The saga of reforming Question Period continues with this latest press release from Frank Valeriote's office.
Liberals Support Motion 517
Ottawa– Liberal MP’s who seconded Motion 517 (Siobhan Coady, Martha Hall Findlay, Glen Pearson, and Frank Valeriote) today voted against Conservative amendments designed to undermine the motion. The motion, which was introduced by Michael Chong (Wellington-Halton Hills) and which seeks to change the way question Question Period is conducted, is being threatened by Conservative amendments. The amendments are designed to disempower the Committee by disallowing it from recommending changes and merely allowing it to conduct a study. Further amendments remove other meaningful changes cited in Chong’s motion and limit the Committee’s capacity to recommend meaningful change.
Frank Valeriote (Guelph) was outspoken in his support for the un-amended motion. “Canadians are eager to have Question Period change… They are tired of the heckling, and of the grandstanding that dominate our question period, and they are checking-out.” He expressed disappointment in Conservative efforts to weaken the intent of Chong’s original motion, and vowed to support it.
Voicing her support for the un-amended motion in the House, Martha Hall-Findlay (Willowdale) said “if we manage to engage in debate with respect and civility and listen, we just may learn from each other. That would enhance not only the decorum in the house but the progress of government in its entirety.”
The original motion, which is supported by the Liberal Party, urges parliamentarians to embrace reform and begin a dialogue in Committee on changing Question Period protocols with the hope that the level of conversation will heighten and that conduct and decorum will be improved.
“Michael Chong phoned me on a Sunday afternoon, asking that I second his bill and keep to its spirit,” added Liberal MP Glen Pearson. “I will not vote for any watered-down amendments by the government, nor will I break my promise to vote for the fine democratic spirit of his motion. I would like to see effective and remedial reform in Question Period. Mr. Chong's original bill pointed us in that direction and I am proud to stand with a colleague on this point. No watered-down version for me; I stand firmly for Michael's more effective original motion."
Siobhan Coady (St. John’s South – Mount Pearl) added “I proudly seconded Mr. Chong’s motion because I feel that it is an important step in the right direction to improving decorum, civility and the quality of discourse in the House of Commons.” Coady continued “Canadians deserve better and it is unfortunate that the Conservatives do not support one of their own members in his attempt to improve Question Period.”