Originally published on the DaninOttawa.com site on May 31, 2012.
One aspect of having a majority Government is that not all Government members can sit on the same side of the House, a contingent of us actually sit on the “other side” of the House (not to be confused with the “other place”) and we are often referred to as the “Conservative corner caucus” One of the unique aspects to this seating arrangement is that it provides a great opportunity to get to know some opposition MP’s on a personal level more so then would be possible sitting on the Government side of the House. As a result of this shortly before 1st hour debate began on my Bill Tuesday evening I was told by an opposition NDP MP that the NDP would be delaying the passage of my Bill.
Soon after it became very obvious that the NDP had lined up enough speakers all with pre-written 10 minute speeches that indeed the intention was to run out the clock on the debate…this became blatantly obvious (except to a certain CBC reporter) once the completely irrelevant and unrelated topics that many NDP MP’s shared when burning up valuable debate time in the House. As an example Burnaby Douglas NDP MP Kennedy Stewart chose to debate about how he recently celebrated his mother’s birthday in Nova Scotia, that he was once a teenage babysitter and that he previously drove a truck. Are these really relevant points of debate? Should an entire Canadian wine industry loose an valuable season of potentially increased revenues solely so an NDP MP can take away time for a vote to tell us details of his personal life? While the need to debate disagreement is understandable do we really need 5 different NDP MP’s to debate on how much we agree with the Bill? Apparently so and in talking out the clock the NDP effectively filibustered my Private Members Bill sending it on to late October.
I was immensely frustrated afterwards by this NDP filibuster and I was determined not to give up, and not to take this sitting down. I immediately took my concerns and disappointment to twitter, to the telephone, to the industry and to my constituents. I have to say, reaction was more than swift. I also have new found respect for the power of Twitter as a medium that elected officials can use very efficiently to communicate through. The power of the people was simply incredible as the tweets grew like wildfire and my inbox filled with cc’s and bcc’s of angry emails sent by Canadians to their local NDP MP or directly to NDP leader Thomas Mulcair. I firmly believe, and granted it is only my own personal opinion, however I believe the real mistake made by Thomas Mulcair was seriously miscalculating the immediate level of public outrage that would result from the decision to use this filibuster.
Within hours of the debate filibuster I was contacted by the NDP who admitted that they had made a mistake in staging the filibuster and talking out the clock on the debate and wanted to try and “fix” the mistake they had created. How this was fixed I will discuss in my third and last installment on this topic. Before I close this segment I will say that full credit for bringing the NDP to publicly admitting they made this mistake belongs to the wine lovers of Canada as well as the industry who in no uncertain terms made it clear to Mr. Mulcair and the NDP that they had made a serious error in derailing Bill C-311. Power to the People!
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.