Liberals Say Conservative Abuses Of Power Plague Parliament

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“In just over a year, the Harper Conservatives have done nothing but steamroll democracy, quash dissent and ram through legislation,” said Liberal Leader Bob Rae. “This government has used its majority mandate to clamp down on its critics. In Parliament it shut down committees, limited debates and hid its wrong-headed ideological agenda in omnibus bills, like the ‘kitchen-sink’ budget which made sweeping changes to Employment Insurance, Old Age Security, as well as fisheries and environmental regulations.”

OTTAWA— The federal Liberals say the latest Parliamentary session has seen more serious abuses of power by the Harper Conservatives.

“In just over a year, the Harper Conservatives have done nothing but steamroll democracy, quash dissent and ram through legislation,” said Liberal Leader Bob Rae. “This government has used its majority mandate to clamp down on its critics. In Parliament it shut down committees, limited debates and hid its wrong-headed ideological agenda in omnibus bills, like the ‘kitchen-sink’ budget which made sweeping changes to Employment Insurance, Old Age Security, as well as fisheries and environmental regulations.”

With more than 750 clauses, debate on the mammoth omnibus budget bill was further curtailed by the government’s use of time allocation and other procedural tools to limit scrutiny.

“Though Liberal Senators were able to successfully negotiate a detailed pre-study of the omnibus bill in the Senate, we are still left with a deeply flawed piece of legislation,” said the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Liberal Senator James Cowan. “As we further debate C-38 over the days and weeks to come, our team will continue to stand as the last line of defence between Canadians and this Conservative government’s backward legislative agenda.”

To combat future abuses of power, this week, Liberal House Leader Marc Garneau introduced a motion in the Standing Committee on Procedural and House Affairs to study what reasonable limits should be placed on the consideration of omnibus legislation by Parliament. If passed, the Committee will have to issue findings and specific recommendations by December 10, 2012.

Garneau’s motion is as follows:

“That the Committee begin a study into what reasonable limits should be placed on the consideration of Omnibus legislation in recognition of Parliament’s fundamental purpose to provide appropriate oversight of the Government; and that the committee report its findings, including specific recommendations for legislative measures or changes to the Standing Orders, to the House no later than Dec.10, 2012.”