If MPs really wanted to get out of Ottawa when the House is scheduled to rise at the end of next week, they should think again. It doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. You see, there just aren’t enough days in the calendar for the House to deal with everything it has before it, such as the mega-trials bill and now, two pieces of back-to-work legislation – one for Air Canada and another for Canada Post, whose workers have been locked out.
But here’s the thing – Elizabeth May has said she’s not going to allow the mega-trials bill to pass an all-stages-in-one-vote motion, which requires unanimous consent. The NDP has vowed to fight any back-to-work legislation (the Liberals and Bloc also oppose it), which will cause further delays.
In addition, there is the issue of the supply cycle in the House. There must be two opposition days before the estimates can be passed, and no, they can’t use opposition days to pass legislation. Nor can they easily get around the need for these opposition days. They exist for a reason, which allows the opposition to demonstrate why the government does not deserve the taxpayer funds for the programs it's asking for. It’s about ideas and debate, rather than this overly collegial “making Parliament work” nonsense that would have MPs acting like nodding dogs who simply congratulate one another on how good everyone’s ideas are (such as we saw during the Libya debate on Tuesday).
So really, it looks like we may be here for at least a few more days. And yes, democracy will be better for it in the end. (A massive thanks to Kady O’Malley for explaining the supply cycle. This is something the opposition parties should read.)
Elsewhere, at its convention this weekend, the NDP is looking to drop the word “socialism” from its constitution’s preamble, though they insist this is simply about modernizing the language. Also up for debate is a ban on any future merger with the Liberals. Just to know where things stand.
Jack Layton and Olivia Chow have now moved into Stornoway, but they insist their home remains in Toronto.
The infamous In and Out affair won’t be headed back to court until September, to determine a further court date, which likely won’t happen until next year. In the meantime, the Conservatives can continue to spin this as a differing interpretation of the law with Elections Canada.
And here’s a look at the sign language interpreters, who can be seen in the corner of the screen on CPAC during question period.