The Canadian parliamentary vote on using the term, genocide

On 22 February, the House of Commons of Canada voted to label persecution of the Uighur people by the Chinese authorities a genocide. I am not interested for purposes of this blog post in whether that is the right label or not (that’s way beyond my competence or the purpose of this blog). I am interested in the unusual nature of the vote.

It was unanimous among those voting, 266-0. However, the government did not take part in the vote. The governing Liberal Party currently has 154 of the House’s 338 seats. Thus as a minority government (see 2019 election result), the possibility of a measure passing over its abstention (or outright objection) is always a possibility even if the party itself votes with the government. In this case, obviously, some Liberals voted for the measure, but most were absent. Only two MPs were present but formally registered an abstention, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who declared he was abstaining “on behalf of the Government of Canada.”

I am not sure how frequently votes pass in this manner, especially on sensitive diplomatic matters, either in Canada or in other parliamentary systems. I am also not sure what the practical (as opposed to symbolic) meaning of such a vote is when the government is not on board with it.

4 thoughts on “The Canadian parliamentary vote on using the term, genocide

  1. Canada – one more 1066 Brit DARK AGE connected ANTI-Democracy minority rule gerrymander regime.

    1/2 or less votes x 1/2 rigged gerrymander areas = 1/4 or less CONTROL.

    Democracy via Proportional Representation

    TOTAL VOTES / TOTAL MEMBERS = EQUAL votes to elect each member.

    DE FACTO TYRANT PRIME MINISTERS IN PARL REGIMES-
    CONTROL OVER ENTIRE REGIMES – TOTAL VIOLATIONS OF SEPARATION OF POWERS.

    BUT – AT LEAST CANADA HAS A WRITTEN CONST WITH SOME LIMITS ON REGIMES.

    NOOO LIMITS IN THE UK — SINCE NOOO WRITTEN CONST. IN THE UK.

    THANK HEAVEN FOR 1775-1784 IN THE USA — O-U-T OF THE BRIT EMPIRE

    — BUT WITH BRIT MINORITY RULE GERRYMANDER INFECTIONS SINCE DAY 1.

  2. In Canada the issue is not gerrymandering (drawing boundaries to crack/pack opponents) as much as mal-apportionment (unequal district populations). In the previous redistribution, shifting 15 seats (4.4% of total) from SK, MN, NB, NS, PE, NL to BC, AB, ON would have handled inter-provincial mal-apportionment. Intra-provincial mal-apportionment of federal election districts was concentrated in about 15 huge, sparsely-populated districts.

    The main problem is single member districts, much more than gerrymandering or unequal district populations.

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