Parliament includes both the Senate and the House of Commons and is often referred to as the Upper House and the Lower House. Together they are the “Houses of Parliament”. When Democratic Government was first formed in England the common people elected representatives to the House of the Common People and the Royalty appointed representatives to the Upper House, the House of Lords. These representatives were men who owned estates or manors and therefore referred to as Lords. Today the House of Commons is an elected body and the Senate is appointed.
Parliament Canada Wants Or perhaps it would be best to say, “The House of Commons Canada Wants“.
The Parliament Canada Needs. Discussions commissioned within Parliament in 2003 produced a paper called: The Parliament We Want. Following is an excerpt from the Introduction:
All political parties represented in Parliament have, in one way or another, endorsed the need for parliamentary reform. While their approaches differ on key points, there are striking similarities among them. For example, most are in favour of an increase in the use of free votes, more autonomy for parliamentary committees to conduct policy research and public consultations, greater opportunities to question ministers about government bills or departmental estimates, more consultation with the government at earlier stages in the legislative process, and more serious consideration of Private Members’ Business and parliamentary appointments.
“What should Parliament look like in the 21st century?” The answer involves a wide range of issues, for example, “the role of Parliamentarians within political parties, and the nature of Parliamentarians’ role as representatives of the Canadian people.” After all the discussion, the committee came down to two reasons preventing change for Parliamentary Reform. The Political Party and members’ role in representing constituents.
As Parliamentarians, we believe the leadership needed to create that new Parliament will come largely from within. It is up to Parliament and its members to drive that change.
Changes to the rules and practices of Parliament will never happen as long as Political Parties are granted control of both the agenda and their elected members. As long as the ability of Members of Parliament to do their job representing their constituents rests with loyalty to the Party, change will be discouraged. It is not in the Political Party’s interest to introduce any practical change.
Parliamentarians themselves have admitted, “Parliamentarians do not feel their work as legislators has a significant impact on public policy decisions in Canada. Before issues and ideas are brought to either chamber, positions have already been set, partisan lines drawn, and the outcomes determined.”
If politicians refuse to reform, the people must demand action.