No Debate, No Fuss

Prime Minister Stephen Harper can pass any legislation he wants.  The only trouble he can get into is if public opinion rises in opposition. To limit the chances of the public getting that mad at him, Harper has used closure seven times to end debate in parliament on legislation, including the Wheat Board and the Gun Registry. I expect few governments have used closure so often, so early in their government.

Another tactic the Harper conservatives are using is in committees.  These committees are meant to study legislation, hear from witnesses and to possibly modify bills due to unforeseen problems or consequences not intended by the legislation.  The Harper government is using its majority to actually prevent the study of bills. One less chance that the public will have to see what the legislation would mean to them when passed.

From the Globe and Mail today...

The Conservatives on the Commons veterans affairs committee have halted a study that was forced upon them by the opposition into the trimming of hundreds of millions of dollars from the department that provides services and benefits to former soldiers.
As a result, the public won’t hear from veterans or the veterans ombudsman about the cuts, Liberal MP Sean Casey told a news conference on Thursday. “It is a gross abuse of the public trust,” he said. “And yet these same Conservatives wrap themselves in the flag while cutting funding to the Veterans Affairs department.”

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