On the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Jon Stewart occasionally thanks the comedy gods after the U.S. government does something so asinine that writing jokes about it becomes unnecessary.
Well, on Friday, we too got a gift from the comedy gods after the Globe and Mail reported that, for the second time in two weeks, Parliament has set a new record for screwing up on an astronomical level. Last week, we discovered that the House of Commons sent the wrong copy of the Conservative crime bill to the Senate. Let this serve as a lesson in proofreading your homework, kids. On Friday, the Globe and Mail also revealed that a bill passed in June that criminalizes recruiting people into a gang contained errors that could weaken its credibility. If there is anything we can learn from this, it’s that the Globe and Mail should give every bill a once over before it’s passed into a law.
Concerning the Conservative crimes bill, it’s up to the Senate to patch things up. Speaker Andrew Scheer will inform the House that it sent the wrong bill when parliament resumes in September. While the House passed the correct bill, the Senate has not only debated the wrong bill, but approved it in principle on June 19th. So yes, parliament has been effectively and timely screwing things up. The bill in question, Bill C-479 would amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and extend the wait for a parole review.
Much like a deadbeat teenager, the House has declared it’s not responsible for its mistakes, and has put the onus on the Senate to withdraw the old bill and review the new one when it receives it in September.
Now the Senate must be the responsible parent here and clean up their kid’s mistakes. It seems as though they’re approaching the error with the mature reasoning we should expect from politicians, yet is nonetheless surprising.
In regard to reviewing the incorrect bill, Senator George Baker said, “The senators should have seen this. The mover of the motion, [Conservative Senator Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu] and the research bureau should have seen it. I should have seen it as the critic for legal matters in the Senate.” It seems senators need a reminder that thoroughly reading a bill before passing it is in their job description. Actually, never mind, it is their job.
Patching up the mistakes in the law that targets gang recruitment might be a little more difficult. The law makes it a crime to invite, recruit, or coerce someone to join a gang, but the word coerce was left out of the section describing the minimum penalty for gang recruitment. This could weaken the law and prevent enforcement of the minimum penalty.
It turns out the senators recognized this mistake, but didn’t fix it out of fear of killing the bill. Law making at its finest. Conservative MP Parm Gill, who sponsored the bill, confessed that he had become secretary to the Veterans Affairs Minister, and no longer had the authority to support a movement in the Senate to make changes. To try to fix the bill would mean that the bill would be killed, but is that any reason to pass faulty legislation?
Let’s just hope that next week parliament doesn’t try to break its record and mess up a third bill.