Saturday, February 16

Conservatives Playing Politics with the Criminal Code and Afghan situation

Some of you will guess that with the Provincial Election call it was appropriate that it is appropriate that I minimize my own campaigning and you guessed it, I'm assisting the local Provincial Candidates while also keeping tabs federally. Since last note I've attended more community meetings, educational sessions and keep up with the latest from Ottawa. Of course, as you might guess, some of it bothers me especially when I know that we are fed info taken out of context and distorted. Consequently, I felt challenged to help correct the info and sent the following to the Herald but felt it should appear here too for the benefit of those who did not see it:

It bothers me how Mr. Harper and the Conservative government continues to distort the truth by taking things out of context and/or giving only part of the story on such important matters that affect us and appear to be getting away with it. I trust people realize they have been doing this for quite some time most recently with respect to Afghanistan and the crime legislation they want passed really want rubber-stamped, likely so they can help shore up their claims to get rid of the Senate which as we all know is supposed to be the “house of sober second thought” before final proclamation. They claimed that Bill C-2, the omnibus Justice legislation, was being held up in the Senate really only had a dozen days because of breaks, week-ends etc. They said they considered the bill a confidence matter and threatened an election if it is not passed by the end of the month, and said they would introduce a confidence motion in the House to that effect.

The Conservatives said the bill was stalled in the Senate for 68 days; however, what they failed to mention was that this total included the Holiday break and weekends. By the Conservatives' logic, their Justice Minister was also absent from the House for most of the 68 day period. The bill was introduced in the Senate on November 29. Second reading debate began on the next possible day, and the bill passed Second reading in 6 sitting days, on December 12. The Senate then adjourned on Dec. 14, and debate resumed in the committee as soon as the new session began.

Mr. Dion made clear Liberal intention of bringing down the government on the motion the Liberal Party has been dealing seriously with crime legislation for the past year and a half while the Conservatives have been playing partisan games, latest being they manufactured this crisis, to push for an election. They, the Conservatives allowed months to pass between introducing their justice bills in their original form and bringing them forward for debate; so why the sudden change of heart?

The public should be aware the Senate Committee dealing with Bill C-2 agreed to extend its sitting hours as well as to meet at irregular meeting times, including during the February Parliamentary break week to deal with it. Also, it should be noted that there have been no filibusters in the Senate, unlike the Conservatives¹ ongoing bad behavior in the House as they try to prevent the procedures and house affairs committee from looking into their in-and-out election spending scandal. Could it be that the Conservatives want Canadians to believe the Liberals are delaying this legislation, the fact is, the government could have re-introduced the individual elements of the bill at the stages they were at when the House was prorogued last spring. Instead, they chose to amalgamate 5 bills, including bills the Liberals had offered to fast-track, and start the process over. Actually the Liberals put more effort into passing the government's crime bills in the last session than the Conservatives did. What can we expect next? Wouldn’t the time be better spent attending to Canadian’s needs with respect to the environment, water management, health and child development programs, affordable housing and education, manpower, farming and industry and manufacturing etc; in short, governing.

Michael Cormican, Federal Liberal Candidate, Lethbridge Riding

P.S. Some of the above was quoted from Party reports and some of it generated by me. Also, since I compiled the above earlier in the week it was nice to see some change of heart and concurrence by the Government with the alternative motion put forward by our Liberal Opposition on Afghanistan. Once again I want to remind you that I appreciate feedback to help me reflect your issues and can be contacted at 381-7635.

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