Friday, February 16, 2007

Back-Seat Governing?

Here's a scary thought.... What if the Liberals decide to implement their entire 2006 platform through a series of private member's bills? If C-288 (the Kyoto Implementation Bill) worked, what's to stop them from moving forward with the rest of their programme? John Ivison's column suggests that Paul Martin is preparing to move a 'Kelowna Implementation Bill', requiring the government to come up with a plan to implement a Liberal pact with Aboriginal groups. (The bill was to be debated last night, but the government managed to delay it's introduction.) What next? A Liberal childcare plan? As long as the Bloc and NDP are on-side, and as long as the bill "asks the House to approve certain objectives" (i.e., make a plan) as opposed to "asking the House to approve the measures to achieve certain objectives" (i.e., spend money), the Speaker is prepared to allow its passage. It's a fuzzy distinction, though. Back-seat governing is an interesting tactic, but questionably constitutional. At some point, the government will have to come up with a counter-strategy.


whichwaysthegym said...

The Opposition is simply afraid to force an election for fear of another Tory win, so maybe this is their tactic. But they've already screwed themselves by proposing the Kyoto Bill. This gives the Tories an opportunity to pull the plug on themselves.

ACB said...

I too commend the PM for agreeing to abide by the motion - fuzzy as it is. The question I have is how did the Speaker allow this to happen? We all know Private Members' bills cannot introduce spedning measures, which this one clearly would. And let's not even start with the Kelowna Accord. Seems to me that this could be the last time we see the Hon. Mr. Milliken in the big chair. Parliament (and that's Parliament as a whole) has given himself enough rope to hang himself - and it's about time the rope comes tight.

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