Conservatives Kill NDP Motion To Civilize Question Period
“It’s clear that something is broken in Ottawa and the Conservatives don’t care to fix it.”
Once again, the Harper Conservatives behaved as though they’ll be in power forever. As though they’ll never need the Speaker’s intervention to force the government of the day to provide truthful and relevant answers to their questions during the House of Commons’ Question Period.
On Tuesday, the Conservatives killed an NDP motion that sought to “enhance the daily Question Period, make Parliament more democratic and ensure that future governments will not be able to use tricks to evade giving Canadians answers.” The motion sought to fine-tune the House rules to equip the Speaker with the power to police irrelevant answers during Question Period.
According to the NDP, the motion would have created a situation where government ministers are compelled to “provide concrete answers and ensure that future governments will be held accountable to Canadians.”
The House voted 144-132 to nuke the motion.
“By opposing our motion, the Conservatives have said to Canadians that the government doesn’t have to answer their questions regardless of how legitimate they are. This is quite disappointing,” said NDP House Leader, Peter Julian, the MP for Burnaby-New Westminister. “When buffoonery and personal attacks are the response to legitimate questions on issues like deploying Canadian soldiers on a military mission to Iraq, it’s clear that something is broken in Ottawa and the Conservatives don’t care to fix it.”
The motion was prompted by a bizarre exchange between NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair and Conservative MP Paul Calandra during Question Period last week. Mulcair asked the government to provide some clarity on Canada’s undebated involvement in the unfolding U.S.-led war against the Islamic State in Iraq.
In response, Calandra, who is Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Parliamentary Secretary, offered a bizarre response. He questioned the NDP’s loyalty to Israel.
The NDP leader asked two more questions relating to Canada’s military involvement in Iraq. Calandra responded by reiterating the Conservatives’ unwavering support of Israel. Meanwhile, Speaker Andrew Sheer, a Conservative, did nothing to stop the madness.
Appearing on CBC News a day later, Calandra vigorously defended his shameful response, prompting fellow panelist and NDP MP, Paul Dewar, to make the now-famous facepalm that captured the nation’s frustration with the Conservatives.
Calandra’s responses solicited universal ridicule and condemnation by Canadians and the media. Global News called the exchange between Mulcair, the Speaker and Calandra “unreal.” Postmedia declared that Calandra’s response is exactly “why Canadians hate Question Period.” Macleans accused Calandra of demonstrating “contempt for Parliament.”
Calandra tearfully apologized in Parliament last Friday.
Three decent Conservatives, Brian Storseth, James Rajotte and the reform-minded Michael Chong, voted with the New Democrats.
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