So anyone that may be as dull as me to follow the House of Commons debates on a daily basis may find it disturbing to observe something like this. I happened to be watching a debate go on regarding a time allocation motion on Bill S-8 “Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act.” Originating in the Senate, this bill is being debated before parlament attempting to obtain royal consent and the opposition is opposing the time allocation motion as there is not sufficient time to debate it, at least that’s what they argue.
What is so noteable about this? Well the absolute politeness-rudeness expressed by the Honourable Minister in this debate between him and Ms. Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada. It goes as follows:
Ms. Elizabeth May (SaanichGulf Islands, GP):
Mr. Speaker, rising as we are now to debate time allocation, I want to preempt the usual response from government members who say, “What a shame, the member has raised a process question rather than on the substance of the bill.
This is a moment to debate process on a time allocation motion, and I am on topic.
At the time allocation motion on Bill C-60, I made the point that members of the House who are not members of large political parties in this place never get an opportunity to speak to a bill when time allocation is applied. I have never been given a speaking opportunity on any bill once time allocation is applied. Last time, on the Bill C-60 debate, the minister said, “Why don’t you just go to committee?
I will make the point. I have never been allowed to speak at committee due to objections from other parties.
This is an anti-democratic process of constantly imposing time allocation. It is unfair to members in this place and I regard it as a violation of the basis of democracy.
Hon. Bernard Valcourt (Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, CPC):
I note the opinion of the member, Mr. Speaker.
May, Elizabeth. “Safe Drinking Water for First Nations Act” Edited Hansard. Canada. Parliament. House of Commons. 41st Parl., 1st sess. Vol. 146 No. 249. 2013. Parliament of Canada. Web. 09 May. 2013.
What strong debate we have, when the honourable member raises a completely valid point, and is completely rebuffed. In fact, the camera didn’t even get to Mr. Valcourt to show him stand to say such a remark with audacity. I honestly believe that he was probably looking at his papers and didn’t even bother to look to the Speaker in this instance. What audacity.
All I can do is shake my head… A member of parliament is blocked from speaking, having an opinion, and joining committee; what kind of democratic process is that?