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As noted in an update to the last post, word outside the security perimeter is that the proposal to strip the Canadian Human Rights Commission of the power to investigate Section 13 hate speech complaints passed “nearly unanimously”.
That means it should be on the agenda at the full plenary tomorrow afternoon – although we’re hearing conflicting reports on whether all the resolutions that make it through today’s policy workshops will actually go to the convention floor. The final decision on what to bring forward may rest with the National Policy Committee and/or National Council.
Meanwhile, over at the workshop on economic policy, a proposal to tweak the party’s current position on fiscal imbalance was the subject of a lengthy and heated debate; although most of the delegates seemed to support it, when it came time to vote on the resolution, a “crowd of around a hundred people” showed up just in time to ensure that it would be defeated.
Also defeated: a resolution that would have allowed Canadians to devote “a portion of their annual RRSP contributions” to mortgage payments, and one that would have deleted much of the party’s current position on improving Canada’s transport infrastructure; of the rest, most passed easily – although there was considerable debate over Brandon-Souris’ proposal to pull back on the party’s promise to give patent holders the right to restore time lost to the approval process, which eventually managed to squeak by after a very close vote.
The full list of economic policy resolutions is available here, although not all of them seem to have made it to the workshop floor; apparently, they ran out of time.
UPDATE: Dr. Dawg has a full rundown from the social and democratic policy forum here. Among the highlights: The Ken Epp Memorial Not About Abortion resolution passes, but both of the ones dealing with same-sex marriage — including one that explicitly comes out against polygamy – were defeated, as were resolutions calling for more transparency in government, support for the wireless industry, a crackdown on mass marketing fraud, and last but certainly not least, the proposal to establish fixed ten year terms for Supreme Court justices.
EVEN IF A RESOLUTION YOU SUPPORT MADE IT THROUGH THE WORKSHOP, YOU MIGHT WANT TO HOLD OFF ON THE CHAMPAGNE FOR THE MOMENT UPDATE:
From the Convention 2008 Rules for Constitution and Policy Discussions:
6.8 A maximum of ten (10) policy resolutions per break-out workshop which receive an affirmative vote by a majority of delegates voting in the break-out workshop will be listed on the agenda of Plenary. In order to guide setting the agenda for Plenary, all delegates present at the end of a break-out workshop will be provided with a form to list up to five resolutions which received a majority vote at the workshop and which, in their view, should be considered for listing on the agenda of Plenary. [emphasis added]
Phrases like “guide setting the agenda” and “should be considered” suggest that the results of the post-workshop survey will be about as binding on the party as the eventual policy declaration will be on the Prime Minister: in other words, not at all. Even if a resolution does make it to the floor, however, there is no guarantee that it will be debated before the final vote:
9.3 At Plenary, a Moderator of the break-out workshop will be given a brief period in the discretionof the Chair of the Plenary to provide a summary of the policy resolution and report the vote results of the resolution at the break-out workshop, if applicable.
9.4 The Chair of the Plenary, upon receiving the report from a Moderator of the break-out workshop,will immediately call the question, and propose to put the policy resolution to a vote of the Plenary without debate.
9.5 If two or more delegates of the Plenary call for debate, the Chair will immediately call for a vote with voting cards in support of debate. Only where, in the Chair’s determination, the vote shows that a clear majority of delegates wish to have a debate, will a limited debate be permitted in the following manner, always subject to the discretion of the Chair in light of time constraints or otherwise:
9.5.1 In the case of a policy resolution proposed by one or more electoral district associations, a delegate agreed to by those electoral district associations or recognized by the Chair may be provided with up to 30 seconds to introduce it and the Chair may also recognize a caucus member to provide a caucus perspective on the resolution for no more than 30 seconds.
9.5.2 In the case of a policy resolution proposed by caucus, a delegate designated by caucus may be recognized by the Chair and will be provided with up to 30 seconds to introduce it.
9.5.3 The Chair will then recognize one additional speaker in favour and up to two speakers against in an order to be determined by the Chair. Each of these speakers may take no more than 30 seconds.
9.5.4 The question will then be put to a vote in accordance with section 10.
UPDATE: And the proposal to yank the power to investigate hate speech complaints from the Canadian Human Rights Commission and Tribunal makes it onto the agenda for tomorrow’s plenary — along with the Ken Epp-inspired P-207 (fetal rights/protection of pregnant women/anti-choice/pro-choice/ticking timebomb for Stephen Harper), offshore resource exploration (Drill, Baby, Drill, eh?), three-(serious)-strikes-and-you’re-a-dangerous-offender, the possibility of private delivery of public health care, and more. Read the full list here.