Fixing Ottawa: Question Period

(This is the second in a series of posts on Fixing Ottawa. Other installments are: Fixing Ottawa: Committees, Fixing Ottawa: Draft Legislation and Fixing Ottawa: Empowering Backbenchers.) Canada’s Liberal Party released its election platform (manifesto) this weekend, and it included this pledge (p. 72): Liberals believe that all parties must act to increase the civility and substance of Question Period. Many observers believe a model closer to that of the British Parliament would be better, with more time for both questions and answers, scheduled themes and rosters of required ministers, and a weekly Prime Minister’s question period (though the Prime Minister should still be expected to attend all days possible). A Liberal government will advance such reform in Parliament. I’m […]

Fixing Ottawa: Committees

(This is the first in a series of posts on Fixing Ottawa. Other installments are: Fixing Ottawa: Question Period, Fixing Ottawa: Draft Legislation, and Fixing Ottawa: Empowering Backbenchers.) A large part of the work of the House of Commons takes place in committees. These committees consider policy issues, scrutinise the work and expenditure of the government, and examine proposals for primary and secondary legislation. Standing Committees (or Select Committees as they are known in the UK) operate largely by an investigative process to conduct inquiries and to produce reports on a range of matters, from the conduct of Government to specialist subject areas. The Canadian House of Commons currently has 26 Standing Committees (24 House of Commons Standing Committees and […]

Fixing Ottawa

(This is the introductory post in a series called Fixing Ottawa. Other installments published to date are: Fixing Ottawa: Committees, Fixing Ottawa: Question Period, Fixing Ottawa: Draft Legislation, and Fixing Ottawa: Empowering Backbenchers.) Recently, the Globe and Mail carried a longish column by John Ibbitson entitled “Five Reasons Ottawa is turning you off“. These five reasons, as identified by Mr. Ibbitson are as follows: Ottawa’s irrelevant Ottawa is old, white and male Parliament ignores the big cities Nothing gets done Hyperpartisanship turns people off I could comment on all five, but it is points 4 and 5 that to me, are key. This is what Ibbitson wrote: 4. Nothing gets done As long as the Bloc Québécois continues to take […]