cbc.ca (© Copyright: (C) Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, http://www.cbc.ca/aboutcbc/discover/termsofuse.html#Rss)
Updated: Tue, 22 Jul 2014 14:39:50 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

NDP taking its fight to the doors of the BOIE - again



NDP Leader Tom Mulcair criticized Prime Minister Stephen Harper over his choice for next privacy commissioner during question period in the House of Commons on Monday, June 2, 2014. Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair criticized Prime Minister Stephen Harper over his choice for next privacy commissioner during question period in the House of Commons on Monday, June 2, 2014. Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press

The NDP is once again taking its fight over satellite offices to the gates of the Board of Internal Economy (BOIE).

The secretive House of Commons committee is meeting again Tuesday afternoon, apparently, to discuss whether the NDP improperly used House of Commons funds to open satellite offices, in particular, the one in Montreal.

“The NDP believes that the only way to have real accountability for the BOIE is to replace it by an independent body,” NDP House Leader Peter Julian said in a news release on Tuesday announcing his party would try to force the board to open its doors to the public.

"But until then," he continued, "the only way to make it more transparent is to lift the veil of secrecy and to ensure that all meetings are open to the public."

The NDP has invited the media to attend the meeting and says it will attempt to pass a motion to "open the doors."

The bid, however, seems to have failed as media were not allowed to even go to the third-floor hallway in the Parliament buildings where the meeting room is located.

Ironically, tourists are allowed into that particular hallway ,and in fact file through it after visiting the Memorial Chamber in the Peace Tower.

In a separate email sent out to NDP caucus members Monday, Steven Moran, deputy chief of staff to Leader Tom Mulcair, said they expect the BOIE to hear from House of Commons administration that will confirm that NDP staff in the satellite office perform only parliamentary duties and not partisan activities.

Accuses opponents of ganging up

"Knowing our opponents," Moran nonetheless cautioned the caucus, "we can expect that they will interpret the findings of the administration of the House of Commons with their usual bad faith."

The Speaker of the House of Commons acts as the chair of the board, its membership is made up of MPs from the three major parties in the House of Commons - three from the government, three from the opposition.

However, the opposition seats are split between the NDP and Liberals, meaning that the NDP holds only two seats on the board, hence Moran’s warning to caucus.

"We need to be aware our Conservative and Liberal opponents have decided to take advantage of these meetings held behind closed doors," Moran continued. "They have transformed the BOIE into a kangaroo court to attack our integrity."

Long-running battle

For months, the NDP has vigorously defending itself against attacks from Conservatives and Liberals, as well as negative findings by the BOIE, when it comes to how the NDP caucus uses its parliamentary budget.

Canada Post is already looking at its options after the BOIE declared the NDP misused more than $1-million worth of parliamentary mailing privileges.

more video