Members of Parliament of all political stripes are standing together to defend their rights. Green Party MP and Leader Elizabeth May, and Independent Members of Parliament Bruce Hyer, Brent Rathgeber, and Maria Mourani, have signed an open letter to Committee Chairs and members asking them to seriously consider the implications of shutting down minority rights in the House of Commons.
Motions currently before the Procedure and House Affairs and Finance Committees, and expected soon before other Standing Committees, would eliminate the rights of individual MPs to move, vote on, or defend their proposed amendments to any legislation before the House of Commons.
The effective use of rights to submit amendments at Report Stage has driven the Conservatives to come up with a bogus “opportunity” to submit amendments at committee. Once defeated at committee, these Members of Parliament are very unlikely to have amendments accepted in Report Stage.
“This is yet another example of a decades-long campaign to shut down the rights of MPs and exercise a dangerous level of control over speech in the House of Commons. It started when Pierre Trudeau changed theCanada Elections Act in 1970 to give party leaders the final say over election candidates, and it continues here today with the Conservatives trying to silence independent members and members of small parties. It is extremely unsettling that Harper would try to limit the ability of MPs to represent their constituents in this way,” said Bruce Hyer, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay-Superior North.
Brent Rathgeber, Member of Parliament for Edmonton-St. Albert, said, “Independent Members attempt to participate to the fullest extent possible, but the proposed changes significantly reduce our ability to do so.”
“It is shocking that even my limited rights as the sole representative of the Green Party of Canada so bothers the Prime Minister’s Office that multiple committees are now embroiled in shutting down my rights,” said Elizabeth May. “This impacts all Canadians.”