Self respect


The Ottawa Citizen editorial board challenges MPs to save themselves.

Minority or majority, the constant is the lack of honour and civility in Parliament. What hasn’t changed is the reduction of the role of elected members to bit players in hackneyed political theatre. Every MP, of any party, who acquiesces in this must answer for it to his or her constituents.

The holidays should be a time for every MP to consider this problem and how he or she might contribute to a solution when the House reconvenes. The caucus is ultimately the only source of authority for any party in the House of Commons. MPs should demand a greater role in question period than that of heckler and, occasionally, script-reader.


Self respect

  1. I follow UK politics, their Parliament is much more interesting, but top ranks of all political parties are private school boys and girls. Canada’s best educated don’t go into politics, not that I can tell at least. UK Parliament has patina of erudition because they are better educated while Canadian MPs are public schools and playground behaviour. 

    I often think Question Period resembles msm websites where articles are posted and then random comments appear below. MPs are spastics because Canadians are spastics. 

    Why don’t Canadian MPs have 1922 committee to try and influence PM/Cabinet? PM Cameron has been getting a hard time from 1922 members recently and that might have had role in UK using veto last week. There is safety in numbers – PM can punish one or two malcontents but if 30-40 MPs form awkward squad they can influence Cabinet decisions. 

    Daily Telegraph Dec 15 2011:

    Last night, at the 1922 Committee, David Cameron got a hell of a reception. MPs banged their tables, cheered, and, from what I was told, asked soft questions.

    Wiki ~ 1922 Cmte
    In British politics, the 1922 Committee is a committee of Conservative Members of Parliament. Voting membership is limited to backbench MPs although frontbench Conservative MPs have an open invitation to attend meetings. While the party was in opposition, frontbench MPs other than the party leader could also attend its meetings. The Committee meets every week while Parliament is in session, and provides a way for Conservative backbenchers to determine their views independently of frontbenchers, as well as playing an important role in the choosing of the party leader.

    • In the last election we had 2 PhDs and an MA running for the PM position.
      Cameron has a BA.
      However none of this is relevant to the topic.

    • I agree with you as to the 1922 committee.  Backbench MPs should meet independently from cabinet. Also, party financing and political advertising in the UK is very different from what we have here in Canada.

      Best educated don’t have time for grassroots politics.  Nurturing the contacts and friendships through riding association is not for everyone. That’s why a leader, IMO, should retain the right to exceptionally parachute candidates, the anti-democratic argument against this is bs:  the candidates do stand for election and the voters decide anyway. 

      • I don’t have a problem with a parachuted candidate–as long as it isn’t over the objections of the riding association.   Because, while your comment is right in theory, in practice the Leader has to sign the nomination papers, and if he has picked a candidate he wants to take the riding, he can just not sign for all others.

  2. IMO, most Canadians have lost interest in the nation’s political discourse and no longer pay much attention (a state of apathy which is probably encouraged by the incumbent government). Democracy abhors an attentional vacuum and where one develops, it is quickly occupied by autocratic authority, to wit, the Harper regime.

  3. I have now become tired of more civility on the part of the opposition.  Why?  Because the governing party doesn’t change its behaviour one whit.  So, really, it is just putting a straightjacket on the opposition while not improving the discourse in the House.  Or in other words, sucka!

  4. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Backbenchers are more than free to voice any damn opinion they want to. They’re free to work against central control and they’re free to vote along any lines that they want to. They can choose not to bark and clap like seals all they want.

    What they’re *not* free to do is all of the above *and* expect to remain in their little colour-coordinated club. The fact that so few of them elect to operate within demanded party lines means that we continually elect candidates who, when the rubber meets the road, choose party loyalty and potential career opportunities over that of the electorate.

Sign in to comment.