Sometimes Democracy Is About Fighting
Once again Green Party Member of Parliament Elizabeth May (I never get tired of hearing that phrase) is threatening to stand up for democracy and parliament when almost no one else will. She is planning to use what parliamentary procedures she can to slow the passage of the budget bill as a protest against the way the Conservatives are ramming it through. Maybe we can hope that this along with other pressure I’m sure the NDP and Liberals are applying will convince the Conservatives that this level of disrespect for the process of parliament is going to cost them too much.
Parliament is meant to be a place of debate about ideas and policy. It is supposed to be slow in order to check government’s power and give the public a chance to react to each piece of legislation, with calls and letters to their MPs, blogs, phone-in shows, letters even heading out on the streets in protest if need be. That slow pace and pause between issues is actually important to make sure we can all keep up with what the government is doing in our name. That’s the only way citizens have a hope of speaking up to let our representatives know how we feel about an issue.
The Conservative Party seems to believe that once they get their election mandate they should have a free hand to act as swiftly as possible and not need to take any questions until the next election. That’s ridiculous. Just as ridiculous as their impatience to dramatically undercut the environmental regulation process in Canada so that industry can get more resources out of the ground as quickly as possible. The world isn’t going anywhere you know, in the long run the prices of Canada’s vast resources will only rise, not drop. As an economist one would hope that the Prime Minister realizes that Canada might do better in the long run by slowing the pace of resource extraction and setting up more value add industry in Canada. If more of the oil, minerals and lumber in Canada were being refined into final products rather than being shipped out raw we’d get more money and more jobs. So what’s the hurry?
In fact they are in such a rush that you’d almost think the Conservatives are worried they won’t be able to hold on to their majority next election or somehow won’t even finish out their full term, so they need to get everything done immediately. Nah, there must be another reason.