Politics Unspun

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Dominion Day done in by deceit
As Canadians prepare to celebrate their national holiday, few will realize that they are also celebrating a dirty bit of political chicanery. It all begins at 4 p.m. on Friday, July 9, 1982. The House of Commons meets in afternoon session, and only one item is on the agenda: Bill C-201, a private member’s bill to change the name of the July 1 holiday from “Dominion Day” to “Canada Day.”

Fewer than 12 of the 282 members the House show up for work, which presents a procedural problem because a quorum of at least 20 members is required to conduct business. Officially, no bills could be passed. Nevertheless, Bill C-201 is given second and third reading. The time is 4:05 p.m. Our hard-working representatives call it a day.

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