Voices bring awareness

Independent articles illustrating the need for Parliamentary reform in Canada

for the Advancement of Parliamentary Democracy

Prospects for a Beleaguered Parliament  Robin Sears

Conservatives who complain that it was ‘their right’ to make such a decision, that Liberals had done it before and that it won’t make any difference to most Canadians still struggling to recover from the recession, are missing the point. To many observers this is the final straw in the behaviour of a series of governments’ denigration of the traditions and role of Parliament. It does not matter really where you begin counting the transgressions from, or who was responsible for them, there is enough blame to go around.

for the Advancement of Parliamentary Democracy

Canada’s Federal Parliament is Performing Badly – The Need for Reform is Urgent  Peter H. Russell

Despite changes in the rules aimed at giving a larger role to parliamentary committees, governments used their majority position to control the work of committees. Party discipline became very strict. Backbenchers on both sides of the house found themselves side-lined. Parliamentary debate came to focus on adversarial question periods rather than the discussion of legislation and the great issues of the day.

Members of Parliament, Voters, and Democracy in the Canadian House of Commons
The Canadian Study of Parliament Group –

Dr. Bill Cross, the Director of the Centre for Canadian Studies, and member of the Political Science Department at Mount Allison University takes a unique look at the much debated question in Canadian politics, “how do you make members of parliament more responsive to voters concerns?”

Canadian Study of Parliament Group
Symbol vs. Substance: Theatre, Political Career Paths, and Parliamentary Behaviour in Canada
By Kelly Blidook

Much of politics is adversarial and symbolic. Beyond simply the need for policies to be debated, there is also the need for scrutiny, opposition, and of course communication of the process to the public. The mass media play a very significant role in all these aspects, in acting as searchlights upon the workings of government. What often results, however, is that minor issues are made into major spectacles, politicians distort the actions of their competitors, and attention-seeking, even unruly, behaviour is often displayed. As parties and their members engage in such activities, the public, media, and the members themselves seem to engage in two common types of responses. On one hand, there are those that appear to call for greater decorum, civility, and respect in our political institutions. On the other, there are those that seem to focus upon, and enhance the value of, these attention-seeking behaviors in their present form by giving them more attention.



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