The Chong Plan - Macleans.ca

The Chong Plan

by

Keith Beardsley, a former aide to Stephen Harper, endorses two of Michael Chong’s recommendations for Question Period and explains the absurd degree of attention QP currently commands on Parliament Hill.

Few Canadians realize the amount of preparation involved for those 45 minutes of show time. Generally speaking, across the government, (and on the opposition side) the day starts with staff going through every conceivable news item in the early hours of the morning. Anything impacting on a minister or PMO is flagged and work started on finding out what does the minister need to know about the story and what are the answers required.

Sometime in the morning there will be a briefing session and QP issues will be discussed. Fine tuning of answers will take place and the daily QP briefing book prepared and updated. In total several hours work.

Around lunch time there will be a ministerial practice session with staff and then it’s off to the formal practice session at 1 PM with all other ministers and parliamentary secretaries present. At 2:15 when the Speaker rises and announces Oral Questions, its show time and bedlam is unleashed.