This new Parliament -

This new Parliament


Alison Loat considers the ramifications of our 110 new MPs.

The good news in this is we have a more diverse background in our politicians than we usually give ourselves credit for. Most MPs are not lawyers or former political staffers (although some are). It’s good to have fresh, diverse minds, and a relatively open political system.

However, this may also mean that our Parliament is too transient to do its job properly. As I’ve argued elsewhere, what to do about this is less clear, but at a minimum, it’s encouraging to hear that training and orientation is taking on a greater priority this year.


This new Parliament

    • That cartoon is horribly condescending.

      I really hope that some of these new MPs turn out awesome, just so that everyone who has made such a big deal of them being young feel like the asses they are.

      • Truth hurts.

      • Condescending? Hardly.

        The "quality" of the MPs Layton was able to put together in Quebec, (and I suspect elsewhere) leaves one the powerful impression that it was a stretch for them to even run 308 candidates, let alone what it says about their ability to manage them in parliament.

        The NDP is essentially a big bubble of hot air just begging to be popped.

        • I have my own share of doubts about the new MPs coming in, but is there some better alternative to them being in Ottawa that I'm not aware of?

          Please, tell me (and this goes for Emily as well): what's the problem with them being there?

          • Because they are 'pylons'….just names on a ballot to meet the 308 requirement. They didn't campaign, they don't live in the riding, don't speak French etc….and they're kids.

          • They have every right to be there. I just have a very serious problem with how they ended up there.

            For me it's like watching a sattire of democracy that's simultaneously a black comedy.

            Ours was a system based on the representations of voters who knew their candidates and would hold them to account. The MPs are supposed to be the heart of our system, not one man.

            Based on what has happened here, they might just as well have run cabbage patch dolls.

            If that doesn't freak you out, then I don't know what to say.

          • You appear to have missed my first, more important, question:

            Is there some preferable alternative to them being there?

          • Nope, didn't miss it. There simply is no alternative.

            I've got a running bet with my buddies on which of the leading parties will out-kook the other in the headlines, but it requires an actual comment from the MP to count.

            So far the CPC is down two, Trost and Dykstra.

  1. I have read about how opening up the Commons to a "more diverse background" is a good thing. How do we measure the truth of that statement? How much direct input do backbenchers have into public policy? Allison and Samara have also pointed out that this is a concern expressed by past MPs. If public policy isn't being crafted by MPs or significantly influenced by MPs, why do we care if they are of a diverse background? Instead, why don't we care instead that they understand how public policy impacts complex economic, social or legal systems? Why don't we care that they are capable of looking at a bill and accurately analysing its effectiveness in translating public policy into legal expression?

    • Why don't we care that they are capable of looking at a bill and accurately analysing its effectiveness in translating public policy into legal expression?

      I assume this is a rhetorical question, but if not, full points for effective satire.

      • Actually it was serious. From what I can tell, the only thing MPs can act upon in a meaningful way are the bills before them. They speak to people and groups that are impacted by the bill. They speak to departmental officials about wording in the bill and test the intended meaning of the words against how they might really be interpreted or acted upon. MPs do not, at least in any public way, have meaningful impact on developing public policy.

    • If there's any MP input on either side of the house in this parliament, I will be pleasantly surprised.

      • According to Samara, there hasn't been for some time, not just recently or in the immediate future.

  2. The Liberals should be happy. A new elite is in training. They'll have a good four years to learn and contribute. That's about the length of a first university degree. Not yet a new crop of PhDs mind you, but it's a first step.

  3. I was just listing to RadCan's Maisonneuve à l'écoute, where Mulcair was interviewed regarding Ruth Ellen Brosseau. He said, (literal translation here) …that they are devoting their time to tame her, to prepare here. I wouldn't want to expose her alone in the medias. People in Ottawa are preparing her too. Her French is not proficient enough to face the media…. I will be proud to introduce you to her and let you do in an interview with her in years to come.

    (I am serious, for those who understand French, at about 4 minutes)

    • "Her French is not proficient enough to face the media…."

      What's her English like? I think it is crazy to keep her hidden. Let Brousseau face the media, have their fun and get it over with.

      • I don't know what her English is like but she doesn't speak French enough to be interviewed on radio. I agree. I'd rather the see the wild Mrs. Brosseau that the one tamed by the NDP.

    • Thank goodness Mulcair is training her. Otherwise she might say something crazy…

  4. What is so difficult about being a regular MP? Cabinet is something else but MP does not seem like all that difficult a job, have no idea why people worry about experience.

    How much training and skills do you need to learn how to behave like sheep? It isn't that perplexing.

    Show up in Ottawa 100 days a year, someone will telll how to vote and what to say in cmte. Simple.

    • You know, they do have other jobs besides standing up and sitting down in the back row.

      They're going to have to sit on publically broadcasted committees and "talk and stuff". LOL

      Of course CPAC might become more interesting to watch, you know, like a 24/7 blooper reel or something, but I'm thinking that's a con, not a pro. For the NDP anyways, frankly I'm looking forward to it.

      Then of course there's the part where they go back to there ridings, or should I say "see it for the first time" and try to answer the myriad of questions and requests in a language few of them speak.

      Now of course I'm generalizing brutally, but really, this will be the case for many of them.

      I mean yikes, just… yikes.

      • What we lose in democracy, we will no doubt make up for in entertainment value. It's only for 4 years – what could possibly go wrong?

        • Yes… what indeed? (shiver)

          Interesting political science experiment though. What happens when you replace democracy with a freak show in a 500 media channels society? LOL

      • That's a pretty high bar we set for MPs. They have to be able to stand up/sit down and 'talk and stuff' and not at same time either!

        Seriously a person of average intelligence, even someone who made it into university, should be able to talk and stuff coherently. Experience is overblown when it comes to MPs.

        • Apparently you are unaware of what the job entails.

        • I don't know about that. Have you seen what the committee work entails? While I don't think it takes above average intelligence, it does require a certain amount of maturity, judgment and experience.

          As it is there's quite a few of the NDP MPs who simply won't be able to do that work, straight out.

          Then there's the issue of working in the ridings. It's probably the most gruelling part in fact. The constituents you get in the office are often the most hardnosed what-have-you-done-for-me-today types. Once you win their respect you're good to go, but look at some of these people. They are in for a rough ride.

          And that brings you back to the fact that a lot of these candidates thought they had a snow ball's chance in hell and likely weren't as committed as you would otherwise like. I suspect a few of them aren't too damn happy they "won".

          I suspect if people had had more time to look into their candidates and the NDP in general, votes wouldn't have gone their way so easily.

          This is going to be a lesson to a lot of people about bandwagon jumping.

  5. Good Sir, you are forgetting the importance of gazebo distribution, now a pressing first priority with so many new narrow victories.

  6. Well, in response, I'll just rephrase my original comment slightly:

    I hope some of these new MPs turn out to be awesome, and that the people deriding them now feel like the asses they are.

  7. Campaigns are too short, this is true.
    The media is also far too focussed on the national level. But writing stories about individual locales is generally too difficult for such a small audience share, so don't expect change there without legislation.

  8. Depending on who takes over for certain parties, I believe we are in the longest period in Canadian history where no party leader has a law degree.

  9. The NDP is going to have to be tough, objective, accurate, and committed in their opposition role.

    They are opposing a rootkit.