Our House is Open: Standing committees build democracy

NDP Justice Critic Gerry Rogers (MHA, St. John’s Centre) is calling on government to establish and fully utilize the all-party standing committees that exist in every other legislature in the country.

In the final question of her caucus’s Our House is Open campaign, which highlighted the fact that the provincial Conservative government refused to open the House of Assembly for debate this fall, Ms. Rogers drew attention to another component of the democratic deficit.

“Standing committees, through public sessions and other consultation, give people the opportunity to have input on legislation and policy changes,” said Rogers. “They also give all parties in the House of Assembly time to examine and discuss legislation before it is presented for debate.

“Consultation is a basic component of democracy in every other legislature in Canada,” said Rogers. “The people of Newfoundland and Labrador deserve this opportunity to have their voices heard.”

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NDP Caucus: Our House is Open
Question for December 8, 2011
Gerry Rogers, MHA, St. John’s Centre

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Premier. All legislatures in Canada have permanent all-party Standing Committees that deal with serious public issues and truly debate changes to legislation. Newfoundland and Labrador does not.

Standing Committees across the country regularly seek input from people about draft legislation and policy changes through public sessions and real consultation.

This government only gives MHAs a cursory look at bills before they are presented to the House, leaving insufficient time to review and study, and refuses to let Standing Committees work on issues that affect the people of the province.

Mr. Speaker I ask the Premier, when will Government catch up to the basic democracy that other provinces have, and let our Standing Committees do what they’re supposed to?

Associated Caucus Members: 

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