Speaker reads the Riot Act, what does it mean to refuse a motion, and what does a sheriff do anyways

March 13, 2009 at 11:43 am | Posted in Politics | Leave a comment
  • Speaker to House of Commons: I Will Turn This Car Around!

    In a move his communications director, Heather Bradley, described as “very rare,” Mr. Milliken sent a letter to the House leaders of the four parties expressing his concern over some MPs’ statements and stressing that “personal attacks” in the Commons are not permitted.

    “I intend to halt at an early stage any trend in this direction,” he wrote. “As such, I am writing to advise you that I will vigorously enforce the authority given to me … to cut off Members, if, in my opinion, improper statements are made.

    Thanks for the tip-off Warren Kinsella.

  • Harper Refuses to Implement War Resistor Movement. What does that mean exactly?

    As you know, in June 2008, Parliament passed a motion calling on the government to stop all removal proceedings against US war resisters, and to implement a program to allow them to apply for permanent residence status. On February 12, 2009, the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration reaffirmed this motion. This motion is also supported by a clear majority of Canadians.

    However, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney have refused to implement the motion

    When I first read this story, I thought what does it mean to not implement a motion? What an excellent chance for me to brush up on my Political Science.

    In parliamentary procedure, a motion is a formal proposal that the assembly (the government) take certain action. In this case, the motion was made by the Canadian Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.

    On June 3, 2008, the Parliament of Canada voted 137 to 110 in favor of the recommendation. So basically, the members of parliament said, Do it dude. Let the war resisters stay! Make Love not War!

    So why didn’t it happen then; why didn’t Harper do what the parliament told him to do?

    the motion is non-binding and the victory was bittersweet as the government is likely to ignore it.

    “We’re worried that (Prime Minister Stephen) Harper might not follow the advice of a majority of the members of the House of Commons who voted today,” NDP Leader Jack Layton told reporters yesterday.

    “He has had a tendency to turn his back on the message of peace that so many Canadians would want to bring forward and the welcome that they would want to offer to those who have expressed this particular courage.”

    So apparently the PM can ignore democracy, at least sometimes. I think I’ll add this topic to my Big List of Things that Confuse Me right under What’s up with Confidence Votes?

    BTW, Wikipedia has a good summary of the War Resistors Support Campaign, in case you want to catch up on this issue.

  • B.C. Govrn. Service Employees’ Union want to take pressure off Metro Van Police by allowing sheriffs to take over routine duties like traffic patrol and serving warrants:

    Dean Purdy, chair of the union’s corrections component, says the move would free up police officers for more serious criminal investigations, like the gang task force.

    Purdy says Alberta moved to the new sheriff model in 2006 and it has proven quite successful.

    He says sheriffs can be trained much quicker than police officers and that there are substantial cost savings to taxpayers.

    The union believes the move would also address sheriff recruitment issues, by providing expanded job opportunities and responsibilities.

    What is a sheriff anyways? Does a Vancouver sheriff tell you to get out of town by sunset and not to show your flea-bitten mug in these parts again because this town ain’t big enough for the two of us?

    According to the Sheriffs of British Columbia Website, sheriffs provide “civil law enforcement and court services”.

    Deputy sheriffs are trained at the British Columbia Justice Institute where they receive the practical skills and expert knowledge required to perform their duties in a professional manner. The nine-week curriculum covers an extensive array of subjects that include prisoner escort procedures, report writing, criminal and civil law, firearms training, self-defence, driver training, prisoner searches, first aid, courtroom security, and infectious disease control.

    BCSS responsibilities include court security, plan high security trials, transport prisoners, manage juries, serve court-related documents, execute court orders and warrants, and assist with coroner’s court.

    So yeah, they sound qualified to direct traffic to me. Rock on BC sheriffs.

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