Roundup: Constituent consultation

In another instance of MPs breaking ranks, Conservative MP Scott Reid bucked the party by opting to vote to send the marijuana legalization bill to committee on second reading. Reid notes that he has favoured legalization since 2000, and it also didn’t escape anyone’s notice that his riding is home to a major medical marijuana factory which is also looking to scale up for the recreational market.

Of course, Reid is putting this with conditions, which is that he wants amendments to the bill at committee, which includes raising the legal age to 21 (because that will totally help kill the black market), and allowing communities to maintain their own prohibitions (again, good luck with the black market). More interestingly is the fact that Reid is promising a “constituency referendum” on whether or not he should vote for the bill at third reading.

It’s this referendum that I have questions about, but Reid points out in his statement that he has done this thrice before, so I’m not sure by what method he did (phone poll? Online voting?) and it’s more indicative of the Reform Party era where this sort of thing was promised a lot, and then rapidly fell into disuse because it’s not easy to organize, especially on a consistent basis with the volume of legislation that can pass through the Commons in any given session. Nevertheless, it’s novel and likely riddled with problems, and I’m not sure I would want to see MPs doing it on a regular basis because part of why we elect them in the way we do is for their judgment in a representative democracy. But…it’s novel.

Good reads:

  • As you heard in QP, the government apparently waived a deeper national security review of a sale of a satellite tech company to a Chinese firm.
  • The government would also welcome more Chinese investment in the oil sands. Sound the alarm!
  • General Vance says the new defence plan won’t materially raise spending in the long term (because much of the funding is already in there if you pay attention).
  • Vance also insists that drones won’t be used for remote assassinations.
  • A coming national childcare deal with the provinces would force them to expand services rather than just use federal dollars to subsidize existing ones.
  • For her final report, Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault gave several failing grades including to the RCMP and CBSA.
  • Yet more threats that the Senate may push back if the government refuses amendments to Bill S-3 on removing gender discrimination from the Indian Act.
  • It sounds like the government will support the Conservative Senate bill on protecting journalists’ sources.
  • The beer lobby is very unhappy with proposed federal excise taxes that will increase in perpetuity (but not the minimum prices that help their bottom line).
  • A Senate committee report recommends strengthening election legislation to limit foreign influence, based on a mere two witnesses.
  • Brad Trost’s campaign has been put “on notice” by the party for allegedly leaking the membership list to the National Firearms Association.
  • Elections Canada turned down Kevin O’Leary’s proposal to loan himself money to pay off his leadership debts.
  • Kady O’Malley wonders if transparency alone is saleable with new fundraising rules.
  • Robert Hiltz writes about Quebec’s constitutional gamble, and who that show is for.
  • Stephanie Carvin gives her assessment of a week of audacious foreign policy for Canada.

Odds and ends:

Here’s a look at thirty years of the Loonie.

The Senate defeated attempted amendments to the national anthem bill, meaning it should be up for a final vote shortly.

3 thoughts on “Roundup: Constituent consultation

  1. I wonder whether a bit more direct democracy like Reid’s consultation isn’t just the tonic needed to revitalize our representative system.

  2. The Reformers gave up on the direct democracy fetish, not because it was difficult to organize, but because it was inconvenient when the outcome wasn’t the preferred one.

  3. Mark Strahl, MP for Chilliwack- Hope has a penchant for sending out surveys. He gets about a thousand replies mostly from his hard core conservative supporters and then he announces his favorable results as if it is the “will” of the people. He is well castigated for this however he gets his name in the local paper as “doing something.” I suppose this is a step up from heckling from his opposition bench in QP.
    He did a survey on safe injection sites in Chilliwack and the results were negative. The unfortunate fact is that people are overdosing by the dozens here and he uses his ‘survey’ as a defense for not advocating for a SIS in Chilliwack. What a waste.

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