When do we want it?

by Aaron Wherry

In the midst of lamenting for it all, Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett notes a 2002 report that surveyed parliamentarians about their concerns for the state of the institution.

When asked whether Parliament is in need of reform, the short and universal answer from the Parliamentarians with whom we spoke is: yes. In their view, the institution has, in a sense, lost its way.

Parliamentarians feel that the House of Commons and the Senate are no longer places in which meaningful debate occurs. The impetus to get the government’s business through and the strongly enforced party discipline have combined to limit the number of voices heard in Parliament … Parliamentarians feel they have not the information, the support or the expertise to hold the government to account effectively … By and large, Parliamentarians do not feel their work as legislators has a significant impact on public policy decisions in Canada. By the time issues and ideas are brought to either chamber, positions have by and large been set, partisan lines drawn, and the outcomes determined. What is more, Parliamentarians feel they have little, if anything, to show for those occasions when they have come together on issues, be it a committee recommendation or motion passed in the chamber. Put simply, decisions are made elsewhere.




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When do we want it?

  1. Well at least she gives credit where credit is due.

    “As a Liberal, I know that the centralization of power began in the late ’60s with Trudeau’s PMO.”

    • Unlike any Con in the Harper Gubmint, who will steadfastly refuse to take any responsibility for anything. 

  2. Sanctimonious twaddle.  

    Bennett was member of Cabinet that ignored confidence votes and bribed an oppo MP to save itself – what has Harper et al. done that is significantly more egregious than anything Bennett’s party did when Chretien took power?

    NatPost ~ Dec 2000:

    Jean Chrétien has admitted he lobbied the head of the Business Development Bank of Canada to grant a large mortgage loan to a financially troubled hotel in his riding of which he was once part-owner ….  ”It’s the normal operation,” he told reporters in Saskatoon.

    McGill Reporter ~ Dec 1997: 

    But it seems that Peter Desbarats’ experience as a commissioner on the Somalia inquiry has left him feeling shocked and violated …. ”We achieved the dubious distinction of being the first public inquiry in Canadian history to be terminated by a government  for blatantly political reasons before its work was completed. I still have a hard time believing that this actually happened, and an even harder time accepting and understanding that Canadians tolerated this violation of our democratic system with hardly a murmur.”

    Donald Desserud ~ The Confidence Convention:
    “During this Parliament, the Liberal minority government under Prime Minister Paul Martin was defeated many times on motions that might well have been considered confidence votes, and three times on motions that appeared to be unequivocal votes of non-confidence (albeit one more explicitly worded than the others). Significantly, these three non-confidence motions were moved by the opposition. Martin’s government more or less ignored the first two votes.”
    http://www.studyparliament.ca/English/pdf/ongoing/Parliamentary_Perspectives_7_2006_Eng.pdf

      • Vicky Pollard ~ yeah but, no but, but yeah 

        I don’t know why Con apologists dont get that part because I am not one myself. I have been voting since 1988 election and not once have I voted or donated $$$ to major party. 

        Why don’t Lib apologists understand ‘that was then, this is now’ is moronic argument. Sure, Libs shut down inquiries, PM Chretien physically assaulted a private citizen, laundered 10s of millions of $$$ and ignored confidence votes but that doesn’t matter because Cons are meanies.  How is that working out for Libs?

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zExc6SK4kpA

        • Thanks for the compliment. Touching. Of course, the Liberals had faults, I’m not defending them. We don’t have the past but can improve upon it. Cons choose to use the past to rationalize their own bad behavior. I get that but I don’t have to like it. That will eventually turn against them. BTW, they always said they were better, that they wouldn’t act like the Liberals. How’s that going?  And no, I’m not a Liberal apologist. I just don’t wear rose coloured glasses and blinkers while wearing flippers and waving pompoms. Have a nice day. 

    • Quoting the National Post is a bit rich – they are the people who not once but twice in their editorials stated that the minister of finance should have known about adscam because the minister of finance is the man in Ottawa who signs the cheques.  You can believe what you want, Tony, I still need a bit of meat on the bone. You like to be taken for an idiot, enjoy your reading.

      • Is that better? Don’t want you to get the vapors or anything. 

        CBC News ~ Nov 2000
        “You call who you know and I know the president so I called him once or twice,” he said. “He came to visit me at my home with the group one day…It’s the normal operation, I’m the Member of Parliament for St-Maurice, and I will never not do my job as a Member of Parliament.”

        http://www.cbc.ca/news/story/2000/11/16/lib001116.html

        •  It’s a quote, much better, Tony.  For sure, he was the member of parliament. These days it seems perfectly acceptable that this kind of work be done by defeated candidates at the employ of the government of Canada to act as MP.

          Don’t worry.  I’m an older woman, so old in fact that I hardly remember the vapor days. If there is something I don’t fear anymore, it’s death.  I still fear taxes, hence my mistrust for the current bunch of spending fools. You’re a young one, you believe, and that’s the most important thing.  You’ll pay for it long after I’m gone.

    • And in all of that, I don’t see Carolyn Bennett’s name anywhere.  If she is to be held personally responsible for everything anyone else does, does it then follow that all Conservatives drive drunk or high on cocaine?  Also bribing MP, breaking elections law, unethical practices every day of the week including misleading electioneering, etc.

      I’m an Ontario Liberal and over the past two years I’ve attended every meeting and Convention of Liberals in Ontario (or my region of Ontario as the case may be).  One person I have seen at every single one of these things is Carolyn Bennett.  Taking the weekend to sit in on discussions and votes of the grassroots–not at some table on a dais, or only attending sessions she’s the critic of–she’s there for it all, taking equal part like a “regular” Liberal.  The Liberal Party may not be perfect, and certainly hasn’t been perfect in the past, but since Carolyn Bennett is one of the most visible people trying to affect change, it is too bad of you to put the blame on her.

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