Another oral questions comparison

I am still somewhat fixated on comparing the quality of exchanges during Oral Questions as they occur in both the Canadian and UK House of Commons. I was finally able to find a comparable exchange between both countries’ Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition on a similar topic: the nature of each country’s mission in Afghanistan. First, the Canadian exchange from November 16, 2010, between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Leader of the Official Opposition, Michael Ignatieff: Hon. Michael Ignatieff (Leader of the Opposition, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, since June, our party has been clear: the combat mission in Afghanistan must end in 2011, and Canada must then engage in a training mission. We have heard the government’s proposal. Can […]

More on oral questions and accountability

I’ve been reflecting further on my earlier post on Oral Questions and Accountability. If you haven’t read that one, I addressed an opinion voiced by a colleague of mine that oral questions such as they are done in the UK House of Commons, with different ministries being questioned on specific days, would mean less accountability than the format used in Canada, where daily questions are addressed to any and all ministers. In my post, I argue that on the contrary, I think the British system means more accountability. I won’t rehash my arguments here – you can read the original post for that – but I will add another argument in favour of the UK version of oral questions. Reflecting […]

Oral questions and accountability

Recently, I was discussing with some of my work colleagues proposals made by a Canadian backbench MP to reform Question Period. I have blogged about this before (here); essentially, Mr. Chong proposed adopting a system similar to what goes on at Westminster: a dedicated weekly half-hour Prime Minister’s Questions, and on the other days of the week, one-hour oral questions to a specific ministry. One of my colleagues wasn’t that keen on the idea on the grounds that this would lead to less accountability since each ministry would be questioned perhaps only once every two weeks or so. I have been reflecting on that comment for a few days now and I have to disagree with my colleague. Currently, oral […]