Friday, December 07, 2007

The House Committee on Mulroney/Schreiber

The press has abundant criticism of the work of the House Committee that is questioning Karlheintz Schreiber. With justification. But the hearings have, as they say, the great merit of existing.

We Canadians are so accustomed -- and the MPs themselves are so accustomed -- to parliamentarians being useless excrescences cluttering up the Parliament Buildings, so irrelevant and devoid of influence or opinion that they could just as well sit all year on a beach in Florida and fax in their "Yes" or "No" when their bosses told them to.

The sight of MPs in parliamentary committee actually wielding authority, actually speaking their minds, actually struggling as representatives of the people to investigate a scandal that has touched the reputation of the place where the people are represented -- that's inspiring. They may not do it very well, after all these years of supine inactivity, but now at least they are asserting their authority. A parliament full of parliamentarians; it's a great idea. Too bad we lost sight of it.

MPs with influence could be an appetite that grows with eating. I hope these MPs are discovering an ambition to do things more effectively so they can do things more often. Instead of carping that they are exercising the authority vested in them clumsily, we should say it's good they actually are doing it at all, and they should work out how to do it right.
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