“Secret in-camera meetings or private notices should not be a shield to prevent the upholding of the law and members’ rights.”
– Jane Philpott, MP
It now appears that Prime Minster Justin Trudeau has ignored the rule of law in ejecting Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott from the Liberal caucus. Mr. Sunny Ways seems that he considers himself the supreme dictator when running the show, setting and/or ignoring the rules as he pleases.
The Parliament of Canada Act clearly states in section 49 that “A member of a caucus may only be expelled from it if 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 the expulsion of the member is approved by secret ballot by a majority of all caucus members.”
That seems pretty clear even to us who are not legally trained, and I personally would suggest that in the absence of such a vote that both Wilson-Raybould and Philpott are arguably still entitled to remain as members of the Liberal caucus.
The act goes on to require every caucus at its first meeting after a general election to either adopt or reject the procedure laid out in section 49. Again the Liberal caucus appears to have ignored that requirement and hence by default the statutory provision would appear to govern and override their informal process, or perhaps you might say their lack thereof.
Now that former minister Philpott has raised the issue, the matter has been referred to Geoff Regan, Speaker of the House, for a ruling, to which he has replied with an obscure waiver of any authority, stating: “In fact the only role of the Speaker is to be advised of the caucus decision. The Speaker’s role stops there. It does not in any way extend to interpreting the results of the votes, or how the votes were taken, or to interpreting any other relevant provisions.”
But here is the kicker! Compounding the expulsion issue is a further clause in the Parliament of Canada Act which states that: “Any determination of a matter relating to the internal operations of a party by the caucus, a committee of the caucus or the caucus chair is final and not subject to judicial review.”
So where does that leave the expulsion of Wilson-Raybould and Philpott? The law is clear; the Speaker is not prepared to rule on the matter and internal operations of a party are not subject to judicial review.
These two ejected former cabinet ministers need to exercise their rights and demand their seats on the Liberal benches and let the chips fall where they may.
This government has turned the entire SNC-Lavalin affair into a ridiculous scandal and exposed their incompetence at every turn.
And this is our highest order of government? What a circus!
Take your seats, ladies; and reclaim your vote in the Liberal caucus.
Ken Allred is a former St. Albert alderman and MLA.