Does Stephen Harper agree with Stephen Harper?

The Liberals have an opposition day on Tuesday and they have tabled three options for the motion they will move that day, the first of which is just a little mischievous.

That the House agree with the comments of the Right Honourable Member for Calgary Southwest on March 25, 1994, when he criticized omnibus legislation, suggesting that the subject matter of such bills is so diverse that a single vote on the content would put members in conflict with their own principles and dividing the bill into several components would allow members to represent views of their constituents on each of the different components in the bill; and that the House instruct the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to study what reasonable limits should be placed on the consideration of omnibus legislation and that the Committee report back its findings, including specific recommendations for legislative measures or changes to the Standing Orders, no later than December 10, 2012.

The first bit is reference to a point of order raised by a young Stephen Harper, in which the rookie Reform MP lamented for the abusive nature of omnibus bills that include various and unrelated measures. (I asked Peter Van Loan about the views of Young Stephen Harper at the time of the last budget implementation bill.)

The second part of the motion repeats the motion tabled at the Procedure and House Affairs committee by Marc Garneau. That motion mysteriously disappeared from the committee’s agenda last week.

The Liberals may well, of course, decide to pursue one of their other options—the motion on food safety, for instance, might be deemed more immediately relevant. But with a second budget implementation bill due anytime now, this could be a way to restart the debate on omnibus legislation.

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