Daily Brief: Van Loan explains why he's shutting down debate

Government House Leader Peter Van Loan invoked “time allocation” earlier today in the House of Commons, a parliamentary procedure which effectively limits parliamentary debate on a particular issue. The issue at hand this time is Bill C-25, legislation that would create registered pooled pension plans, a new kind of savings vehicle for those who are self-employed or whose employers do not offer company pension plans.

The House of Commons had sat for all of about eight or nine hours so far in 2012 when Van Loan decided to invoke “time allocation” (which, it should be noted, is often confused with “closure” but has some key differences. Both, though, limit debate).

The opposition had a fit – -and why not?   This is the 14th time since the May 2 election that the Harper government has used its majority in the House of Commons to limit debate in order to speed passage of its legislation. Liberal MP Wayne Easter complained to the Speaker that, “The House of Commons has become the House of Closure.” Now, today was just the 70th sitting of the House of Commons since the election so that means that the government is not nice, neat course to restrict or limit debate once every five sittings. Easter may not be technically correct — again, it’s “time allocation” not closure — but you get the point.

I had no knowledge that Van Loan would introduce time allocation when I asked him on Daily Brief Monday night, if, having used it so often in the fall, if he would avoid these kind of procedures in the winter/spring session. His answer begins at about 5:45 into this clip:

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