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Green leader Elizabeth May accuses Tories of trying to silence her

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says a back-door attempt by the federal government to silence her won’t work.
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Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says a back-door attempt by the federal government to silence her won’t work.

A Conservative-backed motion Wednesday stripped independent MPs and those in parties with fewer than 12 elected members of their power to propose amendments from the floor of the House of Commons at the report stage. Instead they must submit amendments by letter to the chairs of the relevant committee.

“It’s basically shutting me down, but I won’t give up,” May said in an interview. “I’m not giving up but it’s a back-door, centrally co-ordinated effort to shut down the rights of smaller parties and independents.

“This is unprecedented in Canadian parliamentary history. No party has ever tried to shut down the limited number of rights of people working in parties under 12 members.”

May said she has often proposed amendments, at the report stage, that were substantive and in the public interest. She has tried not to be obstructionist, she said.

The Saanich-Gulf Islands MP said she’ll gather evidence on how the new way of law-making hampers independent MPs and present her case to House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer. In the past, he has fought to protect the right of independent members to put forward amendments.

May said it’s thin-skinned and anti-democratic for the Conservative government to stand in the way of a lone Saanich-Gulf Islands MP speaking out via amendments to legislation.

May won the title of hardest-working MP in the 21st annual Hill Times Political Savvy Survey this year. She garnered much attention with her proposed amendments to the first omnibus budget debate, during which the House had to vote on each amendment.

The office of Government House Leader Peter Van Loan told the CBC that the motion was meant to ensure all members of Parliament are treated equally.