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The Canadian Progressive: VICTORY: Parliament Repeals Harper’s Anti-Union Bills C-377 And C-525

The Trudeau government’s promise to repeal former prime minister Stephen Harper’s vicious anti-union laws is fulfilled as Parliament votes to adopt Bill C-4. The bill repeals Bill C-377 and Bill C-525, two of Harper’s most vicious laws.

The post VICTORY: Parliament Repeals Harper’s Anti-Union Bills C-377 And C-525 appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

. . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: VICTORY: Parliament Repeals Harper’s Anti-Union Bills C-377 And C-525

Alberta Politics: Ottawa’s ethics commissioner should review MP Jason Kenney’s activities and ethics as Alberta PC candidate

PHOTOS: Freshly made up, MP Jason Kenney arrives at his news conference yesterday on the grounds of Alberta’s Legislature, where he one day hopes to have a legal parking spot. (Screenshot of CBC video.) Below: Parliamentary Ethics Commissioner Mary D… . . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: Ottawa’s ethics commissioner should review MP Jason Kenney’s activities and ethics as Alberta PC candidate

The Canadian Progressive: President Barack Obama’s address to the Canadian Parliament

U.S. President Barack Obama visited Ottawa this week for “The Three Amigos Summit” and addressed the Canadian Parliament. A pleasurable speech that had our legislators applauding again and again, it was. The post President Barack Obama’s addres… . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: President Barack Obama’s address to the Canadian Parliament

The Canadian Progressive: NDP forces Liberals to surrender electoral reform committee majority

The Liberals will no longer exercise majority control over the special parliamentary committee tasked with liberating Canada from its 149-year old anti-democratic first-past-the-post electoral system. The post NDP forces Liberals to surrender electoral… . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: NDP forces Liberals to surrender electoral reform committee majority

Cowichan Conversations: RAFE: ‘Responsible Government’ and how it blocks democracy – Pt.1

Rafe is revealing what some will be surprised to learn. Jaded blogger types and other seasoned politicos have understood the party control aspect for years but somehow it still flies under the radar. Not Read more… . . . → Read More: Cowichan Conversations: RAFE: ‘Responsible Government’ and how it blocks democracy – Pt.1

ParliamANT Hill: JustAnt Trudeau’s elbowing incident leaves House in an uproar

Satire inspired by this headline: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-conservative-whip-1.3588407 . . . → Read More: ParliamANT Hill: JustAnt Trudeau’s elbowing incident leaves House in an uproar

ParliamANT Hill: JustAnt Trudeau’s elbowing incident leaves House in an uproar

Satire inspired by this headline: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trudeau-conservative-whip-1.3588407 . . . → Read More: ParliamANT Hill: JustAnt Trudeau’s elbowing incident leaves House in an uproar

Democracy Under Fire: When is our raise coming?

Members of Parliament and senators will get a $3,000 increase Friday in their base salary, while cabinet ministers and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will receive a larger raise – at a time when Canadians are struggling with stagnant wages and rising unemployment.
The wage hike of 1.8 per cent for MPs and 2.1 per cent for senators is about four times what the federal government has offered public sector unions and executives in the federal public service……………..
Federal legislation automatically gives MPs an annual pay hike on April 1 that’s equal to the average percentage increase negotiated by unions with 500 or more employees in the private sector. The data are published by Employment and Social Development Canada.
The pay hike for MPs is nearly double the average increase of one per cent that public sector unions negotiated in jurisdictions across Canada in 2015.
MPs have the option of freezing their own salaries through federal legislation, but the government has decided not to do so. Salaries for MPs were frozen at 2009-10 levels until the end of the 2012-13 fiscal year under legislation introduced and passed by the former Conservative government……………
Since the MP wage freeze was lifted in 2013, the base salary of members of Parliament has increased eight per cent, from $157,731.
Taxpayers will cough up an extra $25.4 million for an increase of 20 per cent to office budgets for MPs and House of Commons officers that also takes effect Friday.

I don’t think most Canadians have much sympathy for the notion that MPs need a pay hike, considering they already earn far more than the average Canadian.” said Aaron Wudrick, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

And he would be right about that, why is it that their compensation is based upon average PRIVATE sector UNION wages when by far the greatest number of taxpayers are paid far less than union rates and rarely if ever see raises of any amount. Next thing you know they will want to be paid for two weeks of sick days just like or poor hard done by teachers …..oh wait, they get paid whether they show up or not don’t they Mr Harper?

. . . → Read More: Democracy Under Fire: When is our raise coming?

Democracy Under Fire: When is our raise coming?

Members of Parliament and senators will get a $3,000 increase Friday in their base salary, while cabinet ministers and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will receive a larger raise – at a time when Canadians are struggling with stag… . . . → Read More: Democracy Under Fire: When is our raise coming?

Montreal Simon: The Day the MSM Exposed Stephen Harper’s Latest Scandal

As you know Stephen Harper has been missing in action from the day he was defeated.One day he is sighted in Las Vegas, the next day he's in Florida…But he's hardly ever spotted in the House of Commons.And now at last somebody in the MSM has … . . . → Read More: Montreal Simon: The Day the MSM Exposed Stephen Harper’s Latest Scandal

Bill Longstaff: The Conservatives’ shameful motion

Late last week, the Conservatives made a motion in the House of Commons that was unworthy of the place. The motion was to "reject the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which promotes the demonization and delegitimization of the State of Israel, and call upon the government to condemn any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups or individuals to promote the BDS movement. . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: The Conservatives’ shameful motion

Democracy Under Fire: First Week Back.

With parliament resuming its been an interesting week both in the House and elsewhere, our new Prime Minister continued with his almost unrelenting schedule of travelling around actually talking to people (something the previous PM avoided at all costs) and with everybody from Mayors to Provincial leaders asking him to do the impossible and reverse the decade of reduced federal support overnight. (Where is that instigator of democratic destruction anyway, I thought a sitting MP was supposed to actual show up when the House was sitting?)

The Auditor General revealed what many of us long suspected in that that magical disappearing surplus was found at least partially on the backs of the needy by withholding funds already committed for various programs and initiatives.

Auditor General Michael Ferguson’s latest report lays bare massive delays processing Canada Pension Plan disability payments that have left some of the most vulnerable Canadians waiting years for benefits. 

In his annual fall report released Tuesday, the auditor general uncovered an average processing delay of 884 days that has left Canadians with severe and prolonged disabilities — such as nervous and circulatory diseases, cancers and mental illness, among others — waiting for a crucial source of income.

The membership of various committees and when they will be formed is being discussed, the most important of these perhaps being the ones to recommend persons for the Senate and the one to recommend changes to our electoral system. In regards to the latter the NDP has suggested that the governing Liberals surrender majority control over the committeeand that it be formed to more closely reflect the popular vote during the election. That would mean five Liberal MPs, three Conservatives, two New Democrats, one Bloc Quebecois and one Green party member. This would reduce the implications of self interest if certain systems which some say would flavor the Liberals were to be recommended. Although I do not subscribe to the view that any particular system flavors any particular Party I find the idea of a more balanced committee membership a very good idea, all appearance of partisan interference with this decision must be eliminated if it is to be accepted by the general public.

And finally we havethe bizarre sight of a Conservative standing upin question period and accusing the Liberals of being unethical for trying get some of the many persons unethically pre-appointed or reappointed to various tribunals (by their former leader) to voluntary step down and submit to a parliamentary process.

“Talking about ethical guidelines, when we are talking about a previous government’s decision, at five minutes to midnight, to appoint a series of individuals to jobs to take effect after it lost the election, with no ability for this House to scrutinize those appointments, from our perspective, that was the abuse of process,” said. Dominic LeBlanc, the government’s House leader,

As always Mr Mercer put it all in perspective in a few short sentences:-

If you’re like me, since New Year’s, you were waiting desperately for Monday, January the 25th to roll around. Last week it finally happened, marking the return of the 42nd Parliament. I was going to go up there in person and line up at midnight so I couldactually watch it live but instead I caught it on TV.

Now, since then, there have been seven Question Periods. I’m guessing you don’t watch every day because, well, you have a life. It’s far more likely you’ve set the PVR so you can binge a whole bunch of them on the weekend. You know, invite over a special friend, Question Period and chill.

Now I don’t want to give away too much away but spoiler alert—this season is awful.

Remember Rona Ambrose? Last season she was Minster of Health, this season she’s Leader of the Opposition. And remember when she got the job she said on her watch the Tories wouldn’t heckle and act like spoiled children. Turns out she meant the opposite. They’re worse now than they ever were.

And the plot lines this season—totally unbelievable. Like the Conservatives are now mad that the Liberals haven’t legalized marijuana yet. That is the most ridiculous plot twist I have ever heard. Do they think we’re stupid? Rona, we remember last season, heck, we remember the past ten seasons. Your party has always said legalizing pot would mean the end of the world. Now you’re upset because you can’t get your weed at Costco?

And what’s with Tony Clement? Every time he opens his mouth he’s saying that governments have to be transparent. Who are these people fooling? A couple of seasons ago Tony took fifty million dollars earmarked for border security and secretly spent it on gazebos in Ontario cottage country. I’m sorry, his character talking about transparency just doesn’t ring true.

And then other main characters from last season have been totally written out. According to the credits, Stephen Harper’s still in the cast. He has yet to utter a single line. Why are they still paying this guy?

Look, it’s early in the season, granted I will still keep watching Question Period. And Rona, it’s okay to oppose. You are the Leader of the Opposition. But stop pretending like the past ten years didn’t happen. Despite appearances, it’s a democratic institution, not a soap opera; you just can’t pretend the past decade, poof, was all a dream.

Thanks Rick, I am sure there will be lots more ammunition for you next rant coming shortly!

. . . → Read More: Democracy Under Fire: First Week Back.

Democracy Under Fire: First Week Back.

With parliament resuming its been an interesting week both in the House and elsewhere, our new Prime Minister continued with his almost unrelenting schedule of travelling around actually talking to people (something the previous PM avoided at all cos… . . . → Read More: Democracy Under Fire: First Week Back.

Alberta Politics: Tories’ Senate gambit shows Harper still runs the party and the party still holds Parliament in contempt

PHOTOS: The Senate chamber, empty, as it should be. Below: Stephen Harper, apparently still the de facto leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The Conservative Opposition… . . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: Tories’ Senate gambit shows Harper still runs the party and the party still holds Parliament in contempt

Democracy Under Fire: Promises – Parliamentary Accountability

As promised in my post A cabinet that looks like Canada, this week I am going to take a closer look at the Liberal Government’s quite modest promises as regards to parliamentary reform as listed in their platform document. Taking them one at a time they are (in shortened form):-

Strengthen the role of parliamentary committee chairs, including elections by secret ballot. Ensure a more robust system of oversight and review for legislation.”

This one bothers me a little given that committee chairs already have considerable power over the way such meetings are conducted and can, as we have seen in recent years, use procedural actions to disrupt open discussion should they wish to. They need to be more open and accountable with rules established to ensure such partisan or personal biases cannot substantially effect discussions not more power over the process. I am not at all sure what “ a more robust system of oversight and review for legislation” means, reviewing proposed legislation is after all THE function of committees. Government House Leader Dominic Leblanc says House committees should be independent from government with non-partisan chairs and possibly no parliamentary secretary members. As with all things the devil is in the details, this one is a wait and see item.

Liberal Caucus members will only be required to vote with the Cabinet on those matters that implement the Liberal electoral platform or traditional confidence matters…..”

Whilst more ‘free’ votes are highly desirable I am not sure that this actually promises that, in the short term at least most, if not all legislation could be said to “implement the Liberal electoral platform”. No MP should be “required to vote” in any particular manner, naturally those who disagree with their own party’s legislation and vote against it may face some kind of ‘disciplinary’ action from the party but telling an MP how to vote is wrong and antidemocratic. The ONLY vote that could result in a minority government falling should be one that specifically says “This house has no confidence in thus ‘whipping’ the vote would be unnecessary…..”

Create a new, nonpartisan, merit-based, broad, and diverse process to advise the Prime Minister on Senate appointments.”

We do not know at this point what this “process” will be however given the restrictions placed upon the PM by the constitution, and if he truly wants to make the Senate the non partisan chamber of ‘sober second thought’ then taking advice, or even better, candidate recommendations from outside government is the only alternative. I have said before that given that Senators are meant to be representative of the province in which they reside that it seems appropriate that said provinces should be able to propose at least some of those candidates. Once again this is a wait and see what the ‘process’ involves but is far better than proposing reforms that involve opening up the constitution in a long and potentially divisive process..

Work with all parties in the House of Commons to ensure an inclusive, representative, transparent, and accountable process to advise on appointments to the Supreme Court.”

It is my understanding that such a process was already in place, it is just that the previous PM chose to ignore such processes.

Introduce a Prime Minister’s Question Period, empower the Speaker to challenge and sanction Members during Question Period.

The PM is supposed to be one amongst equals, is having a special question period just for him reinforcing the perception that he and he alone is responsible for policy? I agree that the speaker should have more power to enforce members to behave and to answer actual questions put, not go off on some unrelated time passing distraction. Good luck with that.

Change parliamentary financial processes, ensuring accounting consistency among the Estimates and the Public Accounts, providing costing analysis for each
government bill and restoring the requirement that the government’s borrowing plans
receive Parliament’s pre-approval.

Duh!

Ensure that all of the Officers of Parliament – the Chief Electoral Officer, the Access to Information Commissioner, the Auditor General, the Parliamentary Budget Officer etc, etc, are all properly funded and respected for doing their important work to help Canadians.

We have seen during the last governments tenure that when you cant get rid of an officer whos reports you don’t like the next best thing is to cut their funding. We hope that they all do get sufficient funding restored to do their job effectively but must ask if there is a way to ensure that future governments cannot silence these officers by such methods.

Not use prorogation to avoid difficult political circumstances, change the House of Commons Standing Orders to end the practice of using omnibus bills to reduce scrutiny
prevent future governments from using this method to silence critical reports.’

Both of these promises are a very good start and we hope that they can indeed “prevent future governments (and their own) from using omnibus bills“ although how you ‘lock in’ such rules to prevent future governments from changing them back and what penalties can be put in place to prevent the rules being ignored is questionable. All the rules around prorogation, forming coalitions upon the defeat of a minority government, and similar constitutional matters need to be clarified, particularly if electoral reform takes place that results in a greater probability of more minority’s being elected.

The above is almost identical to the ‘list’ proposed by Ms May of the Greens as presented in the post Fixing What Harper Broke where she says “Ideally, a parliamentary committee will be mandated to review the abuses of the last ten years and recommend a full suite of measures to ensure it never happens again.“ There is the rub, any incoming government can seemingly come in and change the rules (or ignore them) as most are not enshrined in law, but for a few citizens invoking constitutional challenges it could have been much worse.
As we have seen in recent years the rules around prorogation, minority and coalition governments and even House proceedings are easily abused, and how and when such constitutional maneuverings can take place is far from clear and governed more by ‘tradition’ than any hard and fast rules or guidelines. Such things need to be formally documented to avoid future ‘constitutional crises’. With the House setting its own rules this is not an easy task, we wish the new Liberal government well with these changes and await the recall of the House to see exactly how much the ‘tone’ and substance of the proceeding will change under what we hope and expect to be a more open and respectful leadership.

. . . → Read More: Democracy Under Fire: Promises – Parliamentary Accountability

Democracy Under Fire: Promises – Parliamentary Accountability

As promised in my post A cabinet that looks like Canada, this week I am going to take a closer look at the Liberal Government’s quite modest promises as regards to parliamentary reform as listed in their platform document. Taking them one at a time t… . . . → Read More: Democracy Under Fire: Promises – Parliamentary Accountability

Democracy Under Fire: As Predicted……

To judge by a report released Tuesday by the Parliamentary Budget Officer, the outgoing Harper government was unduly optimistic in its forecasts and estimates. (thats putting it ‘nicely’!)……that suggests that the Conservatives’ heralded return to a budgetary surplus was in fact a mirage that could not have been achieved without the one-time sale of . . . → Read More: Democracy Under Fire: As Predicted……

Democracy Under Fire: A cabinet that looks like Canada, why …. “Because its 2015”

Given the large number of Liberal MPs elected that was one of the easier promises to keep but never the less a damn fine start. Now comes the more difficult stuff so let briefly review the platform promises in regard to our democratic institutions and how “Fair and Open” this government intends to be. We . . . → Read More: Democracy Under Fire: A cabinet that looks like Canada, why …. “Because its 2015”

The Tory Pirate - Politics & Policy: An Update on ‘100 Remedies for a Broken Democracy’

As a wrote before I really like the idea behind this website. New ideas continue to flow in every day. I thought I’d take a second to focus on what ideas for electoral reform have been proposed. Proposals are listed from oldest to newest (to be fair) with the original title.

Proportional Representation!Ranked Ballots for . . . → Read More: The Tory Pirate – Politics & Policy: An Update on ‘100 Remedies for a Broken Democracy’

The Tory Pirate - Politics & Policy: Electoral Reform: Bennett Method 2.0

Note: An earlier version of this article had a calculation error in regards to the Bloc Quebecois. I have corrected it and added additional information in italics regarding calculating voting power.

I have been posting about electoral reform for a while now. Mostly this has been concerning a new system I devised which I named . . . → Read More: The Tory Pirate – Politics & Policy: Electoral Reform: Bennett Method 2.0

Democracy Under Fire: Like Lemmings off a Cliff

Canadians who have been taking notice will be aware that C51, the police state law, has past 3rd reading in the house and now goes before the Senate for final reading. It will come as no surprise that the Conservatives vote en-block for the bill for even if some of them had actually read . . . → Read More: Democracy Under Fire: Like Lemmings off a Cliff

Bill Longstaff: Why do we allow face coverings in the House of Commons?

The Prime Minister explains to the House why face coverings are unacceptable to Canadians

Democracy Under Fire: Your Information is in the Mail

I see a Con MP is proposing to increase the $5 fee for an Access to Information Request which given what Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault saysmay at first seem like a reasonable idea.

“We need more investigators, and it is not my office that is in a crisis, it is the fact that Canadians’ right to . . . → Read More: Democracy Under Fire: Your Information is in the Mail

The Canadian Progressive: NDP Introduces Mixed-member Proportional Representation Motion

New Democrats introduce in the House of Commons a motion for a mixed-member proportional representation electoral system at the federal level.

The post NDP Introduces Mixed-member Proportional Representation Motion appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Democracy Under Fire: Vitriolic nastiness does not breed respect.

Stephen Lewis , the former Ontario NDP leader, United Nations ambassador and lifelong human rights advocate recently took aim at the “pre-paleolithic Neanderthals” in office and their role in the decline of Parliament, the suppression of dissent, the plight of First Nations, their blinkered climate-change policy and our plummeting world status. That his words . . . → Read More: Democracy Under Fire: Vitriolic nastiness does not breed respect.