The transparency games - Macleans.ca

The transparency games

The NDP makes a move

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After denying unanimous consent to Justin Trudeau’s motions last week, the New Democrats have tabled their own motion on MP expenses.

That, in order to bring full transparency and accountability to House of Commons spending, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs be instructed to: 

(a)  conduct open and public hearings with a view to replace the Board of Internal Economy with an independent oversight body; 

(b)  invite the Auditor General, the Clerk and the Chief Financial Officer of the House of Commons to participate fully in these hearings; 

(c)  study the practices of provincial and territorial legislatures, as well as other jurisdictions and Westminster-style Parliaments in order to compare and contrast their administrative oversight; 

(d)  propose modifications to the Parliament of Canada Act, the Financial Administration Act, the Auditor General Act and any other acts as deemed necessary; 

(e)  propose any necessary modifications to the administrative policies and practices of the House of Commons; and 

(f)   report its findings to the House no later than December 2, 2013 in order to have any proposed changes to expense disclosure and reporting in place for the beginning of the next fiscal year.

The New Democrats say they won’t be seeking unanimous consent to pass this motion, but will instead use one of their opposition days to have the House debate and vote on the proposal. Unfortunately, they don’t have an opposition day scheduled this week and the House is expected to rise for the summer by week’s end, meaning this proposal will have to wait until the fall.

Update 6:22pm. The New Democrats say that if there is unanimous support among the parties, they will move the motion before the House rises.