Here is an important alert for action request from Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada:
Protecting the Rights of MPsOctober 31, 2013
While the front pages of this week’s papers contain further allegations in the Senate scandal – a scandal that is deeply rooted in the PMO’s obsession with controlling all aspects of government – I am writing to update you on another example of Stephen Harper’s efforts at total control; one that affects my ability to do my job as MP.
I have previously written to you about a procedure that enabled an MP – such as myself – who is not allowed to sit on committees to put forward substantive amendments at the Report Stage of bills. I was the first MP to notice this rule and have made good use of it. Since being elected as an MP in 2011, my amendments have been a constant thorn in the side of the Harper administration.
This spring, the Harper administration found a way to block my use of this provision by “inviting” me to submit my amendments in committee. If I didn’t accept the invitation, any amendments presented to the House would be ruled out of order because I had been offered an earlier “opportunity”. I was not allowed to participate in the committee meetings, beyond having 60 seconds to introduce an amendment.
As a result, I was forced to race from committee to committee for the ritual rejection of all my amendments, which in turn took me away from my desk in the House. Other members were more than willing to take advantage of these rare absences.
Now the Conservatives have taken it even further by introducing a motion to require that members, who are either independent or are members of recognized parties with fewer than 12 MPs, submit amendments to committee 48 hours prior to the start of clause by clause consideration of any bill. The clear purpose of this motion is to reduce rights of Members of Parliament.
Yesterday this motion passed in four committees simultaneously and identical motions have already been tabled in multiple other committees with votes still to come.
I need you to stand with me and tell Stephen Harper’s Conservatives that this motion is in flagrant violation of one of the most important traditions of Canadian democracy: that all Members, regardless of their affiliation, should have an equal voice in Parliament.
The Conservative approach, of rejecting any and all amendments while simultaneously abbreviating debate opportunities, is a perversion of the parliamentary process. It is a new and hyper-partisan approach to the legislative process.
Please add your name to the list of Canadians who believe that each MP must have an equal opportunity to fully represent the concerns of our constituents:
Thank you for your continued support.
1 – 9711 Fourth Street Sidney, BC V8L 2Y8Phone: 250-657-2000 Fax: firstname.lastname@example.org
518 Confederation Building House of Commons Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6Phone: 613-996-1119 Fax: email@example.com
I believe very strongly that each and every Canadian has the right to representation in parliamentary proceedings regardless how small the party is or if an independent Member of Parliament. Each and every vote that placed these people in the position of Member of Parliament is important, valid and should be represented on every issue and bill….period with no exception. Canada is still supposed to be a democracy!! There is an obvious need for extra eyes and voices in parliament lest saner heads not prevail on important issues that will affect our lives and those of the following generations. The following is a copy of the statement to which I have willingly added my name in support. Thank you Elizabeth May for you tenacious efforts to represent the voices of caring and sensible Canadians who value you, life on earth and the future of the environment in the face of industrial madness which has swept the Conservative as well as the Liberal party..
Protect the Rights of Individual MPsBy Brian Howard on 29 October 2013 – 3:36pm
Like Elizabeth May, I believe in one of the most important traditions of Canadian democracy: that all Members, regardless of their affiliation, should have an equal voice in Parliament.
The ability to table amendments at Report Stage and to offer the entire House an opportunity to improve bills before Third Reading is even more critical when the legislative committee process has ceased to function in the non-partisan way it did in the past.
Any motion that aims to restrict the voice of individual MPs is in flagrant violation of our democratic process and should be rejected.