Parliamentary Compromise Will Get Things Done

OTTAWA – There’s nothing stopping Paul Martin from compromising to avoid an unwanted holiday election and get work done this fall, NDP MPs Libby Davies, (Vancouver East), Peter Julian (Burnaby-new Westminster) and Bill Siksay (Burnaby-Douglas) said today as the NDP introduced a compromise motion in Parliament that would see a January election call.

“Nobody wants a holiday election. Let’s schedule the vote for February and get things done for Canadians like Bill C-55, cracking down on high-risk offenders, providing some relief for winter fuel costs and wage protection. People also want to see the First Ministers’ Aboriginal Conference go ahead. There’s a compromise on the table that accomplishes all of that,” said Julian.

With Parliament at an impasse, Canada’s Opposition leaders agreed Sunday to a common sense compromise – proposing a January election call, for a mid-February vote. The leaders also agreed to compromise on expediting passage of legislation-in-progress, including the energy rebate bill and a wage protection bill.

“As Jack Layton has said, there’s nothing stopping Paul Martin from compromising,” said Siksay, “The Opposition proposal says yes to the priorities Paul Martin identified for this fall. It lets work get done. Parliament doesn’t even sit from mid-December to February, so the only thing compromising would stop is two months of taxpayer-funded Liberal electioneering in the New Year.”

Unlike the spring, when the Liberals accepted good NDP ideas to get things done for people, this fall they said no to protecting medicare from privatization. The NDP cannot express confidence in a government that’s not getting results for people, and it can’t condone the Liberal record on ethics. But compromise from all parties could still avert an unwanted holiday election.

“People don’t understand why if three parties can compromise, the fourth can’t,” said Davies. “There’s nothing stopping Paul Martin from committing to an election call that would have fallen in mid-January anyway given Justice Gomery’s original timetable. That’s what he committed to last spring. There’s nothing stopping the Prime Minister from saying yes to this common sense compromise.”