Weekly Commentary  

Record breaking minority

Another milestone this week. Prime Minister Harper surpassed the mark of former PM Lester Pearson.

PM Harper now has the record for maintaining a minority government for the longest period of time without being defeated by a non-confidence vote.

The recent federal by-elections also earned a spot in the record books.

It is also rare, if not practically unheard of, for the governing party of the day to actually gain a seat from the opposition in a by-election.

The last time a governing party did that was back in the horse and buggy days of Wilfred Laurier.

Three seats were up for grabs in the federal by-elections two weeks ago. The Conservative party not only held onto their existing seat with a huge majority, it also shocked the political world in Ontario by stealing one that the Liberals had previously held for almost a quarter of a century.

In the third contest, in Manitoba, a well known local Liberal former MLA managed to knock out the NDP which had previously held that riding for years.

The new Liberal MP was introduced into the House of Commons this week. I must say he put on a feisty and aggressive performance in Question Period on his first day.

To get insights on what types of legislation would be put in place by a Liberal/NDP coalition just look at what type of legislation they are proposing or opposing.

In the Senate right now is an Opposition Bill that would require all Supreme Court Judges to be fully bilingual.

The Liberal/NDP/Bloc voted together on this.

All Supreme Court proceedings are already done in both Official languages with full translation service. Neither the Constitution, the Charter nor the courts have ever required this extra step to be taken. We'll see where this goes.

This week the opposition parties also joined forces to outnumber the Conservative government on a constitutional change on 'gender identity'.

This change to the Charter would be applied to transgendered individuals. It would also apply to individuals based on what gender they say they are, not what gender they actually are, or whether they have had a sex change operation or not.

Most Conservatives voted against this mainly because no clear answers were given by the Liberals or NDP regarding possible implications of a law like this.

It goes to 3rd reading vote in February or March.

This week the Minister of Justice will be calling for a vote on legislation which would prevent those convicted of sexual offences against children from having their records erased.

Under existing law, a convicted criminal who has served his time and remained crime free for at least five years from the end of his sentence may apply for a pardon.

With most crimes, this is to allow a person a second chance in life. The problem here is that a convicted pedophile could wind up having his record erased.

Then, if for instance he applied for a job at a day care centre, kids camp, or boys and girls club no past record would show up on his file.

That's why the pardon provisions need to be changed in cases of sex offenders against children.

The opposition has been delaying this for months.

The Liberals/NDP/ Bloc have said they will vote against our Human Smuggling Bill.

This Bill is designed to discourage human exploitation incidents such as the arrival of the last two boatloads of smuggled illegals to our West Coast.

Clearly, there are very different approaches to legislation and policy between parties.

See you at the end of the week for my usual meetings around the riding.

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