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Conservatives Show Anti-Democratic Tendencies

From June 6, 2008

On June 4th, 2008, the House of Commons passed Bill C-377, the Climate Change Accountability Act, by a count of 148 - 116. It was a private member's bill, brought forward by NDP leader Jack Layton, and was passed with the combined votes of the Liberals, Bloc Quebecois, and the NDP. Now in the Senate, the act will become law on the day it receives royal assent, and will require the Canadian Government to prepare and implement rigorous environmental policies. But the Conservatives already assert that they will not comply with law.

Says Conservative MP Gary Lunn, "The NDP can throw out numbers but there has to be reality to them. The reality is they're not in government and never will be, so they can just throw out [any] numbers they want."

Unfortunately for Lunn, a partnership of opposition parties has, in fact, the power to create legislation. In a majority government, the Conservatives would have been able to quash the effort easily, but in a minority government, the opposition has the ability to pass private member bills. The Conservatives' only strategy, which they assumed happily, was to filibuster debate and committee long enough that the bill would never come to a vote. But Harper's minority government has lasted so long that the Cons' stall tactics were not enough to prevent third reading and adoption.

It is telling that Harper's Conservative government feels they are entitled to behave like a majority government when the Canadian voters only gave them a minority. Their position on the legitimacy of C-377 is anti-democratic and should be shunned.