Prior to the last federal election many people wondered what the Conservatives would do with a majority in Parliament. Many others, myself included, feared for our democratic process. We saw abuse of parliamentary operation when parliament was shut down to avoid a confidence motion. We have since seen, repeatedly, the abuse of parliamentary precedent and practice by a crowd which campaigned with the promise to "clean up Ottawa."
There have been numerous examples of abuse including use of their majority to push through an omnibus budget bill in which an unknown number of items were approved without due consideration.
Many items will affect Canadians for years to come.
The PFRA tree program, which for decades has provided trees for farm yards, shelter belts and parks, is no more. The Freshwater Lakes research project is cut after approximately 30 years of operation doing scientific research relevant to environmental studies. Our prime minister has stated that “science not politics” should be the deciding factor regarding a proposed pipeline project to carry oil-sands crude to coastal B.C. But the science of trees which pump oxygen into the air we breath, and the science of survival of lakes essential to our environment is not politically expedient science so they are to be phased out.
Ministerial accountability and responsibility have been a cornerstone of our parliamentary system since its origins. They were central to the Conservative and former Reform campaigns as they rightfully decried the excesses of numerous Liberals and the “sponsorship” scandal.
Now we have seen spending extravagance by Bev Oda, Tony Clement and of course the “essential” helicopter rides by Defence Minister Peter McKay, who also was less than completely open regarding the planned purchase of new fighter jets. More recently Agriculture and Food Minister, Gerry Ritz, eliminated the Canadian Wheat Board in spite of a federal judge’s ruling that his action was illegal.
Now he is not being held responsible for the tainted meat fiasco at XL Foods in Alberta. The bad meat has resulted in numerous people becoming sick, plus thousands of people out of work. How many farmers, ranchers, truckers and retail outlets have been affected by the failure of the inspection system? Shipments of meat to U.S. have been halted and markets as far away as Hong Kong have been affected. The reputation of Canadian beef will be negatively affected for months or years to come.
But there is no ministerial responsibility nor accountability by any of these ministers within this majority government.
Now we have seen what a majority Conservative government will do. And there is another omnibus Bill in the planning stages. Where are all those MPs who went to Ottawa to clean up? It is obvious that their perspective changed simply by crossing from the Opposition to the government side of the House.