Originally published on the DaninOttawa.com site on October 21, 2011.
Originally in the Private Members Bill lottery, I was drawn as number 12 in the order of precedence. My caucus colleague from South Surrey – White Rock – Cloverdale, MP Russ Hiebert, was drawn as number 1 on the list. This meant that for second reading debate, MP Hiebert would be leading off first on Thursday, October 20th. With my being number 12th on the list, I was schedule for second reading debate on Friday, November the 4th, the final sitting day of the House of Commons before the week long break in honor of Remembrance Day.
However as I have now discovered, sometimes strange things occur in the world of politics. MP Russ Hiebert was set to introduce a Private Members Bill C-317 that would require Labor Unions to provide full public disclosure of their financial information in the same manner as non-profit charities are currently required. Rather than publically debating the contents of this Bill, for whatever reason the NDP decided to try and use a procedural challenge to delay or otherwise prevent Bill C-317 from kicking off second reading debate on Thursday, October 20th. What the NDP is afraid of within this Bill I have no idea, nor is it the intent of this blog post to speculate on that issue. Ultimately the NDP succeeded at least temporarily, in ensuring that Bill C-317 would not be part of second reading debate on Thursday, October 20th. This of course, created an opening for another Private Members Bill to be debated in place of Bill C-317. The challenge was that I learned of this only in the late afternoon on Tuesday, October 18th. I had of course already planned the days leading up to my previously scheduled PMB debate date of November the 4th. This meant that in order to take advantage of this opportunity for moving my Bill forward into this opening, I had to try and squeeze two more weeks of preparation time into roughly 48 hours.
I have to first thank many of the local wineries in my riding and elsewhere who have availed themselves to literally be on standby for consultation on extremely short notice at almost all hours of the day and sometimes evenings. Once again, first thing Wednesday morning more extensive discussion occurred in support of Bill C-311. Wednesday night soon became Thursday morning and then the afternoon, however by 5:30 pm, the schedule time for the kickoff of Private Members Bills for the 41st Parliament, we were ready to go. For reference to my speech in support of Bill C-311 please refer to my previous blog posts on this site.
Private members Bills are generally free votes in the House and in fairness it is not always easy to predict how your Bill will be received by your colleagues, and more so from those in the other parties. After delivering my speech I was questioned by several members from the other parties, including a member from my own party. Afterwards members from the NDP, and both a member from the Liberals and Green Party had a chance to respond to Bill C-311. It was an extremely heartening experience for me to learn that the members who spoke on Bill C311 were all in favor of sending it forward to committee stage. In fact, it was very rewarding to see that Kings-Hants Liberal MP Scott Brison was very passionate about this issue, as was Saanich-Gulf Islands Green Party MP Elizabeth May. Likewise both NDP MP Hoang Mai from Brossard – La Prairie and MP Randall Garrison from Esquimalt- Juan De Fuca recognized the potential economic benefits of Bill C311 and the need to support small business that ultimately is what the vast majority of wineries really are. In short, the good news is that the first hour of debate went extremely well and the second hour of debate is schedule for early December. All going well Bill C-311 will be beading to Committee Stage before the Christmas break so things are moving in a positive direction thanks to my colleagues on all sides of the house.
I am feeling somewhat exhausted and am just on my way to fly back to the riding in order to attend a variety of events in the communities of Okanagan-Coquihalla. I will be back in Ottawa on Monday and would like to wish everyone a safe and enjoyable weekend.
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.
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