To the editor:
Re: Editor’s Note column, June 14, Capital News, Omnibus Bill: The PM Doing What He Wants, How He Wants, piqued my interest.
Now I am going to give Capital News managing editor, Barry Gerding, the benefit of the doubt that he published a revisionist history piece, and not the usual Liberal/NDP media bias.
Yes, the majority government used all the rules of Parliament to “cram the omnibus bill through to the Senate.” Is this the first time this has happened in a Canadian Parliament? No! Let me correct your revisionist history for you.
Remember the abortion debate? No, not the “Harper government’s secret agenda” that the media keeps creating news about.
I’m talking about Dec. 20, 1967. The then Liberal government under Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson notified Parliament of its intention to legalize the abortion law in an omnibus bill.
The justice minister, Pierre Trudeau, introduced the 72-page omnibus bill which contained over 100 clauses on issues ranging from contraception, divorce, homosexuality and abortion, to passport regulations and jury rules, to permitting lotteries and relaxing marijuana laws.
On July 6, 1968, the omnibus bill is re-introduced by our then new prime minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau. On May 9, 1969, the Liberal majority “crammed the omnibus bill through to the Senate.”
And as for moaning about “70 different pieces of legislation,” if you were editorializing about Trudeau’s omnibus bill, with 100 different pieces of legislation, would your wailing be heard?
Note that it was not the only time that a Liberal majority government passed omnibus bills.
Neither government was doing anything illegal. Both were using the rules of Parliament to get legislation passed.
The differences are, in the reporting and spin by the media, the Capital News included.
J. Brian Batter,