Democracy costs money

by Aaron Wherry

Conservative MP Brian Jean is apparently concerned about the money spent to answer order paper questions submitted by MPs. (This would seem to be a standing concern of his.)

Since the ability of MPs to hold the government to account is paramount in our system of democratic governance, it would seem odd to turn this into a question about whether MPs should be able to pose questions or to suggest that ability should be somehow limited. Rather, if one is truly concerned about cost, one might explore what is entailed in these costs and how the practice of finding answers might be made more efficient.

Mind you, Dean Del Mastro would probably point out that, in the grand scheme of things, $1.2 million isn’t a lot of money.

Update 12:28pm. Via Twitter, Brian Jean suggests he’s “looking out for taxpayers by holding the opposition accountable for the money spent on written questions.” For the sake of comparison, Mr. Jean might use his next order paper question to ask how much the government of the day spent responding to the questions listed here, here, here, here and here.




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Democracy costs money

  1. This government. Always finding efficiencies.

  2. You would think if any MP was really worried about taxpayer money being wasted in the House of Commons budget they would be was more concerned over loudmouth Pat Martin’s attempts to get the House of Commons to pay his legal bills. What a loser Pat Martin is – he is not even man enough to pay for the consequences of his own actions and expects taxpayer’s to pick up the tab. I hope his request for taxpayer legal aide is denied and Par Martin does the honourable and pays his own bills like any other person earning over $ 150K a year would do in the real world. Where is Mulcair to show leadership on this issue and make Pat Martin pay ?

    • I wonder who pays the legal bills for our litigious Prime Minister?

    • Can you still make a decent living as a fishmonger, Bill? Because I don’t think anybody but you is interested in that red herring you’re trying to peddle.

      • wrong again thwim, too the back of the class for you.

        • Wow. Sorry. I guess I underestimated just how little intelligence it takes to be able to read.

      • How is it a red herring ?

  3. “Written questions to MPs cost $1.2 million

    Government accused of trying to hush critics”

    At least the citizen puts a rebuttal up there in the headliner.

    You have to wonder about the media these days though. How many others will take the time to give a balanced report? Seems to me in the good olde thyme days [ when the media was flush] some enterprising editor would decide to run another story [perhaps alongside] highlighting just how much this govt spends on needless self promotion – you know, offer some perspective.

    But nothing quite grabs like a headline like that, does it? Well played CPC. You are slowly burying the principle of rational, legitimate opposition criticism/accountability in this country one shovel full at a time, under an avalanche of self serving neo-liberal bilge and crapola. We get it already – democratic oversight is a social programme we can no longer afford in these perilous economic times.
    We finally have a govt that knows the value of nothing but the cost of everything, everything that slows down the Harper train to Conservative nirvana ; and if you want to ride the new democracy train you have to be prepared to PAY baby!

    • Why do you hate the troops?

      • Because it cost me too much to keep them. Why can’t they hunt for their own food, or something? How bout they buy their own bullets? Let them pay for those F35 gazzilion $ planes if they want em so badly. What’s wrong with spiffing up those F18s i say? They just have to fly more efficiently…and steathily…can’t they paint them with white out or something?

        • Or, like the old British officer corps, buy their commissions and uniforms and outfit their own regiments.

          • Sure. We could update it a bit. Let them have something cheap, green and modern…maybe stealth war horses?

  4. Update on update: So, BJ appears to actually be every bit as partisan or just plain clueless as he first appeared to be then? Someone should tell him that fiscal accountability and political accountability aren’t mutually exclusive…but why bother.

  5. http://www2.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/archives/story.html?id=50ac9bfb-7851-41d4-9158-aa5a11235384

    It’s time i think Mr J to bring out an old Potter classic essay. Man he skewers Tony…i love it. Why isn’t he still writing for Macleans? No $ i guess?

    I particularly liked this -

    “This could actually be a fun little parlour game, but it is no way to run a country. Except it is the same brand of bucktoothed libertarianism that has become this government’s signature approach to public policy. Whether it is about treating drug abuse, dealing with crime, running a statistics agency, or engaging in just about any of the other routine tasks of keeping a G8 country going, the Conservatives have made a habit of giving Canadians policy cooked up by people who can’t figure out whether they have a bigger crush on Robert Heinlein, or Ann Coulter.”

  6. Obviously, M. Jean, the questions posed by the opposition cost nothing. What is expensive is the government’s answers. Maybe Monsieur Jean should get to work to help his buddies in government if he is so concerned. Take pen and paper if need be, but the way the government chooses to answer questions is too expensive

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