Opposition withstands the audacity of 'nope'
NDP MPs Nathan Cullen, and Nycole Turmel speak to reporter in the foyer of the House of Commons to give an update on the voting on amendments to the budget Bill C38 in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, June 14, 2012. (Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Friday, June 15, 2012 4:41PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, June 15, 2012 4:42PM EDT
Your MPs stood and sat on command for 22 hours and 45 minutes of non-stop voting in the House of Commons this week.
It was a gesture of futility; a signal of abject frustration; a rebellion of the opposition eunuchs against the tyranny of a Conservative majority.
The opposition parties forced a vote on 159 amendments to the government's landfill dump of contentious legislation.
And 159 times their efforts were thrown under the omnibus while they were ridiculed for challenging this government's flawless legislation lest they interfere with the Conservative's alleged mandate.
It was the Audacity of Nope.
Consider these facts. The biggest changes in the budget's implementation bill were never mentioned in the 2011 campaign literature. Little of substance has connection to the government's spending blueprint for this year. And all of it was proposed for enactment without accepting one comma of change by opposition forces representing 60 per cent of the votes cast in the last federal election.
This, the government says, is parliamentary reality in 2012. It's all about the economy, stupid. We define what that means. So shut up, sit down and take it like a nobody.
Well, not so fast. This week's opposition onslaught of amendment votes slowed and showcased the government's not-so-secret agenda for radical change.
The tactic attracted widespread media attention, gave time for external opponents to galvanize and, hopefully, delivers the message that Canada is not governed by prime ministerial edict.
Sure, the repetitive roll call of MPs represents parliamentary inaction, as in money-wasting, footdragging, paralysis. But at least it was democracy in action, as in a government facing opposition making serious suggestions for improvement.
The opposition parties deserve credit. They stood as one against the vast unchecked, unbalanced powers of a Canadian majority government.
They proved that if you want to impose major change under the cover of an omnibus bill, you've got to stand up for what you believe in. Even if that means standing for 159 recorded votes spanning 23 hours.