Dan Albas

COLUMN: Diminished Parliament means diminished accountability for Canadians

Bloc Quebecois and NDP use resumption of parliament as bargaining chip

This has been a highly unusual time in Ottawa.

Last week the leader of the Bloc Quebecois threatened the Trudeau Liberal government.

What was the threat?

That the Bloc would not support resuming regular in-person sittings of the House of Commons unless Prime Minister Trudeau agreed to a number of Bloc demands.

Not to be outdone, the NDP also used the threat of returning to regular parliament as a bargaining chip against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

In the case of the NDP, they offered to support continuing the suspension of parliament in exchange for the Liberal government attempting to implement mandatory paid sick leave for employees.

READ ALSO: COLUMN: Oversight of your tax dollars

READ ALSO: COLUMN: Examining the federal firearms ban

As you may have heard, the Trudeau Liberal government, desperately not wanting regular sittings of parliament to resume, accepted the NDP terms and are currently having discussions with the provinces and territories.

The reason why there are discussions, or more likely negotiations, is because, with the exception of federally regulated workplaces, the vast majority of Canadian workers full under provincial labour legislation.

It is deeply troubling that both the Bloc and the NDP used the resumption of regular sittings of parliament as a bargaining chip against Trudeau.

While the NDP are claiming a victory for their efforts to derail regular sittings of parliament in return for a commitment for mandatory paid sick leave, there is an inconvenient truth that the NDP is avoiding.

Had regular sessions of parliament resumed, the NDP could have introduced mandatory sick leave as an opposition day motion, where it could be properly discussed and debated on the floor of the House of Commons.

Already during this parliament there have been Opposition Day motions that have been passed despite the minority Liberal government voting against them.

Not only are there no Opposition Day motions, there will also be no private member’s business as well as a loss of other Parliamentary debates and discussions.

All of this will be in effect until Sept. 21 of this year, where the same political bargaining situation could resume.

Let’s be honest, this was not a health and safety related deal between the NDP opposition and the Liberal government.

MPs will continue to sit in Ottawa, in person, four days a week from now until June.

The difference is, that instead of sitting in regular Parliament for those four days, MP’s will instead continue to sit as part of the special COVID-19 committee.

As mentioned previously, the special COVID-19 committee meetings have limitations for opposition parties as well as for individual Members of Parliament.

I will state publicly that I am deeply disappointed in the NDP, who have denied the Official Opposition from being able to fully hold this Liberal government to account.

The job that voters sent us to do, to raise concerns on their behalf in Ottawa, is now seriously limited.

If the NDP did not want to do the job voters elected them to do, they could have remained at home in their ridings and allowed the Official Opposition to hold the Government to account.

Instead they cut a deal that diminishes our role to hold the government accountable during a critical time in Canadian history.

My question this week: What are your thoughts on this?

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola. This riding includes the communities of Kelowna, West Kelowna, Peachland, Summerland, Keremeos, Princeton, Merritt and Logan Lake.

To report a typo, email:
news@summerlandreview.com
.



news@summerlandreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Columnistfederal government

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Coalmont woman airlifted after ATV crash

Off-road vehicle swerved to miss oncoming traffic

Summerland campground to provide COVID-safe accommodations for temporary farm-workers

The managed seasonal worker campsite will be located within a separated area of Peach Orchard Municipal Campground

QUIZ: A celebration of dogs

These are the dog days of summer. How much do you know about dogs?

Princeton high school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

Bench plaque recognizes former Summerland firefighter

Volunteers with fire department set up plaque in honour of Richard Estabrooks

B.C. accommodators need phone lines to light up as in-province travel given green light

Travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have decimated the tourism and hospitality industries

300 Cache Creek residents on evacuation alert due to flood risk as river rises

Heavy rainfall on Canada Day has river rising steadily, threatening 175 properties

No abandoned Seadoo found on Coldstream lake

Vernon Search and Rescue crews and RCMP unable to find reported abandoned Seadoo on Kal Lake

Kelowna high school football star, water skier, signs with University of Calgary

Isaac Athans, and his family, have a long history of success across various sports in the Okanagan, nationally

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Shuswap resident spots waterspout near Salmon Arm

The rare weather event was spotted early in the morning on July 4.

Police searching for missing Lake Country man

David Anthony Jenken, 65, was reported missing Friday and was last seen on June 28

Most Read