NDP make last-minute pitch to Tories for help reforming question period

The New Democrats are making a last-minute plea to Conservative MPs to support their motion on reforming question period.

OTTAWA — The New Democrats are making a last-minute plea to Conservative MPs to support their motion on reforming question period.

NDP House leader Peter Julian has written to the entire government caucus, saying the effort to get better answers out of question period is a modest, non-partisan step towards improving the daily give-and-take.

The NDP introduced the motion after receiving unrelated, unsatisfactory answers last week to pointed questions about Canadian soldiers in Iraq.

The Opposition’s pleas for help went unheeded by Speaker Andrew Scheer, who said he can only intervene on inappropriate questions, not the answers.

On Monday, the Tories came out swinging against the NDP motion, saying it unfairly penalizes them and not the Opposition.

Government House leader Peter Van Loan used a quirk of parliamentary procedure to try and quash the vote on the motion itself, which is expected later today.

Now Julian is asking Tories to reconsider.

“This motion will not cure all that ails our democracy. This motion will not even cure all that ails question period,” Julian writes in the letter, obtained by The Canadian Press.

“But what it will do is ensure that ministers and parliamentary secretaries are required to at least attempt to address questions that are asked of them.”

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