What parliamentary democracy looks like

Brian Topp considers the meaning of last week’s filibuster.

A majority government is in place, and it can ultimately get what it wants. But a real opposition, fighting on a real issue, can make things go very slowly indeed – so that Canadians can judge the issues, and see what Mr. Harper’s government is doing in the bright light of day … In a panel discussion about this matter a couple of days ago, a Conservative friend suggested that the current debate in Parliament shows the New Democrats have some “growing up to do.” In fact it is the Conservatives who have some growing up to do. They need to learn that having power is not a license to abuse it. And that the people of Canada elected 308 MPs, including a muscular Official Opposition that will work, within the rules of our democracy and long into the night, to shine a light on misjudgments and misgovernment.