Perceptions of parliamentary procedure: is the grass really greener?

Last week’s appearance by Rupert and James Murdoch before the UK House of Commons Select Committee on Culture Media and Sport (which you can view here if you missed it) as well as Prime Minister David Cameron’s ministerial statement in the House of Commons the following day (viewable here) received global media attention. Many Canadian journalists who normally report on proceedings in the Canadian House of Commons seemed enthralled by the often small, yet significant differences in how the UK and Canadian Houses of Commons function – the very same differences which I have been writing about here for over a year now. CBC reporter Kady O’Malley, who regularly liveblogs proceedings on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, has since written two […]

Important Political Resources

I admit to being somewhat surprised by some of the keyword searches that bring people to this blog. It seems that too many people have no idea where to get key information – somehow they end up on this blog rather than on the sites they should be visiting to get the information they want. Consequently, I thought I would provide links to key resources based on recent keyword search activity. I will add to this post over time, as needed. Also, if any readers know of sites that should be added to this list, please comment with the link or use the site’s contact form to let me know. Topics: Election results Canada, Election results UK, general information regarding […]

The primacy of Parliament – follow-up

Back in May, I blogged about the issue of ministerial statements made outside of the House of Commons. I ended that post with “unfortunately, press coverage often means more to a sitting government than does showing respect and courtesy to the House.” Last week, the House of Commons Procedure Committee released a detailed report on Ministerial Statements. In that report, the Committee roundly rejected proposals put forward by the government to be allowed to announce important new policies as early as 7:00 am in the morning, in order to dominate the morning bulletins, instead of waiting until 9:30 am to make a statement in the house: We do not accept that the Government’s desire for access to the morning media […]

Reclaiming Parliament

An essential feature of parliamentary government is that the Prime Minister and the Cabinet are responsible to, or must answer to, the House of Commons for their actions. The House of Commons controls the executive by passing or rejecting its Bills and by forcing Ministers of the Crown to answer for their actions, for example during oral questions. The Lower House may attempt to bring down the government by rejecting a motion of confidence or by passing a motion of no confidence. Over time, however, in both Canada and the UK at least, the House of Commons’ scrutiny of the government has weakened. Its authority has been undermined both unintentionally and deliberately, to the point where the House has become […]