Ah, June… Summer is at our doorstep, the days are (almost all of them) seeming to get a little bit longer, and for the second year in a row I am partaking in my daily blogging exercise, marginally focused along a theme I’ve simply called Those 30 posts in June. No planning. No writing stuff days ahead. Just this: each day a meanderingly vague prompt drives a meanderingly vague post… and today that post just happens to be:
June 14th // Something You Are Watching
Something very odd started last night in Canadian politics.
See, as I understand, the ruling majority Conservative government did something that wasn’t against the rules — per se — but that was quite uncool as far as bill-writing goes. They took a fairly standard budget bill and crammed into it a heaping stack of very tenuously-related parts that many have argued have no place in a bill of this sort. It has been recently referred to a “trojan horse bill” and touches on not just a budget, but on so many other big and little changes to our rights and freedoms, it is troubling how few Canadians are taking more of an interest.
As they are a majority, there is little doubt that the bill will eventually pass. But the minority parties are — right now — attempting to make that process as long as possible. And this little bit of crazy democracy is being broadcast on CPAC, right now.
A few parliamentarians have a certain privilege — being parties of one or just a few — that allows them to challenge and propose amendments to the larger omnibus bill. These need to be read and voted on one at a time. And last night, for three hours straight, eight hundred and some — grouped into over a hundred and fifty categories –were individually read into the record.
Shortly after that the voting began… and it cannot stop until all one hundred and fifty some categories have gone through the tedious name-reading process that is a single vote. It is expected to take over twenty-four hours, and they are — at six-thirty in the morning (MST) as I write this — not quite eight hours into it. If too many on the majority side fall asleep or wander off and miss a vote, wham, an amendment might pass triggering… well, I assume a further review or outright failure, but no one has been particularly clear on that. (Maybe I’ll look that up later and add that in…)
It is democracy in action, folks.
Edit: 755AM MST – The radio newscast informed me this morning as I drove to meet the train that — to drag things out just a little longer — the opposition is taking their time rising to their feet each round to be counted, adding a few seconds per member and probably adding 25% more duration onto the process by doing so. Oh, and apparently CPAC offers a streaming video feed so you can check it out during the day… though it will be like watching the same thing on loop for twenty hours straight, so be warned.