Thursday, February 23, 2012

Parliament in Review: December 15, 2011

Thursday, December 15 was the final day in the House of Commons before the winter break.

The Big Issue

Once again, debate focused primarily on Bill C-26 to clarify the availability of self-defence under the Criminal Code. And the opposition parties started proceedings by granting unanimous consent to an effort to speed through second reading of the bill - which I'm pretty sure resulted in the Cons regularly expressing gratitude for the cooperation.

But then, that wasn't the only point of distinction between the Cons and their opponents. When Kevin Lamoureux asked whether the NDP would have amendments to present, Mike Sullivan suggested it might take the time to listen to experts at committee before taking a final position. In contrast, when Lamoureux asked whether the Cons would in fact consider amendments, Harold Albrecht helpfully responded by cheerleading for his party's "decisive action" in ramming through C-10 while listening to nobody but its own spinners.

Meanwhile, Alain Giguere highlighted the difference between peace officers who are trained to use minimal force and citizens who may not be, then warned that good intentions could produce harmful results. Pat Martin discussed his own experience in apprehending vandals, but also noted that there's a glaring lack of support for people who want to escape unsafe streets. Elizabeth May wondered whether we should empower citizens to collect evidence rather than trying to apprehend suspects for themselves. And Peter Julian slammed the Cons' overall dumb-on-crime agenda.

In Brief

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet criticized the Cons' attempts to shift committee work from the public eye to behind closed doors. Nycole Turmel proposed some resolutions for Stephen Harper to consider over the holidays. Charlie Angus again questioned why the Cons were punishing Attawapiskat with a third-party manager for highlighting their own neglect. Julian noted that the Cons seem entirely willing to claim money grows on trees when it comes to the massive cost of corporate tax cuts, jails and fighter jets - while Christine Moore noted that they'd recently decided to chip in tens of millions of dollars on added research just to keep the F-35 facade upright for a few more months. Wayne Marston and Giguere both asked whether Jim Flaherty would countenance improvements to the CPP, only to be told that the Cons have no interest in anything other than funneling private savings into the financial sector. James Bezan proposed a bill to inform Canadians of the dangers of tanning beds. Dennis Bevington wondered how a government supposedly interested in northern security could shut down the only Coast Guard office in the western Arctic. And Marie-Claude Morin asked whether the Cons would bother to renew social housing agreements to allow for some level of stability for vital social services - with Diane Finley's response pointing to past spending suggesting otherwise.

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