Come clean NDP! Questioning the real motives of the NDP stealth campaign against the Canadian wine industry
Originally published on the DaninOttawa.com site on June 1, 2012.
Some good news to report - late yesterday afternoon the NDP confirmed to Free My Grapes that the NDP would not be proposing any amendments to Bill C-311. All going well by this time next week the Bill will be on the way to the Senate and we all can raise a toast to Free My Grapes. A special thank you again to Shirley Ann George for her tireless work in helping to move the Bill along. Also a thank you to all of the many Canadian wine fans and those within the wine industry as well - your efforts are greatly appreciated!
To find out more about Shirley Ann and her work at Free My Grapes (many people refer to Bill C-311 as the 'Free My Grapes' bill and it is largely due to her tireless work and passion on this subject), take a look at www.freemygrapes.ca
One of the questions I have been most frequently asked over the past 48 hours is why did the NDP intentionally filibuster Bill C-311 on Tuesday night at first hour debate?
As much as the NDP has suggested the mistake was a “procedural error” and/or a “communications mixup”, the reality is that the way Parliament works you simply do not have 5 different MP’s show up with full length pre-written speeches by accident. Seriously, how do five MP’s show up at any event with fully pre-written speeches all by accident? These activities have to be scheduled well in advance, much as the speeches researched and pre-written and the MP’s in the house ready to talk out the time.
I am not suggesting that the NDP did not make a serious mistake, however I am pointing out the obvious in that the filibuster was a well coordinated and pre-mediated effort. The real mistake was the decision to stage the filibuster and delay the bill; however that is not the reason for this particular post as I believe there is a far more important issue for both the Canadian wine industry and supports to be aware of. I would like to draw your attention to these comments from NDP House leader Nathan Cullen taken from a Wednesday, May 30th interview….
But Cullen said New Democrats have offered to ensure Bill C-311 passes before the summer break.
"We've already moved to allow the bill to get through before the summer recess, and so I have no idea why the Conservatives are lighting their hair on fire. They are trying to cause a controversy where there is none," he said.
He disputes Albas' claims that the opposition is demanding amendments to the bill, dubbed 'free my grapes", instead accusing the Conservatives of suffering hangovers from recent polling or bad news on the budget.
Note that Mr. Cullen publicly disputes that the NDP is demanding amendments in trying to delay the passage of Bill C-311. Mr. Cullen is obviously hoping that Canadians will not take the time to read what the NDP actually said in the house during the C-311 debate on Tuesday evening. These NDP quotes are taken directly from Hansard as read into the record by NDP MP Claude Gravelle….
“ I will read into the record the amendment that we want to add. This amendment has to do with making the wine with 100% Canadian grapes. The amendment would add these words: “The importation of wine from a province where the wine is made with 100% Canadian grapes, by an individual if the individual brings the wine or causes it to brought into another province quantities, and as permitted by law of the latter province, for his or her personal consumption and not for resale or other commercial use.”
Clearly Mr.Cullen is for whatever reason attempting to hide what the NDP was really doing in the House on Tuesday night when they delayed the Bill and at the same time were, contrary to what Mr. Cullen said publicly, were indeed proposing amendments that would kill the bill. Why kill the Bill? This type of an amendment as proposed by the NDP through MP Gravelle would be deemed non trade complaint and subject to a challenge.
When I heard this alarming language in the House from the NDP I immediately attempted to raise a point of order in establishing that the bill had gone through committee stage review without any recommendations for amendments. I was overruled by the Speaker and debate continued. What is deeply concerning to me was the response to my attempted point of order from the NDP through MP Gravelle and again I will quote directly from Hansard….
“Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the member for Okanagan—Coquihalla letting us know about this. However, I want to make sure that he knows that we will be introducing some amendments, and those amendments are about making the wine with 100% Canadian grapes.“
As I have already stated, this amendment would ultimately have the effect of killing the Bill. My concern is that Mr. Cullen publicly denies that the NDP is demanding amendments and yet within the House it is clear that the NDP is telling a very different story. In the House the NDP says they “will” introduce an amendment that would kill the bill.
It would seem that Thomas Mulcair and the NDP tell Canadians one thing publicly and state something very differently within the House. Perhaps if enough Free My Grape supporters can contact the NDP to come clean and clarify their position on the NDP Bill killing amendment, the NDP can be convinced to admit that promises of an amendment were a also mistake as well, be it procedural, communication or whatever else.
Come clean NDP. It is time to Free the Grapes!
In addition to his weekly MP Report. the Dan in Ottawa blog is another resource for residents of Okanagan-Coquihalla. Chronicling Dan’s personal experiences as he travels to Ottawa and throughout the riding as your MP.
For more information about Dan Albas, click here.