Trudeau’s Senate representative slams ‘obstructionist’ Conservative delay tactics in new report [e.g., C-6]
2017/04/06 Leave a comment
The Conservative caucus use of procedural delaying tactics is certainly evident with respect to C-6 Citizenship Act changes:
In a scathing new document, the government’s representative in the Senate slams Conservatives for “zealously” delaying government bills.
In the 21-page “discussion paper,” Sen. Peter Harder says “obstructionist” senators are “time-wasting,” delaying the Liberal government’s agenda and blocking Senate modernization to score their own “partisan points.” He proposes an all-party “business committee” set schedules based on individual bills to ensure House business doesn’t indefinitely stall in the Senate.
The committee idea itself is a “very good” one, says Conservative senator Stephen Greene, but Harder “made the acceptance of the structure a bit difficult on our side because he took a few potshots at Conservatives, and the reaction on our side might not be too pleasant, to put it mildly.”
Greene said Conservatives are using tactics available to any opposition, and that Liberals have used in the past. “Filibustering and delaying tactics are not bad things in and of themselves, if they’re used with restraint,” he said. “From Sen. Harder’s point of view, it might look excessive, but from the Conservative point of view, it’s not.”
The paper, dated Friday, is being circulated to senators this week following further delays for the Liberals’ citizenship bill, C-6. The bill, which repeals major elements of Harper-era citizenship legislation (Bill C-24), has languished in the Senate since last June.
Voting on a third-reading amendment to the bill was delayed throughout the evening last Thursday by various adjournment motions from the Conservatives. It was a longer-than-average evening with lengthy waiting periods in between votes on the motions. At one point, the Independent Senators Group ordered pizza for itself. Greene called the session a “trainwreck.”
“The apparent strategy is to hinder the progress of government bills, even those that seek to enact clear election promises, for as long as possible,” Harder writes in his paper, listing other examples of delays.
“Some Senators would prefer for the Senate to remain stuck in time, available as a platform to advance partisan interests. … Sober second thought has become a game of procedural cat-and-mouse.”
Harder says a business committee would make collaborative decisions on time management with input from leaders of each caucus or group, the bill’s sponsor and critic, and the chair of the committee to which the bill would likely be referred.