‘My intention is to share impressions and raise questions’


Alison Loat graciously passed along the Ned Franks essay she noted a couple times last week and now Prof. Franks has graciously passed along his blessing to post that essay for wider consumption. You can download it here.

In additions to Franks’ own impressions, he looks closely at how often Parliament has been sitting, how successful it has been in passing legislation, and how rapidly its membership has changed in recent years, with various observations about how Parliament, as a community in and of itself, has changed over the last several decades. A rather necessary read if you’re at all interested in the current discussion.


‘My intention is to share impressions and raise questions’

  1. Perhaps the most telling impression of all: this instructor of Canadian Politics, an academic who so enjoyed the study of the institutions and practices of government that he made his life's work doing so, and sharing it with willing (and some not-so-willing!) students, would be ashamed to take one of his classes to question period.

    What has Parliament become, if the people who teach its history and operations are too embarrassed to show their students how it "functions" today?

  2. That was an interesting essay until the end when he started spouting Ed Broadbent styled socialism…

  3. I agree it was interesting, although he drifts off at the end into rather inaccurate stereotyping of the Conservative Party and a rather wooly-headed plea for some muddled version of parliament as a place for doing good, rather than politics.

    Still, an interesting way to raise questions. I don't think his suggestion that parliament in Ottawa is so acrimonious because it doesn't sit as often as it used to. His statistics are skewed a bit by stopping in 1945. Parliament used to sit for far less time, but I'm not sure it was less harmonious as a result. As well, no provincial legislature sits for as long as the Federal House does, as fars as I know – are they less collegial, more hostile, less productive than parliament? If not, then the apparent increasing shortness of parliamentary sessions seems unlikely to be the cause of the current rancour.