Committees of the House (Justice and Human Rights)

On Monday, May 26th, 2014 in Committees, Parliament

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for asking what I suppose might be a rhetorical question.

In a majority government, the Conservative Party has repudiated most of the positions of principle that it used to adopt in terms of opposing omnibus legislation or opposing the use of closure because it was anti-democratic. It has used closure and pushed through bills more than any administration in the history of Canada.

In this very critical issue of protecting private property, private information and privacy rights, would my hon. colleague not agree with me that, at this point, it is clear the Conservative administration in power has repudiated just about everything it ever stood for in opposition?

Scott Simms: Mr. Speaker, where does one begin?

The hon. member has brought up a valid point, as we discussed earlier. As a matter of fact, my colleague from Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel made a good point. He said he was surprised this is not in the budget implementation bill as well.

It is a valid point, because we are seeing everything here being encapsulated. There were omnibus bills in the years before the Conservatives took power in 2006, but there was a general theme around this omnibus legislation. Now there seems to be the bill currently known as “madly off in all directions”, because it is everything that the Conservatives see and most of it was not even in their campaign promises.

My colleague is right in that sense, because at what point do they practise what they used to preach, especially for the period from 2000 to 2005? When I arrived here in 2004, there were some solid arguments as to why bills should be split and dealt with on an individual basis as stand-alone legislation.

Being from Atlantic Canada, the Minister of Justice argued vehemently to take the provisions and changes in the Atlantic accord out of the budget bill because they deserved to be in stand-alone legislation. All of his colleagues in Atlantic Canada mentioned that, but at least that provision in the Atlantic accord shared thematically with the budget, because it was about equalization.

Now we find things sandwiched into this legislation. It is the Neapolitan ice cream of legislation-making. Every flavour is in there. Every little element is in here, and for some reason we have to accept one part and then deny the other, even though they are vehemently opposed to each other.

There is a very important issue in the first part of the motion, so I support the motion simply because it is the responsible and right thing to do. It could be handled very quickly given the situation, the headlines, the editorials that we have witnessed over the past two years. If this is not responsible legislation-making, then I really do not know what is.

The right thing to do is split this legislation. The right thing to do is deal with this very important issue up front, right now, before we get to other matters, including privacy.

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