Ottawa

Saving the House of Commons (II)

Further to this, Mark Jarvis chimes in via email with some of the other ideas discussed in Democratizing the Constitution.

-Adopt legislation limiting the size of ministries to a maximum of 25 individuals and the number of parliamentary secretaries to eight.

-Use secret preferential ballots to allow committee members to select Commons’ committee chairs for the duration of the parliamentary session.

-Adopt a set schedule for opposition days in the House that cannot be unilaterally altered by the government.

-Reduce the partisan political staff complement on Parliament Hill by 50 percent.

-Restore the power of party caucuses to dismiss the party leader.

-Remove the party leader’s power to approve or reject party candidates for election in each riding.

That last one goes hand in hand with amending the Elections Act. It also fits with what I tend to think should be the focus right now: changes that can be made with (reasonably straightforward) legislation and amendment. And, as noted by a few readers, I’d add one other: changing the guidelines to allow for CPAC to show more than the individual speaking. In the interests of objectivity, assigning television directors to show a “televised Hansard” makes a certain sense, but, at the very least, stationary cameras should be setup that feed live shots of the government and opposition sides to CPAC’s website. You shouldn’t have to go to the House of Commons to see what goes on there.