How about a part-time Parliament?


It turns out that adding and distributing seats in the House of Commons is complicated. Those particularly concerned about the cost of representative democracy might find inspiration in Rick Perry’s plan for Congress.

The U.S. does not need a full-time Congress that is more focused on increasing its perks instead of reducing spending. America needs a part-time, Citizen Congress – populated with those who choose to serve not for profit, or for the promise of a high-paying lobbyist job, but for the good of their communities, states, and the nation. Even with a 50 percent pay-cut, Congressional members would still make a significantly higher income than the average American. By changing the way Congress operates, and moving towards a part-time legislature, Congressman will have the freedom to live in their communities, engage their constituents, and truly speak for the people they represent. Rules preventing members of Congress from holding private sector jobs must also be repealed. – When lawmakers hold the same types of jobs as their constituents, they will gain a much greater understanding of how congressional laws impact the real world.


How about a part-time Parliament?

  1. Have Canadian pols always treated their jobs as full time? 

    Part time would be appropriate but it’s never going to happen in Canada because our MPs are mostly sycophant layabouts and they are not going to change rules. Bureaucracy mostly runs Canada anyways, MPs are there mainly for show so I don’t see why they can’t be part time. 

    It has changed since New Labour/Blair came to office, but I know in UK MP was part time job, people had other jobs as well as be MP. Parliament did not start till mid-late afternoon and went late into evenings – MPs were expected to have proper jobs during the day and run the country in evening.

  2. Less Parliament is clearly part of the agenda at the moment. Everything needs to pass by Christmas because having Parliament sit is really just an inconvenience.

    Pass the Bills, prorogue Parliament, and don’t call it back until you need to get supply (and then, not for long).

  3. So the Liberals are praising Mike Harris for reducing MPP`s in Ontario. That doesn`t sound sincere. I suspect it would be much more difficult to reduce seats federally, what with regional and constitutional issues to deal with.

    That is why I do not believe Dion`s proposal is sincere. He should know that the reduction of seats in Quebec, PEI and other provinces would set off a federal-provincial squabble that would spread into Parliament quickly and would paralyze that place for years. But maybe that`s what he wants.

    I have never believed the reverence Liberals profess to have for Parliament is sincere. That contempt for Parliament ploy they pulled last winter was strictly a political play. If you want to judge their sincerity, check their attendance in Parliament or their constant chattering when they are there.

    If one looks at the declining numbers of Liberal MP`s sent to Parliament in the past 5 elections then it is easy to see the voters can also see the insincerity.

    • Dion was on the radio the other day talking about this.  When they opened the phones about half the callers pointed out in a well informed manner the constitutional issues and provinces participation – the other half were screaming no to increasing the number of MPs, didn’t care about representation, leave it like it is, etc.  (I’d call them the uninformed half, lol)
      It is getting them some spin which is what they want as I agree with you this isn’t sincere.
      Conservatives need to point out that if this is such a good idea why didn’t the Liberals do it when they were government.

      • “Conservatives need to point out that if this is such a good idea why didn’t the Liberals do it when they were government.”

        How constructive is this, apart from being political posturing? Is that the best Conservatives have to explain their incessant increases in government spending.  We pay 90,000 a day for consultants because Harper’s cabinet is too dumb to work colaboratively with the public service to do this, as was done in previous exercises of restraints and program reviews, and we have paid more than ten times what the French paid this year to hold G8/G20.  How much more indebtedness are you comfortable with? 

        I live in Mississauga, where we currently have four MPs.  I could take a city bus and visit the constituency office of any of these MPs easily in a day.  Because of the high density of the population, we would have a fifth.  I just don’t see the point. 

        If it’s because my vote is worth less than the vote of a PEI farmer, then why not adjust when the MPs vote – MP A’s vote is worth X because of the number of constituents he represents vs MP B’s vote is worth XX because he represents more constituents.  It only takes the math skills required for working with Excel to figure it out. 

      • Buy the way, the Constitution was amended ten times since 1982, and in 1985 it was amended to change the method of distributing seats in the HoC.  It did not require, 7 out of or, the ten province to do so, and would not require reopening the constitutional talks with the province to change it again in the manner proposed by Dion.  It would take leadership on the part of the prime minister – may as well forget it!

        • You must be naive if you think that a redistribution of seats that would in effect take seats away from Quebec and distribute them to either Ont., Alta., or B.C. would not awaken the whole  ”  Quebec is getting a bad deal in Canada thing “.

          The NDP are dreaming so much about Quebec as their new power base that they may decide to separate too.

          • The Dion plan would accomplish the same thing in terms of percentages (weight) as the Harper plan, but without adding seats, so without adding costs.  In fact, most Quebec observers understood immediately that the Dion plan would be slightly more advantageous to Quebec than Harper in terms of the weight of their deputation to the federal HoC.  If their choice is to spend more money to get less, or to get less and not spend more money, they’ll chose the latter.  They may be naive, but not as much as you think.
            I think you are naive to think that the Conservatives can continue to shovel money around without notice.  And you know, sometimes it’s not the big amount that hits a raw nerve.
            The Conservatives have yet to explain why we need more MPs when debates are deemed irrelevant and MPs fall asleep, literally, on the job!

          • I just checked the Dion proposal again and it really is such minor tinkering of the present system that it would probably just annoy all provinces. Most Provinces remain the same or gain or lose a few seats—the biggest change is Ont. gaining 4 seats and Que. losing 3.

            You have not addressed the fallout concerning the loss of seats in Quebec, especially when you know the dippers are going to be all over this if they think it will shore up their Quebec base.

          • When will you start feeling uncomfortable about  increasing the cost of government? Next will be the Senate that will cost more because we’ll have to reimburse them for their election spending and they’ll need political staffers – and in this Harperian era an exponential need for communication staffers.

            I repeat, as you obviously didn’t get the point: it’s not the number of MPs that matter, it’s the weight a province retains or loses.  With the Harper plan, Quebec will have more MPs but less weight at a higher cost*.  With the Dion plan, Quebec will have less MPs but marginally more weight than with the Harper plan, at no cost.  Only a conservative,highly inebriated by his spending taxpayers’ money, cannot get the difference.

            Quebec % of seats in the HoC
            Harper plan:  23.8%
            Dion plan: 23.14%


          • Upon sober reflection, I can see that your percentage numbers show a lower Que. representation under the Dion plan then the Harper plan.
            You better double check that because I can assure you the dippers and the separatists will be hoping to increase Quebec`s representation.

            Though I am thrilled in your new-found fiscal conservatism to save taxpayer monies, I wonder if you would admit that the main reason why Liberals like yourself and Dion do not want the Harper plan to go ahead is because you know that the Liberals will win very few of the additional seats. Having said that I will say that one of the reasons why I would like more fair representation in heavily populated areas, much of which are new Canadians, is because I believe those people will want to vote CPC, thereby increasing the overall Conservative representation in Parliament.

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