A week to change Parliament? - Macleans.ca

A week to change Parliament?

The House to resume consideration of Mark Warawa


As the House reconvenes—and with Mark Warawa’s question of privilege still hanging over the proceedings—Alison Loat sees an opportunity for change.

Limiting debate affects us all. It weakens our democratic institutions by making them less responsive to citizens and their representatives. It makes it more difficult to attract good people to public service (after all, who wants to move away from home to be known as what several former MPs referred to as “trained seals” or “potted plants”?) and it erodes Canadians’ faith in their government. Latest survey numbers show that only 55 per cent of citizens report being satisfied with their democracy, an all-time low.

The Speaker of the House of Commons, Andrew Scheer, has said he’ll continue to hear from MPs with views on the admissibility of Warawa’s motion next week. This provides an opportunity for MPs of all parties to consider and articulate their roles to the citizens they serve. Let’s hope MPs take him up on it, and that following blindly behind a political party, whatever its colour, doesn’t top their list.

Brent Rathgeber talks to the Globe.

Won’t you face backlash from either your party or the PMO for saying that?

Well, I don’t think so. I certainly haven’t received anything yet. And this is not new. For at least the last year, I’ve been a bit of a non-traditional member of our caucus, in that I have, from time to time, constructively criticized our own government’s policies, whether it was limousine overtime or supply management… I take the view that we’re not the rogues, we’re not the radicals. We’re the ones that are defending the historical and traditional role of the Member of Parliament.

Here again is our rough guide to Mark Warawa and this moment of democratic crisis and here is what I wrote for last week’s magazine.