Behold the ‘whatever’ that he considers ‘necessary’ to transform the House from a partisan echo chamber to a forum for civilized and productive debate.
(By the way, if any of you other candidates have platforms to promote, feel free to send them along to ITQ – or, if you don’t have a formal proposal, but are feeling adventurous, come join the debate in the comment threads!)
From the desk of Speaker hopeful Barry Devolin, courtesy of the press gallery newswire:
“DEVOLIN HAS 3 POINT PLAN TO IMPROVE DECORUM IN THE HOUSE”
November 12, 2008
OTTAWA – Barry Devolin, Member of Parliament for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock and candidate for Speaker of the House of Commons, today announced details of his 3 Point Plan to improve decorum in the House.
“Ever since I was first elected, I have heard Members of Parliament talk about raising the level of debate in the House,” said Devolin. “I believe there is an appetite for change among Members of Parliament from all parties. This is not a partisan issue.”
“The tone of debate in the House is set by the Speaker, the same as the tone of play in a hockey game is set by the referee,” explained Devolin. “If you want a new tone, you need to find a new referee.”
Devolin’s plan is based on 3 points.
1. Assemble a team for the Speaker’s chair committed to improving decorum.
“My first act as Speaker will be to ask House Leaders to appoint three Members of Parliament committed to working with me to improve decorum to serve as Deputy Speaker, and as Deputy and Assistant Deputy Chairpersons of Committees of the Whole. To be successful, we need consistency in the chair.”
2. Start on the periphery of House activities; then move towards the centre – Question
“I believe the best time to introduce a new tone in the House is during the least stressful activities, such as private members’ business or routine debate. Subsequently, this more respectful tone could be expanded to include more stressful activities, such as Question Period. Starting with Question Period won’t work.”
3. Establish a Special Committee to develop a “Members’ Code of Mutual Respect”.
“I will ask the House Leaders to appoint a caucus member each to a Special Committee, to be chaired by the Deputy Speaker, which will draft a statement of reasonable expectations for Members’ conduct in the House. This special committee will consult with Members while drafting a high level, one page document to be tabled when the House returns in January.”
“Every M.P. deserves respect from their colleagues, the same as they would get in any other workplace in Canada,” said Devolin. “I look forward to the day when I can be proud to welcome a group of school children to attend Question Period.”