That is the system that we have - Macleans.ca

That is the system that we have

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A little over a year ago, the Hill Times checked up on the relationship between Stephen Harper’s government and the press gallery—a saga that has gripped the nation like nothing since the Vancouver Grizzlies. In between anecdotes of this glamourous existence, the Prime Minister’s press secretary, since departed, offered this explanation of the official view.

Mr. Teneycke said he didn’t agree that there are cabinet ministers who don’t speak to the media, and that in Canada’s Parliamentary system the 45-minute daily Question Period is the primary way in which ministers answer questions about their files. “Ministers are available in Question Period to answer questions of the elected opposition, that is the system that we have, that is the primary way by which cabinet ministers in a Parliamentary democracy are held accountable,” said Mr. Teneycke. “If media have additional questions from time to time the primary way by which ministers are held to account is via an elected opposition through the House of Commons.”

It will, of course, be another two months before cabinet ministers are held so accountable. And for those of you keeping score at home, by the time March 1 arrives, the Prime Minister—owing to international travel and a photo with the national lacrosse team—will have submitted himself to a total of six such exercises in accountability over a four month period.