The House of Commons gets its back up

Rajotte, Rae and Trost on the concerns of Mark Warawa

Conservative MP James Rajotte, asked after QP today whether Mark Warawa should have been able to give his statement to the House last Thursday.

I think members should be able to give the statements they want to give in the House, yes.

Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae, speaking to reporters after QP.

I think that members should be freer to talk and should be freer to present their point of view but, you know, we’re dealing with a control freak government. I mean we’re dealing with a government that announces programs and then says now that we’ve announced the program we’ll start to discuss it with the provinces. I mean it’s the same philosophy that you see all the way through. So I don’t know, maybe if the members who are unhappy dressed up like pandas, the Prime Minister would pay them some attention … All I know is that I’ve consistently allowed free votes on private members’ bills. I’ve consistently indicated that I think we need to free the House up and I would have thought that the party of Preston Manning would want to do the same thing … that’s been one of the biggest changes that I’ve seen in my time in the House.

John Ivison reports that “20 or so” Conservative MPs met last night to discuss their concerns.

“The decision made by our own committee members, following orders from the highest office in the country, serves to euthanize any remaining principles of the Reform Party in our caucus, if we as members allow it to stand,” said one Conservative, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Star gathers comment from several MPs, including Conservative MP Brad Trost.

Conservative Brad Trost, the MP for Saskatoon—Humboldt, said he does not understand why his party will not let its MPs say whatever they want in their statements, given there is nothing to stop them from saying it outside the Commons. “Frankly, you guys (the media) don’t pay attention to all the ones that are spit out by the PMO at the end of the day anyway, so I don’t understand why we just can’t run through the order alphabetically the way it should be,” said Trost. “SO-31s should be the prerogative of the member. It’s just sort of bizarre why they just don’t live and let live,” Trost said.

Independent MP Bruce Hyer tells the Star he lost his speaking spot when he was set to announce his departure from the NDP caucus. After QP today, NDP House leader Nathan Cullen says the party works on a schedule that determines whose turn it is to give a statement and that the party doesn’t vet statements beforehand, except that the leadership sometimes “works with” whoever is delivering the last NDP slot (that statement is usually more partisan in tone).