And no, I don't mean the budget. Though Mr. Harper may have been hoping that the budget would distract us. It didn't.
What happened was, that MP Mark Warawa's Motion 408 ("That the House condemn discrimination against females occurring through sex-selective pregnancy termination") was deemed non-votable by the Subcommittee on Private Members' Business of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
This means that the motion will not be allowed to go before Parliament to be voted on by members in the House. Yet the Motion was in fact deemed to be votable by the Library of Parliament according to the strict rules by the House.
This is what Vice-President and General Legal Counsel Don Hutchinson, from the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, has to say about this:
“The criteria for votability is quite simple, house motions must address federal jurisdiction, they cannot clearly violate constitutional documents, they cannot concern questions that are ‘substantially the same as ones already voted on by the House of Commons in the current Parliamentary session’ and they must not concern issues already on the Order Paper or Notice Paper as items of government business. In our estimation and according to our research, Motion M-408 clearly and easily met these requirements.”
I hope all Canadians who believe in the democratic process, especially as it pertains to our elected Members of Parliament who are not exempt from following the rules, will write to the committee members and to the Prime Minister Harper about this. I did and my email and the pertinent email addresses are below. Also write to your own MP and ask them to stand up for democracy on this issue.
Dear Mr. Harper, Mr. Armstrong, Mr. Dion, Mr. Toone, Mr. MacKenzie,
Today Motion 408 was deemed non-votable by the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.
I must express my very deep concern and disappointment regarding this very disturbing affront to democracy in Canada.
As you know, the Motion was deemed votable by an impartial expert from your own Library of Parliament, so there was absolutely no reason for this to happen.
This Motion was not even a Bill; all it asked for, was for all parties to condemn discrimination against females occurring through sex-selective pregnancy termination or gendercide in this country. This is something that all of the parties have said in the past that they were against.
If any of you did not want to vote for the Motion at the time it was put before Parliament, that is one thing. However to prevent it from ever seeing the light of day is something else altogether. This action is a shameful mark on our country which prides itself as being a strong, free and democratic nation, one of the best in the world.
It is my sincerest hope and prayer that Mr. Warawa's appeal against this unfair and unjust ruling succeeds.