C-38 and the inevitability of majority government

Elizabeth May talks to the West Block about last week’s votes.

Tom Clark: Deal with the points that the government makes about this though. They’re saying first of all the Opposition parties would have voted against all these bills even if they had been separated out. They said that it was a colossal waste of time, that the last 24 hours, 36 hours changed nothing. The bill passed, everything becomes law. So they said, it’s expensive, it cost $120,000 a day to keep Parliament sitting and so you wasted time and money and changed nothing. 

Elizabeth May: Well why do we bother with elections really when you think about it. All that time and money spent. You know, how about just shutting down Parliament and saying to Stephen Harper, okay well now that you’re elected we know how everything is going to go because you’ve got the most seats so we’ll go home. We’ve lost the threat of what democracy is about in Westminster Parliamentary tradition. Too many people think we elect a prime minister. We don’t. We elect 308, soon to be 338 Members of Parliament and each one of us has a responsibility to do our job and the idea that it’s a time waster to try and fix legislation, I promise you, if we’d accepted my amendments, Canada would have saved tens of millions dollars because the kind of…the poison pills, just like a warehouse of poison pills in that bill; you’re never going to get through all of them in advance but we could have fixed things. That was the goal.

Inevitability was part of the argument Lisa Raitt tried to make (see the 7:25pm entry) on Thursday evening and Ms. May is probably right to follow that logic to its inevitable absurdity. If the only vote that matters is the one on election day, why bother at all with a Parliament? Why bother with MPs?

Oddly, the inevitability argument actually compels government MPs, even more than opposition MPs, to justify their existences.