May Rises on Bill C-38 Point of Order

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, MP Saanich-Gulf Islands, today rose in the House of Commons on a Point of Order relating to Bill C-38 and based on Standing Order 68(3): No bill may be introduced either in blank or imperfect shape.

“I seek a ruling that the bill has not been put forward in its proper form and is therefore ‘imperfect’ and must be set aside.

“It is clear that a Speaker is entitled to determine if legislation purporting to be an omnibus bill is actually in the proper shape to be considered an omnibus bill.  The tests are also clear.  To be an omnibus bill it must have ‘a single purpose.’ ”

Bill C-38 is “imperfect.” It fails the tests of being a proper omnibus bill:

  1. It fails to have a central theme, “one basic principle or purpose,” in order to be legitimized as a reasonable basis for debate and study;
  2. It fails to provide a link between items in C-38 and the budget itself;
  3. It fails by omitting actions, regulatory and legislative changes described by representatives of the Privy Council as part of Bill C-38.  The omission of items that the Minister and honourable members speaking for Privy Council assert are in C-38 further confirms the bill is imperfect, unready and requiring a re-working. 

“In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I wish to put forward a further compelling reason with which I beg that you reject C-38 as violating the Standing Orders of this place.  And that is this: the respect of the body politic for this institution is at stake,” said May. 

“To allow Bill C-38 to masquerade as a legitimate omnibus bill will bring our institutions into greater disrepute. C-38 is widely understood in the popular media as a fraud.”

The Official Opposition and the Liberal Party asked to be allowed to consider the Green Party Point of Order and offer their own arguments.  The Speaker will review the arguments and put forward a decision in the near future.