s a middle-class frame to the citizenship debate, expect the Liberals to pursue it with vigour.
Maclean’s is your home for the daily political theatre that is Question Period, when MPs trade barbs and take names for 45 minutes every day. If you’ve never watched, check out our primer, which we produced with J-Source. Today, QP runs from 2:15 p.m. until just past 3. We tell you who to watch, we stream it live, and we liveblog all the action. The whole thing only matters if you participate. Chime in on Twitter with #QP.
Pierre Poilievre will continue to deflect opposition concerns about election law reform. Immigration Minister Chris Alexander will take his turn in the sun when the opposition zeroes in on citizenship reform.
Thursday, February 6, 2014