The shorter and shorter Parliament (II) - Macleans.ca

# The shorter and shorter Parliament (II)

Over the festive season I did some math. Alas, a reader quibbled with the calculations, specifically that the inclusion of election years somehow did something to skew the results. In my stead, another reader helpfully stepped in to demonstrate that the trend still held. For the record though, and for those who don’t feel like doing the math themselves, here are the average number of annual sitting days for Parliament by decade, excluding years in which a federal vote was conducted.

1970s. 173.9
1980s. 158.6
1990s. 128.3
2000s. 121.2

As previously noted, the new decade will begin, assuming the government sticks with the schedule after March, with a 114-day year.

## The shorter and shorter Parliament (II)

1. Convert them all to the 2000s using the CPI, then compare.

• Is Aaron supposed to be your math slave?

• Dot was going for humour. The CPI is a measure of inflation, so obviously it doesn't apply here.

Is that you bolded in the first instance, or the second? If the first, good sarcasm. If the second, quit being a slacker, and do some cypherin'.

Alas, a reader quibbled with the calculations, specifically that the inclusion of election years somehow did something to skew the results. In my stead, another reader helpfully stepped in to demonstrate that the trend still held.

3. So put another mathematical way, while our elected representatives have sat an average of 145.5 days per year (and according to the PMO this is the primary means of cabinet minister accountability), Harper deigned to permit our elected representatives to sit a mere 109 days in 2009 before taking an extended Harper Holiday.

Can I take a Harper Holiday too?

4. You're really hoping that catches on, eh? ;-)

I note that BCL has done his bit to spread the word.

5. Has somehting happened to the calendar that would explain the change? I remember there being some debate about March Break, for example and how it unfairly treated MPs from soem provinces in favour of others. And some of the debate about the prorogation included comments about having to come back on January 25 because of the agreed calendar. Have they always had a firm calendar? If not, did changing it change the number of days they woudl be expected to sit in a "normal" year?

6. How long before we consider MPs to be part-time, pay them as such, and expect them to get proper jobs while they are not in Parliament? Can't come soon enough as far as I am concerned because right now MPs are behaving like unions, demanding more money in exchange for fewer hours worked.

7. MPs can still make a claim (some of them justifiably so) that their constituency work counts as well, putting them nicely in the qualifies-for-benefits and a-pension-after-two-terms full timers.

Though on the face of it, time-sheeting seems like a good way to start keeping track of who's pulling their weight.

• And if we pay them by the hour, and they have other jobs, they're obviously contractors, so we don't have to pay benefits..they're even responsible for 100% of their CPP contribution.

Brilliant idea, all around.

8. I think seeing less of our MPs in the House was a natural extension of putting TV cameras in the House of Commons so we could watch them. If that seems like a contradictory assertion I can reasure you that I have absolutely no evidence, or even a coherent argument, to back myself up.

9. This is obviously clear evidence that summers began to get longer towards the end of the 20th century. The annual migration of MPs from Ottawa begins earlier and ends later with each passing decade.

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