In a virtual news conference, Green Party parliamentary leader Elizabeth May is joined by party MPs Paul Manly and Jenica Atwin to discuss concerns with what the party is calling the “discriminatory approach” to question period in the House of Commons. They object to a decision that was made by the four other federal parties following the 2019 general election to exclude Green MPs from asking a question on Wednesdays. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made it his practice to be the only person to answer questions during Wednesday question periods.
January 27, 2021
OTTAWA — Green Party Members of Parliament have been attempting to un-do a massively discriminatory approach to Question Period that began immediately following the 2019 election. Due to a decision made behind closed doors by the Conservatives, Bloc Quebecois, New Democrats and Liberals, Green Party Members of Parliament are never to be allowed a question on Wednesdays. As the Prime Minister now makes it his practice to answer all questions on Wednesdays, this exclusion is additionally unfair.
On January 17, 2020, the Green Caucus wrote Speaker Anthony Rota, “In the previous parliament Green MPs were allotted multiple Wednesday questions over the course of each Spring and Fall session. During these opportunities we exercised decorum and posed questions of real content on behalf of our constituents and Green voters. We now return to a new parliament with more Green MPs than ever before… only to find that we are to be further disadvantaged by not being allocated a single Wednesday question.”
The Speaker advised negotiating with the other parties. Multiple attempts have been made to engage in discussion and negotiation to allow at least one Wednesday question. Polite and persistent entreaties have been in vain.
Speaking for the caucus MP Paul Manly (Nanaimo-Ladysmith) explained “It is even more outrageous when one considers that every time a member of parliament is turfed from their party, such as happened last week with a member of the Conservative and Liberal caucuses, that tends to result in fewer questions for Green MPs and for Jody Wilson-Raybould. So in addition to never getting a Wednesday question, our opportunities for questions on other days are further diluted.”
Mr. Manly continued, “The Green Party of Canada received nearly as many votes in 2019 as the Bloc Quebecois. Only due to the perversity of First Past the Post, do we have three seats after being supported by nearly 1.2 million voters. If you average the number of votes per party by the number of MP’s elected, each Green MP represents 380,000 voters while each Liberal MP only represents 38,000. To deny Green MPs the chance to pose a single Wednesday question, ever, is undemocratic. The other parties have refused to say who opposes our rights, or why. We would like to know how they can justify this.”
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