Burn Before Reading

September 15, 2008

For those of you unfamiliar with Canada’s Parliamentary system of Legislation and the passage of a bill into law, according to the Government of Canada’s Glossary of Parliamentary Procedure A to Z (ahem, that’s zed, NOT zee…), under “passage (of a bill)” it lists the following:

The process by which a bill obtains parliamentary approval and becomes law. The principal steps in the passage of a public bill by the House of Commons are: introduction; first reading; second reading; committee stage; report stage; and third reading. After completing similar stages in the Senate, the bill goes forward for Royal Assent.

So what does that have to do with a post titled “Burn Before Reading”?

A bit of background: the Prime Minister of Canada and leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Stephen Harper, called a snap-election on September 7th, 2008.

More background: Said PM and his Conservative government had tabled legislation to bring in a fixed election date system, Bill C-16.

It had, in fact, been passed in the House of Commons, gone through most of the other steps and was awaiting its third and final reading before being sent to the Governor General for Royal Assent and becoming a law.

This had been one of Harper’s election planks, and truth be told, probably the only reasonable thing on the Conservative agenda.

This election has been called well in advance of the date it would have been scheduled, had the bill received third reading and been passed into law.

It’s made me very angry — this is not the first time I’ve commented on it, just the first time I’ve blogged about it.

You may have happened across some of my ranting already in my Twitter feed (where I’m @eel_trebor), on identi.ca (where I’m roblee), in my Facebook status and most recently in Episode 36 of John Meadows’ most excellent podcast On The Log that I guest hosted/produced for him.

The rant in On The Log touches on other scandals involving Harper and the Conservative Party, such as their refusal to testify to the House Committee investigating an illegal In-Out campaign financing scheme that the Conservatives used to circumvent spending limits during the last election and the Cadman affair.

If you’d like to hear the full rant, it’s in the second half of Episode 36.  While you are at the shownotes page, you should check out some “real” episodes of On The Log, the ones hosted by John Meadows himself.

It’s definitely a podcast worth subscribing to.