In my Fall Constituency Parliamentary Report, I cited the rebuke last summer made by The Economist of the government of Canada’s use of one Omnibus Bill to change 70 pieces of legislation rendering totally impossible any proper Parliamentary scrutiny and oversight.
On October 16th, Liberals used their Opposition Day debate to remind the government of Stephen Harper’s sharp criticism of Omnibus Legislation.
But on October 18th, the government introduced yet another massive 443 page Omnibus Budget Implementation Bill – tucking in devastating changes to extensive parts of Canadian life that would normally undergo serious scrutiny by Parliament. From exempting the Detroit Windsor Bridge from Environmental laws, to changing the list of Navigable Waters, to changing the definition of Aboriginal fisheries and rules for Aboriginal land ownership – the scope of these changes is truly appalling.
That night, in a segment titled ‘Democracy on Hold’, CBC’s At Issue panelists Chantal Hebert, Andrew Coyne and Bruce Anderson were unanimous in their scathing assessment of the government’s 2nd Omnibus Bill. Since then, there have been a number of articles denouncing this and other all too numerous affronts to Parliament and the ability of Parliamentarians to do what they are elected to do – hold the government to account.
This is not a partisan issue. This is about Members of Parliament doing their job. Our responsibility is to our constituents and our country. As I said in my fall newsletter, I do believe that many Conservative MP’s are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with these, and other, undemocratic tactics.
Last spring, BC Conservative MP David Wilks publically told his Constituents that a lone government member could not defeat the last Omnibus bill, but if a dozen Conservative members stood together the bill could be defeated or split.
So, in response to this undemocratic bill, and Michael Harris’s recent iPolitics article Harper’s seals won’t bark forever, I have decided to send my Conservative colleagues an open letter.
They have the numbers to turn this around.