Friday, April 5, 2019

The Reform Act, 2014 - How the Trudeau Government Broke the Law

With both Ms. Wilson-Raybould and Ms. Philpott being "non-persons" in the views of the Liberal Party of Canada and with the Trudeau government repeatedly assuring us that they are alway mindful of the rule of law, let's take a look at some pertinent legislation from 2014.  

Under the Reform Act, 2014 also known as an amendment to the Canada Elections Act and the Parliament of Canada Act (candidacy and caucus reforms)which was assented to law on June 23, 2015, we find the following:

"Whereas Members of Parliament are elected by their constituents to represent them in the Parliament of Canada;

Whereas the leadership of political parties must maintain the confidence of their caucuses;

And whereas, in Canada, the executive branch of government is accountable to the legislative branch in accordance with the concept of responsible government, which is the foundation of the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy;

Now, therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

Division C.1

Definition of “caucus”

49.1 In this Division, “caucus” means a group composed solely of members of the House of Commons who are members of the same recognized party.

Expulsion of caucus member

49.2 A member of a caucus may only be expelled from it if

(a) the caucus chair has received a written notice signed by at least 20% of the members of the caucus requesting that the member’s membership be reviewed; and

(b) the expulsion of the member is approved by secret ballot by a majority of all caucus members." (my bold)

This law was put into place to protect voters and maintain democracy.  Without the law, a vindictive party leader could  remove members of his or her caucus simply because they disagree with his or her stance on any given issue, thereby disenfranchising thousands of voters.

Notice how clear the requirements for expulsion from caucus are defined and how little room there is for interpretation by a misguided party leader.  At least 20 percent of the members of the Liberal caucus must supply the caucus chair with a written notice; in the current Parliament, prior to the expulsion of the two aforementioned members, there were 179 Liberal members meaning that no less than 36 had to supply written notice to the Liberal caucus chair.  As well, the expulsion of the member must be approved by a simple majority of the entire membership of the caucus (i.e. not just the ones that are present at the time of the vote).  Given that there are 177 Liberal members in the caucus, at least 90 members would have had to vote to remove both Ms. Wilson-Raybould and Ms. Philpott from the Liberal caucus.

So, given that we know that Justin Trudeau made the decision on his own (by his own admission) as we see in this excerpt from his speech to his caucus on April 2, 2019:

"That's why I made the very difficult decision to remove Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott."

So, what did the Liberals have to say about this breach of law?  Here's what Francis Scarpaleggia, Chair of the National Liberal Caucus had to say after clearly admitting that the Liberal caucus did NOT vote to expel Ms. Wilson-Raybould and Ms. Philpott

"That's not the way that we do things in the national Liberal caucus.  We don't vote typically.  We never opted into the rules that were suggested by the Conservative private member's bill by Michael Chong.  We operate by convention and our party's convention is that membership in the caucus is determined by the leader of the party informed by caucus.

Here's the key sentence - "...we never opted into the rules that were suggested by the Conservative private member's bill".  Pardon me if I'm wrong, but the rules aren't "suggested", they are part of the law as you read at the beginning of this posting.  Obeying the law is not optional. 

Basically, it boils down to this.  According to the Liberal philosophy, they only follow the rule of law if it's a law that they agree with or one that they made.  If it's a law that was made by a previous Canadian government, then it doesn't apply to them and they can do whatever they wish.

Interesting, isn't it?  Oh that we would all have the privilege of obeying only those laws that we like.

Just in case you were wondering, the recent law-breaking moves by the Trudeau government resulted in 29,416 Liberal voters in Ms. Philpott's riding and 23,643 Liberal voters in Ms. Wilson-Raybould's riding being disenfranchised.  I'm guessing that the 53,059 Liberal voters in those two ridings aren't particularly happy about the state of democracy in Canada today.


  1. This seems to have started with the simple idea of protecting jobs. Like the proverbial snowball rolling down the hill turning into an avalanche, this issue has mushroomed into clusterf*. I picture Justin sitting alone at night, asking himself, "How did I get here?"

    Holy cow! I have to shake my head. What's next?

  2. In this Division, “caucus” means a group composed solely of members of the House of Commons who are members of the same recognized party.

    Anybody want to explain what a causus is?
    It seems to me to be anything as long an one keeps it in the same party.

    So the anti-chocolate caucus is a viable group as long as they are all conservatives?

    Much as I appreciate Viable Opposition commentary
    I wish they would grasp a bit of Canadian politics and culture.

  3. jrkrideau

    I think that I have a pretty good grasp of the situation - here's what Jane Philpott had to say on April 9: