OTTAWA – The Green Party of Canada is outraged that Green, Bloc Quebecois, and independent MPs will all be denied the right to formally examine the highly controversial Bill C-23, the so-called Fair Elections Act, at the committee stage.
At the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs this morning, NDP Deputy Leader David Christopherson brought forward a motion to enable independents and members of smaller Parliamentary parties to question witnesses and to speak at the committee. The motion was voted down by the committee's Conservative majority.
“We are extremely disappointed by the committee’s decision this morning,” said Elizabeth May, the Green Leader and Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands. “Bill C-23 is an unprecedented assault on Canadian democracy – it is critically important that all parties have the opportunity to properly examine it, to speak out against it, and have a meaningful opportunity to amend it.”
“We can’t claim to be surprised that this government would want to silence independent voices,” said Bruce Hyer, the Green Democratic Reform critic and Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay-Superior North. “But there's a particular irony in the fact that the discussion we are being shut out of is on legislation aimed at denying thousands of Canadians their fundamental democratic rights."