The state of things

Mark Warawa leaves everyone grasping for meaning

Mark Warawa presented his appeal to the Procedure and House Affairs committee this afternoon. The committee had no questions for him, went in camera to decide the fate of Motion 408 and will table its report with the House tomorrow.

The search is otherwise on for the meaning of all this.

Conservative MP Jay Aspin says Mark Warawa has gone “rogue.”

Conservative MP Jay Aspin criticized Warawa, saying he went “rogue” on the abortion issue, which Harper has vowed not to revisit. “[The] Conservative party has a policy. We had a policy going into the last election, and he failed to adhere to it,” Aspin said after the weekly Conservative caucus meeting.

On the matter of Mr. Warawa’s freedom to give a members’ statement about his motion, Conservative MP Kyle Seeback is supportive.

“A member should be able to make a statement on any issue they think is important to themselves or their constituencies,” said Tory MP Kyle Seeback. “Mr. Warawa’s (member’s statement) should not have been taken away. That’s my personal view.”

Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth says he’s thinking about it.

“Is the right to make a member statement owned by an individual member or is it owned by the whip? I still haven’t quite got there yet,” he told reporters.

Mr. Warawa pledges his full support for the Prime Minister and tries to blame the state of Parliament for the fact that he couldn’t deliver that statement, while also saying he’s not being muzzled.

I think Parliament’s at fault for not permitting this issue to be dealt with earlier and others have suffered by losing that right. I experienced that suffering last Thursday and then when it affected me personally, then I had a responsibility to speak up.

Andrew Coyne considers the ramifications of it all.

This did not begin with Warawa, in short, and it will not end here. The question is whether opposition MPs will join the fray. The shuttering of Warawa’s motion, after all, was an all-party affair: it was his motion this time, but it could be theirs next. There’s a fight worth having, here, but it isn’t Conservatives vs. Opposition, or pro-life vs. pro-choice. It’s for the freedom of all MPs against the dictates of a system that, as in no other democracy, has vested all power in the party leader.

In other news, tonight the House defeated NDP MP Fin Donnelly’s private member’s bill that would have banned the import of shark fins. Kristy Kirkup reports that some Conservatives supported the bill, but that the Prime Minister’s Office pushed for the bill to be defeated.

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