A Canadian prime minister determines that the activities of terrorists operating in a Muslim nation far from Canada’s shores is such a threat to Canada’s security, that he dispatches Canadian Forces on a combat mission. There is no debate or discussion in Parliament let alone a vote. There seems not to have even been a full cabinet discussion before the prime minister makes his decision. Simply a request from an American president.
Paul Calandra, the Conservative MP who is also the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, gave a tearful apology today in the House of Commons for the way he failed to answer questions put to him during Question Period earlier this week from Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair.
Joe Cressy hopes to make it into the House of Commons this year as the new MP for Trinity-Spadina, replacing Olivia Chow who resigned her seat to run for mayor in Toronto. I first met Cressy in 2009 in that very same chamber but on that day, he was part of a group of about 120 protesters who, in the middle of Question Period stood up and started hollering questions at the government from the public gallery. That’s a very big no-no House-of-Commons-procedure-wise and an army of security guards ended up dragging the protesters out. I was sitting in the House of Commons press gallery that day and Continue reading Flashback: Cressy storms the House of Commons
For the the second session of the current Parliament — this session having begun with last October’s Speech from the Throne in October — there have been 16 meetings of the committee, during which it has considered the spending plans for both the departments of Transport and Infrastructure; reviewed Bill C-3, studies the cessation of home mail delivery by Canada Post, and reviewed the safety of Canada’s transport system, particularly with a view to the transport of oil by rail. Continue reading The attendance scorecard at Transport
Bill to reform Parliament would strengthen Canadian democracy.
OTTAWA – Michael Chong, M.P. for Wellington-Halton Hills, today introduced his Private Members’ Bill, Reform Act, 2013.
The Reform Act puts forward three simple reforms to strengthen Parliament by proposing to restore local control over party nominations, strengthen caucus as a decision-making body and reinforce the accountability of party leaders to caucuses. These three reforms will empower MPs and give them the tools they need to represent their constituents in Ottawa. Continue reading MP Michael Chong's plan to "strengthen democracy"
In the House of Commons a few minutes ago, the NDP asked Transport Minister Lisa Raitt why there was no mention of an airline passenger’s bill of rights in the Speech from the Throne. Raitt chided the NDP for “speculation” about what would be in that speech.
That source of that speculation? None other than Minister of Industry, James Moore, on CTV’s Question Period four days ago:
Question Period host Robert Fife: What about the airlines? Are we going to be looking, we’re hearing some talk about perhaps an airline bill of rights to deal with some of the very frustrations that travelers have in dealing with airlines, being bumped, for example.
Minister Moore: Yeah. You know, when we put together a list of things that frustrate consumers on which the government can take action, the list gets long very quickly. Some of these things, of course, are taken care of in the free market. I’m a free marketer, free enterprise guy. But in other circumstances they can’t be and responsible government action is needed. With regard to air passengers, you know, I think people find it incredibly frustrating when they go to board a flight, a plane that has 165 seats, and an airline chooses to sell 175 seats in order to cover their margins in case people don’t show up. And people who have paid for their ticket show up at the gate, go through security, arrive on time, and they find that their ticket has been sold twice and that somebody else is occupying their chair and they have to get rebooked, sometimes missing a wedding, missing a funeral, and having their business life interrupted. That’s not fair to consumers, it’s not fair to travelers and we are looking to take action on that front as well.
In his most recent report to his constituents, first-term Conservative MP Dan Albas writes,
…contrary to what you may have heard in the media, Parliamentary practice is clear in recognizing that Whips of arespective party have long been involved in the process of determining the speaking order during Members Statements. Much of this current debate is in questioning to what extent a whip should and by extension a party be involved in what individual Members of Parliament can or cannot say within the House of Commons. This is largely the more important subject and one that I would like to address in my report today.
We started working on that story after reviewing Cash’s “Disclosure Summary”, a document all MPs file with the Commissioner of Ethics and Conflict of Interest and which is published on the commissioner’s Web site. You can review right here. Among other things MPs are required to disclose are any contracts with the federal government. Cash disclosed: Continue reading Background on Cash and his CBC cash
MPs are not forbidden from giving speeches for a fee and, if they earn more than $10,000 a year doing it, they must inform the House of Commons ethics commissioner about the existence of this income. There is no requirement to disclose the amount of income earned or the client for their speaking engagements. In that sense, both Trudeau and Garneau exceeded the disclosure requirements in the MP’s conflict of interest code.
Earlier this week, we asked Duncan if she, too, would go above and beyond the disclosure requirements of the conflict of interest code and disclose the clients, dates, and income associated with her speaking engagements. Here is her reply:
Prior to seeking office I was a scientist, and the topics I speak on are related to my expertise:
the expedition I led to the Arctic to try and discover the cause of the 1918 Spanish Flu
climate change and health: I previously taught climate change, climatology, and meteorology, and have worked tirelessly on address our most pressing environmental issue, which is climate change. I served on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which jointly won the 2007 Nobel prize with Albert Arnold Gore Jr.
the links between the environment and human health
I called the Ethics Office immediately after I was elected. I was told that no one had ever done this. MPs must always meet legal responsibility, but, I believe should go further and meet ethical responsibility, which I have. I was advised that there was no issue with my continuing to speak.
Since being elected in 2008 I’ve spoken less than ten times to events, including the Global Knowledge Millennium Summit, India; the Ontario Hospital Association; SAGIA Global Competitiveness, Saudi Arabia; and Soroptomist International, Montreal. In my first elected term, I had 5 1/2 days off work.
I don’t feel comfortable releasing the amounts as I haven’t spoken with the organizations to have their consent to release these amounts.