Proroguing: A big deal?

No, we haven’t figured out a way to prorogue the Board of Education.

There has been a huge uproar over Harper’s proroguing of parliament this time, which is great, but I’m wondering why the use of this archaic tool has caught people’s attention, when it seems like so many other things don’t.

I love to see a group of Canadians coming together and demanding accountability from their “representatives”, but let’s be honest here : Do you actually know when parliament is in session? Do you know what’s happening in parliament on any given day? Do you pay attention to what happens in parliament when they are in session?

I’m not saying there’s not a legitimate beef here. What I am saying is I wish people would pay this much attention to the actual workings of government. You get screwed much less politely than this on a daily basis, if it’s Democracy you’re fighting for.

Because the reality is that the effectiveness of parliament is only very slightly modified when there is no one there. It’s not even clear whether or not this minor impact is negative. Like it or not, parliament has become a farcical (and expensive) shell of what it was once supposed to be : a place where elected officials debate issues and introduce and vote on legislation on behalf of their constituents.

There is important work that goes on in government. I’ll even give that some of it is done by our elected officials. But, this work is done outside of Parliament as we know it. When it comes time to “vote” in Parliament the results are generally predetermined, and decided by Party affiliation. Representing constituents is no longer part of the equation, if it ever was.  The “debate” portion of parliament consists of name calling and mudslinging across party lines. Unfortunately, logical, factual discussions on issues never happen in Parliament. Ever. Watch CPAC for a few hours. I dare you.

Having our MPs physically present in Parliament to name call and cast symbolic votes is a very expensive and ineffecient way of doing things. I know there is the draw of tradition and Canadian symbolism, but is this really as good as it gets? Really?

So, as it becomes clear that things aren’t really that different with Parliament empty, I think the more important question that comes out of this event is whether or not our current parliamentary system is really an effective, or acceptable, facsimile of Democracy.

I say “Nay.”

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2 Comments

Filed under Canadian politics

2 responses to “Proroguing: A big deal?

  1. TJ57

    You think there’s democracy in our school district? Look what’s going on now

  2. Jason Scott

    I don’t actually think what we call “democracy’ is democracy, but I think the school district is doing a pretty good job about being open and transparent.

    Are you talking about something specific?

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