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PARLIAMENTARY REPORT


Mulcair, MP, appeared before the House of Commons Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to answer questions about the use of House of Commons resources for partisan purposes by the Official Opposition. In particular, Mr Mulcair was


asked about offices the New Democratic Party (NDP) set up in Montréal and Toronto in 2011 and that housed both parliamentary and political staff. In April 2014, the Board of Internal Economy (BOIE), the governing body of the House of Commons, changed the rules about the sharing of work space by parliamentary and


CANADA


the costs of Members’ mailing privileges. The cost of the free mailings amounted to about $1.13 million, and Minister of Transport, Hon. Lisa Raitt, MP, said she expected the NDP to reimburse this amount.


Mr Peter Julian, MP


political staff and the offices were closed.


During the Committee hearing, Mr Mulcair was also asked about the use of the House of Commons’ free mailing privileges to send mailings to people in ridings just prior to the by-elections of November 2013. In June 2014, the BOIE decided that because these mailings were to advance electoral purposes, they were in contravention of the by-laws under the Parliament of Canada Act.


Consequently, the BOIE asked 23 NDP Members to reimburse a total of $36,309 – the costs of the mailings to the House of Commons. The BOIE also communicated its decision to Transport Canada, the department responsible for Canada Post, because it pays


Speaker’s ruling On a matter related to Mr Mulcair’s appearance before the Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, his appearance was as a result of a motion adopted by the House instructing the Committee to consider the matter of the improper use of House resources and to order the Leader of the Official Opposition to appear. This motion was adopted pursuant to Standing Order 56.1, which normally deals with routine motions. On 16 May, the day after Mr Mulcair’s appearance, the House Leader of the Official Opposition, Mr Peter Julian, MP, raised a point of order questioning whether the motion should have been deemed inadmissible. In his ruling on 12 June,


Speaker Hon. Andrew Scheer, MP, said that though the House has the power to give instructions to committees, S.O. 56.1 is not intended for that purpose. He said


The Speaker pointed out that he allows motions about which he might have reservations to go forward unless objections are raised in a timely manner.


Ontario provincial election On 12 June, an election was held for the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Canada’s largest and most populous province. Premier Hon. Kathleen Wynne, MPP,


Ms Andrea Horwath, MPP


plan, while eliminating the deficit (currently $11.3 billion) by 2018. Pre-election opinion surveys varied considerably, but the race was generally assumed to be a close one between the Liberals and the PCs.


Hon. Kathleen Wynne, MPP


who had succeeded Dalton McGuinty as leader of the Liberal Party in January 2013, called the election on 2 May after NDP leader Andrea Horwath, MPP, announced that her party had lost trust in the minority Liberal government and would vote with the Progressive Conservative (PC) Party to defeat the government’s budget. At dissolution, the Liberals


had 48 seats in the 107-seat Legislative Assembly, the PCs 37 and the NDP 21; there was one vacancy.


During the campaign, PC Mr Andrew Scheer, MP


he would been inclined to rule the motion out of order, but that by the time the Official Opposition raised objections, the instructions in the motion had already been carried out.


204 | The Parliamentarian | 2014: Issue Three


leader Mr Tim Hudak, MPP, campaigned on an austerity platform to address Ontario’s $269-billion debt, while promising to create one million jobs over the next eight years. Ms Horwath promised to


create jobs, reduce energy costs for families and improve government accountability. For her part, Ms Wynne promised to, among other things, invest in job creation and infrastructure and create a provincial pension


Mr Tim Hudak, MPP


first elected female Premier, in addition to being Canada’s first openly gay Premier. Following the election, Mr Hudak stepped down as leader of the PC Party. In terms of voter turnout, a


decades-long decline came to an end. Turnout fell from 64 per cent in


1990 to 48 per cent in 2011, but in this election, it rebounded slightly to 52 per cent.


On Election Day, to the surprise of many, Ms Wynne led the Liberals to a fourth consecutive mandate, winning a majority of the seats. The Liberals took 58 seats, the


PCs were reduced to 28 seats and the NDP remained steady at 21 seats. Ms Wynne became Ontario’s


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