Incorporation by Reference in Regulations Act (Bill S-12)

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, can the hon. member for Newton—North Delta explain for me, because I cannot figure it out, what has changed since 2009, when this Parliament and the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations recommended against these broad and flexible ways of short-circuiting public scrutiny and access to review of the regulatory process?

At that time the members of the joint committee said, “What this really means is that it allows rules to be imposed without having to go through the regulatory process”.

This is part and parcel of a number of changes we have seen happening, including in Bill C-60, where there would be intervention at the political level over collective bargaining by crown corporations or through more discretionary powers at the hands of ministers. Slowly but surely, the executive in this country—the Prime Minister’s Office, which is subservient to the will of Parliament—will have all the levers of power it needs to rule, with Parliament merely an anachronism.

Jinny Jogindera Sims: Mr. Speaker, that is the reason we are prepared to go to committee: to ask those tough questions and get the kind of clarification and put checks and balances in place so that government does not ram through a bill just because it has a majority, which the Conservatives will probably do anyway.

However, I believe it is our responsibility to go there, get the clarification for ourselves and try to limit the power of the executive so the Conservatives do not keep expanding that power.