Thursday, April 4, 2013

Senate adjourns debate on Defence Bill to April 23; government will consider concerns raised

The government on Wednesday adjourned debate in the Senate on the Miscellaneous Provisions (Defence and Police Complaints) Bill, which would give soldiers the powers of arrest.
Ganga Singh: "What we are seeking to do is to incorporate the elements of concern
that were raised by members of the honourable House."
Leader of Government Business Ganga Singh advised that the debate would resume on April 23. He told local media that would give government time to consider the concerns raised by the Independent Senators.

The bill passed in the House of Representatives last month with the government's clear majority. However in the Senate it needs the support of at least four of the nine Independent Senators.

The Opposition reacted to the move by stating that the government suffered a clear defeat. However Justice Minister Christlyn Moore disagreed.

"I would's an overstatement and a premature statement, in its very genesis it's inaccurate," she said.

"I think we should have a bit of patience because as has been agreed to by almost all members who have stood on all sides of the House this is important legislation and this deals with an important issue and I would refrain from trivialising it and calling defeats or calling victories at this stage," said Moore.

Singh told reporters the Government wants the bill passed and would make adjustments. "There are certain sentiments expressed and we have to take that into consideration," he said. 

"This is a very listening Government and therefore it is critical measures and it requires a re-tooling of the approach and that therefore with the sentiments expressed in particular by the Independent Senators...the Attorney General's office is now looking at that and how we can fashion it in order to focus the approach we want to continue to keep," he said.

"What we are seeking to do is to incorporate the elements of concern that were raised by members of the honourable House," he said.

Five independent senators and Opposition Senators will participate in the debate when it resumes later this month.

“If we address the issues raised by the current crop of senators who have spoken including those in the Opposition then we expect a safe passage of the Bill," Singh said.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai