The shorter and shorter Parliament

Taking a moment from an otherwise pleasant vacation to do some math…

Here is a quickly put-together line graph of sitting days per year for Parliament—as tabulated by the House of Commons website—over the last forty years or so. In case the trend isn’t clear enough, here are the average number of sitting days by decade.

1970s. 142.7
1980s. 153.2
1990s. 119.6
2000s. 111.1

There were three elections in the 70s, three in the 80s, two in the 90s and four in the 00s.

By the previously established schedule for 2010, Parliament will be skipping a total of 22 sitting days as a result of prorogation. If it sticks to the rest of the schedule, Parliament will sit for a total of 114 days in the next year.




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The shorter and shorter Parliament

  1. Fine by me.

    The less time anybody spends in Ottawa, the less damage that big government does to our country.

    • OH SHUT UP

      • A few less days of the spectacle that QP has become,
        won't bring a tear to Canadian's eyes.
        The Opps need to re-evaluate what making Parliament work really means.

    • "Five-alarm moron."

      Made my day.

    • But what about all them unelected bureaucrats? Is that who you want running the country? I thought we needed angry men from Alberta over there setting them on the straight. and narrow. Mostly narrow.

  2. Canadians don't care about this stuff!

    There, ConBots. Saved you some time.

    • You can always tell when they're nervous, cause they swamp every electronic message board in sight with bullslop and false bravado.

      • Keep telling yourself that, hero.

      • "You can always tell when they're nervous, cause they swamp every electronic message board in sight with bullslop and false bravado."

        Worse is the hissy crabbiness, as avr above illustrates so vividly.

    • I already did and now my husband is writing her too and believe me, that's quite something for him to do.

  3. annnnd right on cue – some false bravado!

    awesome!

    • There's BS and false bravado on every side; the fact you think it's only "Conbots" doing it is more revealing than you'd probably like.

      • "There's BS and false bravado on every side"

        But most of it is on the ConBot side.

        • I'm sorry but do you seriously think the PMO employees people to comment on webistes ?

          Or that they've invented robots to parrot talking points ? Or that average citizens are even given talking points!

          Seriously, you give far far too much credit to Harper.

          Choose a narrative already, either its evil genius or incompetent idealogue !

          • …either its evil genius or incompetent idealogue.

            Actually, it's evil incompetent ideologue.

          • "Choose a narrative already, either its evil genius or incompetent idealogue (sic) !"

            How about just plain old stupid? Does that work for you?

  4. annnnd right on cue – some false bravado!

    awesome!

  5. If we consider the Calender year as Sept 14 2009 until Sept 14 2010, then our Parliamentarians plan on having 29 complete weeks* off (including the new time allowed by prorogation). I'm not even including loose dates like weekends or mid-week adjournments, which can be as long as three days. With only 52 weeks* in the year, the average parliamentarian spends more than half of the year outside of parliament!

    I wish I had such a cushy job, where I could spend half the year with time to spare and still be considered employed! The average Parliamentarian "earns" $155,400^ per calender year. Is this some kind of sick joke? A lot of Canadians don't have a job right now, and many of those who do have a job wished they could make a sixth of that number.

    ^(http://www2.parl.gc.ca/Parlinfo/Lists/Salaries.as

    *(seven continuous days)

  6. So this dastardly move by Harper will result in …three days ABOVE the average sitting for the decade.

    Oh the humanity!!

    As for nervousness, my gauge has been who's desperately arguing we avoid an election, and who's warmly embracing having the Harper government be judged by ALL the people (not just the Globe, CBC and Star – bastions of "correct" thought that they are).

    Bring on the election. Let the people decide.

    Ain't democracy wonderful.

    • It would be a wonder if Harper was actually likely to get the voter turnout to improve…care to lay a wager Biff?

      • Difficult to say really. A strong argument could be made that the Liberals decline in the last vote was more a function of its tradditional voters staying home, which would mean that it was the lack of inspiration on the left that resulted in the poor voter turnout.

        I also think a lot depends on what Iggy's platform will be. Harper's platform will likely be a "stay the course – our economy is unmatched right now" sort of thing. If Iggy tries something more risky (which in my opinion he should do, given his stagnating numbers) it may stimulate more debate/interest and get the turnout up. If Iggy runs on a CPC retread platform then the turnout will be woeful, as will be the Liberal vote.

        • Thanks Biff. Of all the Biff posts I have read, I believe that was your best ever. Keep it up.

        • I agree 100% with the lack of Liberal inspiration, but I'm not sure who will be more upset with calling Liberals Lefties, the Libs or the Lefties.

    • Average Parliamentarian Wages

      2009: $157,731.00
      2008: $155,400.00
      2007: $150,800.00
      2006: $147,700.00
      2005: $144,300.00
      2004: $141,200.00
      2003: $139,200.00
      2002: $135,000.00
      2001: $131,400.00
      2000: $ 68,200.00
      1999: $ 66,900.00

      Yeah, a lot changes in a decade, hey?

      (http://www2.parl.gc.ca/Parlinfo/Lists/Salaries.as

      • What happened between 2000 and 2001? How did the average wage nearly double in one year? I haven't found a good answer for that yet…

      • If some reporter wanted to earn his/her $$$, I'd like to see those wages adjusted for inflation and graphed against the number of days sat.

        On the other hand, if Sir John A had been paid more, maybe he wouldn't have been such a blatant crook.

    • Hey, folks! Look!

      Biff's in favour of MP's sitting on their buttocks and doing nothing but collecting fat paycheques for another month whilst Canadians–hundreds of thousands of them unemployed or underemployed–continue to stagger through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

      "Conservative" values at their best…

      • Shhhh, Sir Francis,

        best not bring up the economy, why with Canada virtually leading the world out of the recession, it's banking system the pride of the developed world ect. While most Canadians can appreciate that Harper's not to blame for a worldwide downturn in the economy, that he's leading the most successful economy compared to the rest, is why his leadership numbers have been skyrocketing.

        I, and every other Canadian, eagerly await Iggy's excellent ideas that would far surpass any CPC policy to date. In the meantime, I guess we'll have to be content with the issue most pressing to our Liberal party at the moment:

        the urgent, dire concern for the well being of suspected roadside bombers, beheaders of infidels, and child murderers half way around the world.

        • Hey, look!

          Biff's proud of Chrétien/Martin for protecting our banking system against the forces that caused the American meltdown, and he's proud of Stephen Harper for dragging Canada deep into deficit for the first time in a decade.

          More "Conservative" values…

          • I would credit Martin more than Chretien. Martin the FM did an excellent job. Martin the PM, not so much. Indeed I'd go so far as to say Martin the FM would have fit nicely in the current center right CPC party.

            As for credit where credit is due, no one said politics is fair. That Harper's presiding over it means he gets to wear it. I happen to think he does deserve a fair bit of it, but that's beside the point.

            It's too bad we have an opposition content on chasing headlines rather than coming up with their own ideas that could rival Harper – and create real debate about making our country prosperous.

            … Back to the years old detainee issue I guess.

  7. Write to the GG, write to the Queen, write to the Supreme Court, write to the Parliamentary Budget Officier, wrire to Oparh, write to Jerry Springer, write to the Pope, write to God,and write that Harper is mean to us liberals but for goodness sake do not write or take it to the voters they will toss our moon-bat-crazy-assets to the scrap heap of useless idiots.
    Liberalism in Canada is a disease, don't catch it, protect yourself.

  8. Just so we're clear: I have no objection to Parliament sitting fewer days a year, as a general rule. What I object to is governments shutting down Parliament every time they get into hot water.

    • Then we'd better amend the Constitution that gives the GG the authority to do just that, on advice of the PM.

      • Not every objectionable behavior should be dealt with by amending laws. New legislation certainly didn't stop the PM from calling an election timed for political gain. A lot of negative press and people speaking out or writing letters might be more effective at shaming the PM into better behaviour.

    • If the water really is as hot as you think it is, they'll still be in trouble when they get back. If it it isn't, then it was never really a story to begin with. When things are really important, then we don't need a constant barrage of news stories to remind us that they are important.

      You need to get away from politics for a while. It's not just that politics don't matter that much, it's that they shouldn't matter very much. I'll grant you, it's an occupational hazard in your trade but that is all the more reason to force yourself to keep it in perspective.

      • Sadly our electorate does seem to need a daily barrage of news stories to crack their eyes open in just the slightest bit when it comes to Ottawa politics. And for max. effectiveness it needs to be salacious/shocking and maybe involving legal transgressions. Hopefully, there is an election after the Mar.3rd budget and Canadians get daily soundbites on the Conservatives lack of accountability, as well as potentially illegal inaction on the detainee issue – and maybe info. on why a colaition of sorts of Libs/NDP is necessary over the short term.

        What I really hope for is a monumental embarrassment of Dictator wannabe Harper and the Conservatives somehow during the Olympics – if Harper dare allow for free questioning in a press conference during that time.

  9. “The government will prorogue the House so that it will not be held accountable for its shameful record,” Mr. Harper thundered.

    …..when Chretien prorogued in 2003.

    Harper has prorogued 3 times in 16 months. This is ridiculous.

    You know, to me, it's an admission of guilt.

    • "“The government will prorogue the House so that it will not be held accountable for its shameful record,” Mr. Harper thundered.

      …..when Chretien prorogued in 2003. "

      "Whoa! I can do that?"

      … Stephen Harper 2009

  10. If we consider the Calender year as Sept 14 2009 until Sept 14 2010, then our Parliamentarians plan on having 29 complete weeks* off (including the new time allowed by prorogation). I'm not even including loose dates like weekends or mid-week adjournments, which can be as long as three days. With only 52 weeks* in the year, the average parliamentarian spends more than half of the year outside of parliament!

    I wish I had such a cushy job, where I could spend half the year with time to spare and still be considered employed! The average Parliamentarian "earns" $155,400^ per calender year. Is this some kind of sick joke? A lot of Canadians don't have a job right now, and many of those who do have a job wished they could make a sixth of that number.

    ^(http://www2.parl.gc.ca/Parlinfo/Lists/Salaries.as

    *(seven continuous days)

  11. Math quibble that may at least slightly detract from the point that I think you are trying to make, here, Aaron.

    With one exception on that graph, every single major "dip" in the number of sitting days per annum just happens to also include a federal election (and hence, a campaign during which there can be no sitting of Parliament).

    So your decade averages would be more credible if you only included the years in which there was no election campaign underway. If the 00's had more elections, it stands to reason on that basis alone that average sitting days would drop.

    If I have the inclination and the alertness during the light of day, I may try to analyze that. If you've still got the numbers all nicely organized in Excel, you might like to take advantage of the head start yourself. Happy New Year.

    • Alrighty then. Excluding the election years, the average number of sitting days of the House of Commons, by decade:

      1970s173
      1980s159
      1990s128
      2000s121 (counting 2006 as the election year, but letting 2005 stand as is)

  12. Why do I read this drivel? Why does the editor of MACLEANS MAGAZINE, that most august journal, stoop to participate in these sophomoric forums?

    • Because there's still a shred of canuck still left in you?

  13. you can leave this site at anytime( and don't come back) and guess what…you don't even have to comment on them…isn't freedom wonderful.

  14. The GG serves at the pleasure of the PM.

    It's a legal done deal…..
    Write your Lib/Dipper MP and tell him/her to bring down the government would be more effective.

    • "The GG serves at the pleasure of the PM."

      That's quite an assertion. Could you please reference it? My understanding is that she is appointed for a term, on the recommendation of the PM to the Queen. Our GG serves under a complex set of conventions and constitutional and statute directions. The conventions likely change over time, the legal framework can, too, but only deliberately.

  15. Average number of non-election-year sitting days PER YEAR by decade, that is.

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