This Letter to the Editor was originally published in the Whig Standard, September 30, 2011
Silencing debate disappoints MP
I, and most new members of Parliament, will not be able to address the many issues contained in the Omnibus Crime Bill, Bill C-10, before it goes to committee. Nor will we have much time to consult with the people we work for, our constituents.
On Tuesday, Stephen Harper’s Conservative majority used its power to cut off debate on this massive and controversial piece of legislation. The bill runs over 100 pages and involves untold billions of dollars in costs to taxpayers. In its unnecessary rush towards enactment of this legislation, the government claims that debate is not needed because individual pieces of this bill were partially considered by a previous Parliament.
But I’m sorry, the way our system works, the 41st Parliament began with the May 2 election and a newly elected MP has a fresh mandate from Canadians, and the right to do his or her job. A new bill is a new bill, regardless of activity in previous Parliaments.
Anyone who respects parliamentary democracy should expect and welcome a serious and complete discussion of a bill’s merits (there are portions that I do support) and costs to taxpayers. More is at stake here than proper democratic procedures. As the global economy becomes even more unstable, the Harper majority continues to avoid candid disclosure of C-10′s costs to taxpayers.
Let us remember that the Conservative majority represents just 40%. I am disappointed that this government, not content to have the majority of votes in Parliament, assumes the right to short-circuit discussion of a bill that will affect all of us for years to come.
Ted Hsu MP, Kingston and the Islands