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Ned Franks said it again this morning: “Omnibus bills subvert Canada’s legislative process.” The latest such monstrosity, Bill C-9, earned a record of sorts. At 2,208 clauses, with 883 pages, and covering 90 or so separate acts, it was longer that any of its predecessors. Bigger, but not better. Fully half of the government’s agenda is likely to be contained in this one bill – and all those provisions passed by in a blur because “Parliament cannot study them properly.”
Mind you, that state of affairs appears to suit quite a few people in the current government. The less dissent they encounter, the better they seem to like it. Senator LeBreton (ON), for example, stopped reading her script Monday night long enough to take what she obviously felt was a serious jab at Liberal senators (scroll down to the 1900 mark). “They do not support Michael Ignatieff. They are seriously questioning his leadership,” she taunted. “They would return the bill to the House of Commons and ask him to undo what he did.”
Well, of course! That’s what senators do, ... we offer sober second thoughts. At least, we all used to do that. Goodness knows what the new senators will do if they’re being taught they have one option and one option only – obedience to the party leader. Talk about a backbench mentality ... one wonders how they could possibly tolerate such a diminished role.
Posted On Jul 15 08:45AM
The Senate can never win. If you do your job and review and amend legislation (or god forbid, vote it down), you are accused of hijacking democracy. If you simply pass through legislation such as this monster of an omnibus budget bill, with barely time to read it, let alone debate it, you are accused of rubber-stamping, and thus, prove your own irrelevency to the political process.
Just how Harper wants it.
Into all things politics, policy and parliamentary.
Posted On Jul 15 08:42AM
Isn't it ironic? Dontcha think?
Harper derides the Senate for being undemocratic while quietly pushing through these massive omnibus bills that prevent proper vetting, dialogue and debate.
I hope the media do a better job of bringing this problem to light. It is a complicated one for most Canadians, so we really need all our political pundits on this.
This is not just a partisan issue -- but a procedural one.
Harper is taking advantage now, and others will in the future. Omnibus bills of this nature should simply not be permitted.
Posted On Jul 14 12:38PM
You know what I think about when I think about these huge omnibus bills? Earmarks. This is one way for horse-trading to go on in a government, with little if any regard for sound public policy decisions. This meandering down the road to US-style governing scares the )(#&$()&^ out of me....