Cheryl Gallant, ad hominem and Bill C-17

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Cheryl Gallant, ad hominem and Bill C-17

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of ad hominem:

1:appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect  

2:marked by or being an attack on an opponent's character rather than by an answer to the contentions made

The following is extracted from a speech by Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant, Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke Ontario, in the House of Commons on October 26th, 2017 during the debate on the third reading of Bill C-17.

“Bill C-17, an act to amend the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act and to make a consequential amendment to another act, would directly undermine the economic well-being of people living in Yukon, but it should set off alarm bells for every Canadian about what kind of Liberals were elected in Ottawa. Canadians were pitched a story about a new warm and fuzzy, centrist Liberal Party.”

“old Liberal power brokers”

“trading votes and money for policies infused with the radical left-wing ideology of paternalist progressivism”

“It is like Frankenstein's monster. It is alive”

“it has the brains of Dalton McGuinty bolted onto the body of a Chrétien-Martin money machine.”

“cynical vote buying”

“arrogant Ottawa-knows-best attitude, and ending in despair and economic destruction”

“lobbyist friends”

“dictate to the provinces and territories”

“Liberal horror story” – used twice

“anti-development agenda”

“punishing country-wide carbon tax”

“green ideology over there trumps common sense”

Bill C-17 will remove four contentious amendments placed in Bill S-6, (an Act to amend the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act and the Nunavut Waters and Nunavut Surface Rights Tribunal Act), which was made into law in 2015.

Here are the facts about Senate Bill S-6.

By law The Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act, (YESAA), must be amended and updated periodically.  In 2015, during consultations with the Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN), as required by law, 72 of 76 amendments to YESAA were agreed upon.

After CYFN left the table, the Yukon Party territorial government and the federal Conservative government snuck in four contentious clauses which would have removed arms length status from the Yukon Environmental Socio-economic Assessment Board and undermined both YESAA and the Umbrella Final Agreement, (the self-government treaty with the CYFN).  The content of the four amendments pandered to resource extraction industries at the expense environmental protections and First Nations treaty rights. 

Bills dealing with obscure regional issues are often Senate bills. However, mischief can easily find a home in a Senate bill without much national coverage, outrage or political cost.  Wrong-doing can also be obscured because the North is not on anyone’s radar.

The way in which the four amendments were introduced into Bill S-6 was an affront to any notion of fairness.  It was dishonourable and probably illegal.  Court battles were pending and the Liberal Party made mending this injustice an election promise.  Yukoners expect Bill C-17 to pass.

Fast forward to October 26th of 2017.  Bill C-17 was supposed to have its final reading on October 26th with a vote on October 30th.  Yukon MP, Larry Bagnell has accused the Conservative opposition of “running out the clock and speaking about things that had nothing to do with the substance of the bill”.  Hansard transcripts reveal this to be the case.  Consequently, it is not known when the final vote on Bill C-17 will take place.

Interesting enough, during the October 26th debate, Conservative MP, Arnold Viersen said, “Bill C-17 is a justice bill”.  I’m sure he misspoke because of his party’s determined support of an injustice.

Ad hominem and misdirection were tools commonly used by the Conservative Party, while in power, to block meaningful debate.  Conservative MPs continue to use those tactics today. Just because new Conservative leader, Andrew Scheer, has a more pleasant demeanour than his predecessor does not mean that the Conservative Party has turned it’s back on questionable tactics.

Readers can read the entire debate on Bill C-17 in Open Parliament. It is quite enlightening.

Linda Leon

Linda Leon is not, nor has she ever been, a member of any federal political party.