The saga of Bev Oda and the wayward "not" has gripped the House of Commons. But it turns out a recent situation from Saskatchewan provincial politics has worked its way into the debate over whether the Conservative international co-operation minister breached the parliamentary privileges of MPs. Just before the House of Commons broke for a week, NDP MP Libby Davies raised in debate a ruling by Speaker Don Toth. In the spring 2010 sitting of the legislature, Toth found there was enough evidence to suggest Health Minister Don McMorris had misled the assembly to warrant a debate over whether he was in contempt of the legislature..."I believe that in this ruling, the Speaker in Saskatchewan clearly established that the test is not the member's statement in reply to an allegation, but it is actually the evidence before the Speaker that establishes the prima facie case," she said.
The Harper government issued its first, grudging acknowledgment Friday that a controversial funding decision and subsequent cover-up by International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda may have been less than pristine...Lukiwski also made the case that just because Oda testified in December that she didn't know who added the hand-written word "NOT" to the Kairos funding approval, that didn't contradict her later assertion that she ordered the revision. "Precise answers to questions do not constitute contempt," said Lukiwski. He blamed Liberal MP John McKay, who "should have asked different, or more, questions, or been more diligent in his inquiry." Transcripts of Oda's Dec. 9 testimony at the foreign affairs committee show McKay being cut off by Conservative chairman Dean Allison as he pressed the minister on the specifics of her knowledge about the doctored document. NDP MP Libby Davies called the government response "very tawdry." "They're hiding behind ludicrous technicalities," she said in an interview.
KINGSTON - Last September, Justice Susan Himel of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice struck down three provisions in Canada's Criminal Code: living off the avails of prostitution; keeping a common bawdy house; and communicating in a public place for the purpose of engaging in prostitution. "These laws," wrote Justice Himel, "individually and together, force prostitutes to choose between their liberty interest and their right to security of the person as protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms." MP Libby Davies, the NDP representative in Parliament for Vancouver East, agrees it's time for "an intelligent discussion" about the decriminalization of sex work, rather than continuing to sweep it under the rug.
OTTAWA - Canada's overall immigration levels aren't changing, Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says...Overall, our target is consistent," Kenney told a House of Commons committee...Numbers released to CBC News, however, show a 20 per cent cut in the skilled worker category and 25 per cent cut for parents and grandparents who want to be reunited with children in Canada. NDP MP Libby Davies says the new target for parents and grandparents means some families will have to wait as long as 13 years for the government to decide whether their loved ones can come to Canada. "Now, that's clearly unacceptable in terms of wait times," Davies told Kenney in the committee meeting. "Your government has said repeatedly that the backlog is going to be cleaned up, that we won't have these incredible wait times. And yet … we're faced with dramatically different information."
NANAIMO, BC - The debate over cellular phone antennas and the possibility of associated health impacts continues to heat up around North America...Local governments should be more involved in site selection for these towers, according to Vancouver East MP Libby Davies. She is working on a private members bill that outlines why the federal government should take more of an active role in determining where the towers are installed. It explicitly demands that municipalities be far more involved in the process.
The prime minister's office is undermining the CRTC by appointing an "unqualified" vice-chair of broadcasting and easing regulations on broadcast standards, NDP heritage critic Charlie Angus says. Tom Pentefountas, who was appointed on Friday, "failed on every count" of the vetting process, Angus said during question period in the House of Commons on Monday. "This appointment stinks." Angus and NDP House leader Libby Davies charged that Pentefountas, a former president of Quebec's conservative ADQ party, does not meet several of the job's requirements, including an in-depth knowledge of the broadcasting industry and media convergence.
NANAIMO, BC - The proposal for a 43-metre cellular phone tower on Hammond Bay Road has sparked concern for some area residents, who fear their property values will drop because of the structure. The issue also opened debate about the health risks that some people say come with this type of technology. Vancouver East MP Libby Davies wants the federal government to take more of an active role in determining where the towers are installed. Her private members bill that should be introduced into the House of Commons this year, outlines why municipalities should be far more involved in the process. "I'm not saying they should be banned, but there should be full disclosure about their locations," said MP Libby Davies "It should also be mandatory that municipal governments be involved in where these towers are located".
OTTAWA - A bill that would enable generic drug companies to manufacture cheap AIDS drugs for developing countries cleared a major procedural hurdle in the House of Commons Feb 2 when unanimous consent was gained for the sponsorship to be transferred to NDP MP Paul Dewar. “There was a lot of work that went behind the scenes,” Masse says. “Libby Davies worked extremely well to try to gain compromise and to open the doors, and she felt that was brought forth and there was agreement on that".
OTTAWA - NDP House Leader Libby Davies persuaded the other parties to allow her NDP colleague Paul Dewar to be recognized as the bill’s new sponsor. Mr. Dewar has a slot near the top of Parliament’s order of precedence for private members’ bills, which means Bill C-393 could go to a final vote as early as March. “We saw proof today that Parliamentarians really can get things done together,” NDP industry critics Brian Masse, who has been fighting for the bill since Ms. Wasylycia-Leis’s departure, said in a press release.