John Turner’s lawn is full of useless MPs


The former prime minister is generally unimpressed.

“There was more respect in the House of Commons, and as a result those of us in the House in the ’60s and ’70s across party lines worked more collaboratively and more friendly. We had meals and drinks together and the mood was good. It was not as caustic as it is today.”

The effect on Canadians, watching from the outside, has been alarming. “It turns them off. It discourages young men and women from running for Parliament. “Who wants to be a member of Parliament when the job isn’t worth anything any more?” said Turner, insisting that the time for wholesale change is now.

See previously: Get off John Turner’s lawn and The ‘Get Off My Lawn’ Tour continues


John Turner’s lawn is full of useless MPs

  1. I agree…which marks the first time I’ve ever agreed with Turner….we could run this country with half, or a quarter of the MPs we already have.  And we certainly don’t need more!

    They just take up bench space and public money, and accomplish nothing useful.

  2. Speaking of useless MPs, did anyone watch Boivin and Comartin in action at the Supreme Court nominee hearing?  Worse than useless.

  3. I wonder how much of what Turner talks about can be attributed to the role of media and the “professionalization”, for lack of a better word, of politics.

    Remember that when Turner’s political career started, that was before cameras were even allowed in the House of Commons.  I think it was a little bit more like a private club back then, even with the press gallery present.  That has drawbacks, but also an upside, as Turner notes.

    The other thing which I think has been generally toxic, though perhaps inevitable, has been the “professionalization” of politics through such things as expert advisors and especially media gurus, pollsters and the like.  Polling is infinitely more entrenched and sophisticated than it was 40 years ago.  There have always been political advisors, but people like Roger Ailes, James Carville, Lee Atwater and the like married that role with that of media expert (especially Roger Ailes).  And I think as their role and importance have gotten greater, it has led to our elected MPs being encouraged to be on the offensive, and “on stage” 100% of the time.  Especially now with cellphone cameras, YouTube etc. and the 24 hr news cycle.  Our MPs think they can never let their guard down and be human.

    I’m struck by how, as soon as they retire, many MPs who seemed like complete partisan jerks while they were MPs seem like nice, polite, likeable people.  Don Boudria is an example, also Sheila Copps, but there are tons of others.

  4. John Turner lost the election because he (or his party) was viewed as a bigger patronage pig than Mulroney.  Let that sink in for a minute.  Then think of Tony Clement and Bruce Carson and realize that we haven’t evolved over the past 30 years.  If anything, we’ve devolved.

  5. It’s not decorum that’s missing, it’s content.

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