Editorial: Democracy wilting in Ottawa

While lumping numerous pieces of legislation in one giant omnibus bill may not be precedent-setting, we fear it threatens our democracy.

While the lumping together of numerous pieces of federal legislation in one giant omnibus bill may not be precedent-setting, we fear that doing so threatens to reduce our democracy to mere window dressing.

Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, still relatively young in its first majority, is attempting to reduce the level of debate on specific issues relating to everything from environmental protection to military spending to multiculturalism. No aspect of governmental operations is being spared here.

Our concern is that sections of the bill pinpointed by hard-working MPs as troublesome – remember, this bill affects every ministry – cannot possibly be given the time they need to discuss potential problems with implementation before regulations and budgets get put in place.

It’s not just opposing MPs who have been left scrambling by this tactic. Even Conservative MPs are forced to bone up on all aspects of the government’s budget legislation. Who’s got time for that? And how can we expect any of our elected representatives to be well-versed on even half of the legislation tabled?

Meanwhile, Opposition and other MPs have tabled 800 possible amendments to the bill, which will no doubt cause further confusion and anxiety among this country’s lawmakers as the bill goes through the debate process.

The feds have argued that time is of the essence as they work to keep our economy from spiralling as a growing number of European countries are experiencing.

Still, that is not reason enough to subvert the democratic process and allow for the kind of proper debate that Canadians have come to expect.

To use a well-used phrase, this can only end badly, both for the continuity of services, checks and balances in this country and the preservation of the type of democracy we all voted for – Conservatives, New Democrats, Liberals and Greens alike.

Just Posted

Chinese Culture to light up 2019 Victoria Day Parade

Groups hopes Greater Victorians ‘view the culture, embrace the friendship’

Struggling Victoria adoption agency elects new board that intends to keep it open

The previous board announced that Choices would close May 31

Royal and McPherson Society pleads its case to Victoria council

‘Dark days’ at Royal, user groups’ weekend priorities make scheduling other entertainment challenging

Uplands Park champion to earn provincial award

B.C. Community Award for Margaret Lidkea coincides with Sunday’s volunteer celebration

Oak Bay Sgt. struggles through emotional testimony in double murder trial

Andrew Berry is charged with second-degree murder in deaths of daughters Chloe (6) and Aubrey (4)

VIDEO: Killer whales hunt for seals in Vancouver harbour

Bigg’s killer whales feed on marine mammals like seals, sea lions, dolphins and even other whales

Wanted by Crime Stoppers

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you think the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris should be rebuilt?

Images of one of the word’s most iconic landmarks were seared into… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C.’s waving granny gets incredible send-off from school kids

Tinney Davidson has been waving at students on their way to school for over 11 years, but is moving in a month

Island-born Snowbirds pilot enjoying homecoming in skies over Comox

Logan Reid once stood clinging onto the fence outside the Comox Air… Continue reading

Attack on student in Courtenay ‘way more than bullying’, says mom

A Comox Valley mother said “it was way more than bullying” at… Continue reading

Vancouver man, 19, charged in human trafficking case involving teen girl

The 16-year-old girl was reported missing and later discovered in Vancouver

Blaine, Wash. inn owner, charged with smuggling people into B.C., granted bail

Robert Joseph Boule ordered to turn away anyone indicating a plan to enter Canada illegally

Most Read