Speaker maintains MPs' rights to oppose government
House of Commons speaker Andrew Scheer delivers his ruling on amendments to the budget bill in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Monday, June 11, 2012. (Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Wednesday, December 12, 2012 4:49PM EST
OTTAWA -- The Speaker of the House of Commons is flatly rejecting Conservative procedural arguments in order to protect the role of MPs to hold the government to account.
The latest Conservative omnibus budget bill sparked a procedural battle over how many separate votes the opposition could force, and which MPs would be allowed to propose changes.
Peter Van Loan, the government House leader, argued that since the Conservatives have a majority government, the outcome of votes is preordained.
Van Loan said Speaker Andrew Scheer should have bundled all the opposition motions together in the interests of speed and efficiency.
Van Loan also argued Independent MPs -- such as Green party Leader Elizabeth May -- shouldn't be allowed to introduce late amendments.
Scheer's ruling stressed that holding governments to account is an indispensible privilege of elected MPs, and reminded Van Loan that Canada has a "parliamentary democracy, not a so-called executive democracy nor a so-called administrative democracy."