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Charlottetown Senator says upper chamber needs to stop rushing legislation

P.E.I. Senator Percy Downe is pressuring the Canada Revenue Agency to crack down on off-shore tax shelters.

(File Photo)
P.E.I. Senator Percy Downe.

Haste makes waste, says Charlottetown Senator Percy Downe.

Speaking to his inquiry in the Senate, Downe highlighted examples when the upper chamber hastily passed legislation that negatively impacted Canadians.

Downe’s first example was the New Veterans Charter, which was debated for two minutes in the House of Commons and spent less than five hours in the Senate before being adopted.

The senator said failing to correct the errors in the legislation, despite being warned by a veterans’ advocate, has cost disabled veterans millions of dollars, which was confirmed by the parliamentary budget officer in February.

The Senate was assured by the government the New Veterans Charter was not a cost-saving exercise. That turned out, as proven by the parliamentary budget officer, to be false.

Another example noted by Downe was the study of the World Trade Organization’s trade facilitation agreement when the senate was assured Nov. 22, 2016 that other countries would, in the words of the then-minister of international trade, “absolutely’’ ratify the agreement within the week.

Downe said that was also not true. The Senate rushed approval of this legislation only to discover that other countries took more than three months to ratify the agreement.

Downe urged senators to spend less time trying to amend the rules of the senate and more time reviewing and correcting proposed legislation to improve the lives of Canadians.

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