Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Private Member's Business is not Government Business

On Monday this week, Lowell Green said on his talk show on CFRA that:
"the Prime Minister campaigned that he would not reopen the abortion debate and that every single Conservative MP campaigned with that promise" because they signed up for Conservative policy.

(Listen to Lowell Green's April 1 broadcast here.)

I disagreed with Mr. Green on what he was saying. Not only did I disagree with him, but I felt he had his facts wrong and he kept arguing with at least one caller, that because the Conservative MPs had signed on to the Conservative policy, that they had no right to bring up anything related to abortion.

I sent an email to the station manager Steve Winogron (the station manager) and copied Mr. Green.

I told them the following:
"On yesterday's Lowell Green show, Lowell stated that "the Prime Minister campaigned that he would not reopen the abortion debate and that every single Conservative MP campaigned with that promise." That is not the case at all. That is categorically an untrue statement. MPs are not breaking their promises and this is very upsetting to many of us, that Lowell would say this on CFRA which has a wide audience and following. People will believe that he is correct. Lowell kept repeating that the MPs campaigned on that platform. Not true.

Individual MPs are completely within their rights to to bring forward items of Private Members Business, that is, Bills or Motions, and this has nothing to do with the government not reopening the abortion debate.

Lowell said that MPs must support Party policy, and yes, MPs do support the Party policy. And that policy since 2005 as we know, says that the Government won't bring forward abortion legislation, but it says nothing about individual MPs' Private Members Business, which are completely separate from Government bills/motions, and have absolutely nothing to do with the government. And on an item of Private Members Business, the PM is equal to any other MP, and gets one vote like any other MP.

AND the Conservative Policy also says that MPs can vote their conscience on moral issues.

It is already a freedom of expression concern, that Lowell refuses to allow callers to discuss abortion on his show. Lowell will allow any person, to discuss any topic on his show, but he won’t allow them to discuss abortion. He is following the example of the politically correct people he disdains so much, by not giving a voice to pro-life people. It’s his show and I suppose he would argue that’s his right. But at the very least he should get his facts straight about Private Members' Business.

Private Members' Business is distinct from Government Business and to blur this distinction is unfair not only to individual Members of Parliament, but to their constituents, and to democracy."

Mr. Green wasn't happy with my email in his reply to me (something about going behind his back and stabbing him), but he never bothered to address the subject of my email, which was the definition of Private Member's Business, and how that allows MP's to bring forward their own bill or motion, regardless of the party's policies.

Mr. Green has a wide following and by him giving wrong information over the air waves, a large number of people can be, and will be mislead.

Besides having his information wrong, Mr. Green won't ever allow his listeners to discuss abortion on his show (as I mentioned above). Yet he never tires of telling us that freedom of expression is always allowed on his show. Yes it is. But only if you don't say the "A" word.

So I was pleased when this morning, Mark Sutcliffe said that this issue [of Mark Warawa's motion 408 being killed] is:
"one of the most important stories this year."

Mr. Sutcliffe believes it is good to disagree on subjects. He thinks on this issue Stephen Harper is wrong [not allowing Mark Warawa's motion to go forward]. That if 92% of Canadians are against sex-selection abortion, then the discussion should not be shut down. Mr. Sutcliffe thinks Mr. Harper has done a lot of good things, but does not agree with him on this issue. He continued:
"And I don't think there's anything wrong with saying he's wrong [i.e. that Stephen Harper is wrong]. That should be part of our system. It should be possible for an MP to get up and say, I like the Prime Minister, etc...we ran on the same platform, etc. I disagree with him on this particular issue...MPs are not employees of their parties. MPs are the employees of the people who elected them."

(Listen to Mark Sutcliffe's April 3 broadcast here.)

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