The latest issue of Canadian Parliamentary Review includes an essay about improving discourse in the House. Usual stuff about reforming Question Period and so forth.
But there is this: “Today, virtually all speeches for Debate are written in various leaders’ or ministers’ offices. Members often have no input into the content of these speeches. They are reading literally reading someone else’s words into Hansard. This is the job of a transcriber, not a Member of Parliament.”
And this: “Furthermore, the existence of the whip on most votes means that the outcome of Debate is all but preordained before Debate has even begun … members need more latitude in expressing their views and in deciding the outcome of votes. Clearly, members of the cabinet are bound by ministerial solidarity to support government legislation, but there should be greater latitude for non-cabinet members to freely to express their views and to vote as they wish on many more issues.”
And then there’s the fact that the author is not a member of Her Majesty’s loyal opposition, but Michael Chong, a sitting member (and former minister) of the current government.
So that’s a government MP and former member of Stephen Harper’s cabinet. Publicly acknowledging that he and his colleagues have little to no freedom in what they can say. And lamenting that he and his colleagues have little to no freedom in how they can vote.
Even if you already assumed those things to be true, this would seem to be rather, well, noteworthy.