Friday, May 28, 2010

Harper mirrors Obama's tactics

Full disclosure...

Last spring and summer during the Health Care and Budget and Stimulus debates in the US, I was a regular viewer of Fox News. No, not just Hannity and O'Reilly, but Van Sustern, Fox & Friends, and Hemmer/various cohosts.

While I was watching, I marveled at how big the bills were that were being passed as routine without perusal. I marveled at the 1400 and 3000 page documents were being passed by both Houses without so much as a glance at what they contained.

Now for those people that might disparage me for watching Fox News, the message was always the same from those guys. They would point to various sections of the Bills and ask this person or that person (sometimes sypathetic sometimes hostile, always respectful) either what that section meant to them, or whether they thought it should be in the bill. The segments would normally end with the host questioning what the rush was to pass this stuff.

While watching those shows, I was proud to be a Canadian and know that all of our legislation, at least for the past 4 years, has gone through at a snail's pace, with absolutely every word scrutinized. Such is the case when a Conservative is in Power but doesn't have the majority. All the opposition parties search every bill to see if there is something that might bolster their "hidden agenda" conspiracy theory, or to find that one little thing that might make the government look bad. I was also proud to know that the bills that are passed up here are usually nowhere NEAR the monsters that were going through the legislative process in the US.

The funny thing is that Mr. Harper has taken a play out of the Democrat's playbook, and there really isn't much they can do about it:

In 2009, the government introduced 1,617 pages of legislation. The Budget Implementation Bill currently before the House of Commons contains 880 pages--more than half of the entire workload of Parliament last year.
But complain they will, and in the end, a federal case will be made out of it. There is one thing to point out though:

Mr. Harper wouldn't have done this if he didn't think he could. Let's be honest here folks, he knows full well that the Opposition parties don't want an election, and this is just an extension of his brinksmanship strategy that was being employed the last 4 spring sessions. Long story short, this is his way of effectively getting things done without the hassle of delays and filibusters and other tactics of the opposition.

The author of the story is upset that Mr. Harper did this in order to get his legislations passed, but I would point out that there was nothing that said that the Opposition parties couldn't say ANYTHING about the bills. Parliamentary procedure involves a debate and discussion, both in the House and outside of it. I submit that the commentary shouldn't be "Harper is bad because he forced all this stuff that isn't money related through the House", the commentary should really be "WHERE THE HELL WAS THE OPPOSITION DURING THIS DEBATE?"

I'll end on a quote from the author of the article for your consideration:

"There are two sides in the House, and those opposing interests have to be reconciled. First, the government is entitled to get its legislation through in a reasonable time-frame. Secondly, Parliament has the right to consider legislation. If you don't balance these rights, the end product is an abomination like this bill."
I submit that the government did its job, can anyone say the Opposition did the same?

No comments:

Post a Comment