MPs’ powers are being eroded

A late Parliament Hill shuttle bus drew a complaint from Skeena - Bulkley Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen

A late Parliament Hill shuttle bus drew a complaint from Skeena - Bulkley Valley NDP MP Nathan Cullen. He says there’s more to the story than first meets the eye.

Dear Sir:

I read with great interest Claudette Sandecki’s “Seconds delayed is no reason to complain” column in the May 13, 2015 issue of The Terrace Standard about a recent problem I and other MPs had with access to Parliament Hill for a vote.

I sense that Ms. Sandecki missed the central point of my concern, one that has been raised time and again over the years – and at least five times since the 2011 election.

Access to Parliament by MPs – and the ability of MPs to vote – isn’t a negotiable idea under Canadian law for a very good reason: there are countless examples of bills becoming law, or not, and even governments falling, or not, by the casting of one single vote.

The recent changes to Parliament security pushed through in an omnibus bill by the Conservatives will forever change this tradition by removing the House of Commons (and the Speaker who represents us all) as the final say over our Parliament.

In Canada, we separate the legislative (the House) and the executive (the Prime Minister and his cabinet) for a very good reason.

Giving all the power just to the executive is incredibly dangerous and is resisted in democracies the world over.

What may seem like a small thing is, at its heart, a critical principle of Canadian democracy. Members of Parliament are elected to represent their constituents in the House of Commons, and we do that, often most importantly, by voting. That right to vote and represent our constituents is something worth protecting.

Nathan Cullen,

Member of Parliament

Skeena – Bulkley Valley