Canadians Expect Transparent Government

July 2022 Scoop Editorial from MP Mel Arnold

The lives of Canadians across the country are directly affected by decisions made in Parliament and Canadians expect open and transparent debate by their elected representatives in Ottawa.

However, the backroom deal struck by the minority Liberals and fourth place NDP has undermined Parliament’s work as of late.  Scrutiny and debate that Canadians expect in their democracy have been stifled through manipulation of Parliamentary committees, shutdown of debates and other procedural tricks from the Trudeau government that have limited the ability of Parliamentarians to have the time and information required to adequately review legislation affecting all Canadians.

Since February, I have been contacted by constituents concerned about bill C-11, the Trudeau government’s Online Streaming Act. I was prepared to debate the bill and present concerns of the Canadians I represent- concerns that I share.

However, the Liberals-NDP alliance limited examination of the bill’s proposals for internet regulation by steamrolling a motion through the House of Commons. It is the job of Parliamentarians elected by Canadians to thoroughly examine proposed laws by hearing from subject experts and debating the proposals and making amendments where appropriate. Without this democratic Parliamentary overview, the ruling party is able to legislate without checks, balances or accountability. The Liberal-NDP motion undermined Parliamentary review because the government does not want to hear from subject experts, content producers, and others who have warned that the bill is incredibly flawed.

Equally troubling is the Liberal-NDP refusal to fully define how C-11 will be implemented before they force the bill through Parliament meaning Canadians and elected representatives will not know what the effects of C-11 will be before it is passed. This is particularly concerning considering that respect for Charter rights, such as freedom of belief and freedom of expression, are not guaranteed in the bill.  

The Liberal-NDP coalition are also continuing to block appropriate examination of the government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act. The Emergencies Act itself requires that a government explain its use of the act’s extraordinary powers anytime they are declared and requires its use to be subject to an automatic review by a Parliamentary committee. However, the Liberals and the NDP have replaced this requirement with an absurd proposal to strike a committee that fails to respect the Official Opposition’s responsibility of holding the government to account.

In 2015, Canadians were promised a government that was to be more open and transparent. Instead, Trudeau has delivered coverups of the SNC Lavalin, WE charity, and Winnipeg lab scandals and now he is pulling the curtains and hiding the truth by manipulating the Emergencies Act oversight committee and forcing through legislation that needs debate and amendments.

With Parliament adjourned for the summer, I look forward to more time in the North Okanagan- Shuswap connecting in-person with constituents to hear directly about the issues and concerns you expect to be addressed and debated with openness and transparency when Parliament resumes.