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The government used time closure last week to ram its massive budget implementation bill through the legislative system, marking the second time in less than two weeks that the Conservatives have used the Parliamentary procedure to limit debate, but an expert says that’s not how Parliament is supposed to be used.
After introducing Bill C-13, the Second Budget Implementation Bill, on Oct. 4, the government moved a motion on Oct. 6 to limit debate on the 658-page bill to three sitting days. The motion was passed 150 to 107, which means the bill could receive second reading and be sent to the House Finance Committee as early as Tuesday, Oct. 18.
The week before, the government used time allocation to limit debate on its 152-page omnibus crime bill, C-10, the “Safe Streets and Communities Bill.” It gave the House 48 hours to debate it before voting to send it to the House Justice Committee.
“We’re not using Parliament the way it should be used,” said University of Saskatchewan political scientist David Smith, author of The People’s House of Commons: Theories of Democracy in Contention. “Normally the way government is structured in Canada is that what debates do in the House of Commons are not only to reveal flaws, but also to have an educational function that is so the public becomes aware. … The limitation on debate seems to me that suggests there’s been enough and there’s no need for more. I don’t really think that’s true.”
John Baird says the long gun registry is a child of Toronto elites. I guess the Toronto elites are broader than I thought. They include Quebecers who sought the registry in the wake of the Montreal massacre and Chiefs of Police across Canada.