Layton may speak like he's a grade school teacher talking to a gymnasium of kids but sometimes that a good thing. Today, as he introduces his motion, he rips apart this Liberal talking point about the "8 weeks".
...taken the view that there needs to be an election to determine whether his party can carry on in government as a result of the findings and recommendations of a justice - a respected justice - that has examined a scandal and reported out. The Prime Minister has said himself that Canadians need the opportunity toNicely done Jack!. Now let's get this campaign started.
judge on the finding and the recommendations and the political party about which the investigation was conducted. We agree. The only question is when.
His proposal in on or about March 1st. Our proposal, which will be coming from the majority of members in this chamber when we see the vote on it next week suggests the beginning of January. So those are the 8 weeks which we are speaking about.
So what is to happen in those 8 weeks?
First, this house is not sitting for 5 of those weeks. In other words, the democratic process of members rising in the house to propose actions on key issues affecting Canadians; the process of questioning the government on their actions and holding them to account; the idea that we should be considering spending or legislation to correct the many unsolved problems that have been left to fester for 12 long years - that work is simply unable to be conducted during 5 of those weeks.
Is the Prime Minister suggesting that somehow those 8 week and those 5 weeks in particular are irrelevant to Canadians?
We submit to you that by having the election in March those weeks are lost as working weeks for parliamentarians to work for Canadians.
Therefore there is no effective or good argument not to be having an election because of 5 weeks when we are literally shut out of this place in any event.
Of course, there will be something going on for those five weeks. We can be sure that vehicles such as the Challenger will be regularly booked; that there will be a number of press releases / announcements, probably from coast to coast to coast in this country.
All paid for, by the way, by the taxpayers. These announements will be based on decisions already made by the House of Commons and spending decisions already made by the House of Commons.
So, as a matter of fact, what will be happening in the 5 weeks that we are talking about is a public relations campaign - not the actions of anything relevant to this particular house.
So, we will be having a publicly financed public relations campaign. Then the House will return for 3 more weeks. What is to take place in those 3 weeks?
Well, a budget will be tabled on which a vote will not be able to happen because the Prime Minister has said there will be an election on or about March 1st. So, it's a budget which will not precipitate or produce any positive action whatsoever. And it will dominate the three weeks. So, our proposal Madame Speaker is simply that this business of the eight weeks being somehow significant or being somehow relevant to addressing the issues of Canadians is false.
The work that needs to be done by this House should take place between now and the holidays and that's what we want to see.