Michael Chong's Reform Act is about to die in the Senate. Andrew Coyne writes:
The private member’s bill, introduced by Conservative MP Michael Chong, is popular with the public, as the first serious attempt to free MPs, even a little, from the iron grip of the party leadership.
Moreover, it passed with all-party support in the House of Commons — by a vote of 260-17 — albeit in substantially watered-down form.
So it wouldn’t do to actually vote it down. Bad form, old chap. And anyway, unnecessary.
Instead it will simply never come to a vote. The Senate rises for the summer June 23, not to return until after the election. That’s just six weeks from now: 18 sitting days, by the Senate’s leisurely calendar. If the bill is not passed by then, it dies, along with every other piece of legislation still on the order paper.
You can bet that Bill C-51 -- the Anti Terror Bill -- will be passed quickly. But the Senate simply doesn't talk about what it doesn't want to talk about. And the Conservative dominated Senate doesn't want to talk about Chong's bill:
The first Liberal to speak on the bill, Sen. Joan Fraser, did not get to her feet until May 7, two months after its introduction; a motion to adjourn quickly followed. It has not been debated since.
Perhaps the bill may yet pass second reading, at this pace. Perhaps it might even be reported back from the Senate’s standing committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament. But it’s a safe bet that it will fall just short of passing before the Senate closes up shop. So near and yet so far. Sorry, old bean.
Not that there was much to discuss. As it made its way through the House, the bill was gutted:
The Reform Act, in its present form, already represents something of a defeat for reformers. It was modest enough as first drafted (its two key measures: removing the requirement for a candidate to obtain the party leader’s signature on his nomination paper, at the same time as it set out a process for MPs to remove their leader). But when that met with resistance from the leaders’ offices, it was amended, and amended again, until there was very little left.
If you had hoped we would return to Responsible Government, forget it.