2013 12 17
Lowlight #15: Conservatives Attack Parliament


Stephen Harper’s Conservatives had a very bad year.

Plagued by an expense scandal and cover-up reaching right to the top of the prime minister’s office, Conservatives have shown they are a tired and out-of-gas government.

We are condensing a year’s worth of Conservative lowlights into a countdown of the top 15 examples of Conservative blunders, scandals and ineptitude.


Conservatives attack Parliament, undermine democracy

“We have closure today precisely because there is no deadline and there are no plans...the government is simply increasingly embarrassed by the state of the debate and it needs to move on.”  – Stephen Harper, House of Commons, December 9, 2002

Once, a young Stephen Harper railed against closure and other parliamentary tricks designed to shut down public debate – when it was the Liberals using these heavy handed tactics to ram legislation through the House of Commons. But that was way back when Conservatives like Harper talked about reforming Parliament, not shutting it down.

Now, Stephen Harper presides over a government that uses every trick in the book to evade the scrutiny of the public or the opposition.

The Conservatives’ 2013 track record of undermining Parliament:

  • Shut down debate more than any other government in Canadian history. 37 times this year and over 50 times since 2011, eclipsing Brian Mulroney’s record of 35 times between 1988-’93
  • Rammed through much of their legislation in omnibus budget bills, amending hundreds of different laws with barely any study or oversight
  • Padlocked parliament through prorogation to dodge questions on the Senate cover-up 
  • Parliamentary Committees are regularly forced by the government into secret in camera sessions, shutting out the media and the public alike

Canadians deserve better.

While other leaders have been missing in action, Tom Mulcair has been showing up to work on behalf of Canadians – holding Stephen Harper accountable and putting forward practical solutions to help families make ends meet.

Together we've shown just how much New Democrats can accomplish.

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