Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Committee commotion

  • Print

The Public Safety committee was supposed to be debating one by one, the clauses of bill C-391 today. That’s Manitoba MP Candice Hoeppner’s bill to eliminate the gun registry on unrestricted long guns.

But for 40 minutes at least the committee went around and around and around about whether to delay the debate that included a motion to delay, lengthy arguments about why that was good or bad, and then even a debate about whether or not the motion to delay could be withdrawn.

The NDP want to postpone because NDP Justice critic Joe Comartin isn’t in attendance (apparently he’s attending another meeting about Afghanistan), he was the one who sat through the hearings, he has some amendments to make and therefore they want him to be there.

The Conservatives and the Bloc don’t want to postpone because they have worked hard to prepare, there are other pressing issues to deal with next week and Mr. Comartin doesn’t have a right to delay everyone just because he has a more pressing meeting to attend.

The Liberals suggested only debating clause-by-clause at the next meeting (when it was also on the agenda) but not putting a time limit on the meeting to ensure the entire thing could happen prompting further rounds of arguments as to why that also was or was not acceptable.

The irony about how much time they have now wasted to complain and discuss about whether or not delaying clause-by-clause debate would be wasting time, should not be lost on anyone.

Unfortunately the amount of time wasted in these committees debating procedures, who gets to speak when, for how long, about what, and how petty they can get about all of those things is ridiculous. Everyone seems to feel the need to get a chance to speak even if they have nothing new to add. And most of them want to speak it appears only to throw barbs at their opponents and make partisan statements and complaints.

It seemed there would be a Hallelujah moment when the NDP tried to withdraw the motion to postpone.

You’d think that might actually have gotten the thing going. But no. The Bloc Quebecois’s Maria Mourani wanted to finish her statement complaining about the delay even though there no longer was a delay. And then chair Gerry Breitkreuz told the NDP they can’t even withdraw the motion to delay without the committee’s approval which prompted, you guessed it, another round of debate.

It’s really not a wonder it can take a lifetime to get a bill through Parliament.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

About Mia Rabson

Mia Rabson is a born and bred Winnipegger whose interest in politics seemed clear when she dressed up as Prime Minister Brian Mulroney for Halloween in the 7th grade.

Her interest in writing was no surprise to her parents, who learned early in Mia’s life that no piece of blank paper — or wall, for that matter — was safe in her hands.

She holds an honours BA in English from Queen’s University, a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario, and has completed a political journalism fellowship in Washington, D.C. with the Washington Centre for Politics and Journalism.

Prior to working for the Winnipeg Free Press, Mia briefly worked for the Detroit News in the paper’s Washington bureau.

Mia joined the Free Press team in February 2001, and in April 2001 was appointed to the Manitoba legislature bureau. In December 2004, she was appointed bureau chief at the legislature. She became the newspaper’s parliamentary bureau chief/national reporter in Ottawa in January 2008.

In 2008 she was nominated for a Michener Award with a team of reporters from the Free Press for its coverage of the province’s child welfare system.

She counts reliving the invasion at Dieppe, France, with veterans of the failed Second World War expedition and overcoming her fear of heights to touch the Golden Boy statue atop the Legislative Building among her favourite experiences as a reporter.


Ads by Google