The Canadian government has taken to proposing massive pieces of legislation that include many disparate measures, and one member of Parliament is trying to stop it. The New Democratic Party Member of Parliament Peter Stoffer today presents a private member’s bill to try to amend the Parliament of Canada Act so that it would bar governments from packaging unrelated material in omnibus bills.
“Omnibus bills receive very little scrutiny. It’s unconscionable that it continues in a democracy,” Stoffer told the public broadcaster, CBC
The Conservatives have used omnibus bills to change things like pension contribtions rates, the Environmental Assessment Act and refugee health care provisions.
Leader once criticized omnibus bills
They are not the first to use omnibus bills. The man who is now prime minister, Stephen Harper, criticized the Liberals’ use of this kind of legislation when he was in the opposition in 1994.
Constitutional scholar C.E.S. (Ned) Franks has lamented the use of omnibus bills saying they subvert the legislative process.
There is almost no chance this initiative outlaw them will get first reading in the current parliamentary session.