But you already knew that, right?
Anyway, as Colleague Selley posted, I am spending the morning at Queen’s University’s Centre for the Study of Democracy, at a conference devoted to one of my favourite topics in the entire world: the parliamentary system, and how to make it better – or, at least, stop it from getting worse.
It’s sort of a hybrid roundtable/seminar, inspired by the recent musings of CSD president Tom Axworthy, who, it seems, has some thoughts on the whole minority government gongshow currently in its second hit season on the Hill. I’ll link to his paper as soon as it goes online, but David Akin (who, contrary to appearances, I am not contractually obligated to link in every single post; it just seems to have turned out that way lately) has the highlights here.
I’m here with fellow Hot Room-ite Steve Maher, who covers the Hill for the Halifax Chronicle Herald, for the “media perspective,” although being a huge procedural wonk, I’ve mostly been telling war stories from the committee-liveblogging front – I’m totally going to print up some business cards with ‘Accidental Agent of Parliamentary Committee Chaos’ – and offering helpful suggestions to people who know a whole lot more than I do about the history of the Westminster system, but have yet to witness the ritualistic storming out of Art Hanger from yet another committee room.
It’s been great fun so far; the crowd is made up of fellow democracy geeks, and the discussion has been full of bawdy tales of dysfunctional parliaments of the past, as well as some very good suggestions on how the system could be tweaked to make it a little less prone to descending into something envisioned by Hieronymus Bosch after a weekend bender.
Anyway, I should probably give my full attention to the political panel, but I’ll have more to say later. Oh, and if you’re really good, I’ll post some pictures of me and Maher at the grave of Sir John A. Macdonald.