Thursday, December 11, 2014

Chong's Reform Bill in committee

William Hayes (@gr8wightweh) recommends MP James Rajotte's speech in support of Michael Chong's much amended private member's bill, intended to return some authority to Parliament and some accountability to ministers, and currently in committee. One could wish Rajotte had a few Canadian arguments instead of trotting out Winston Churchill again. But I guess the Canadian tradition of parliamentary authority seems pretty remote to anyone sitting in the House of Cammons. 
To review the reform act itself, it proposed three main reforms: restoring local control over party nominations, strengthening caucus as a decision-making body, and reinforcing the accountability of party leaders to their caucuses. The purpose of these reforms is to strengthen Canada's democratic institutions by restoring the role of elected members of Parliament in the House of Commons.
The proposals in the reform act would reinforce the principle of responsible government, something I will return to over and over again in this speech. It would make the executive more accountable to the legislature and ensure that party leaders maintain the confidence of their caucuses, something that has existed since Parliament began.
Samara, which posted the speech text, notes concern that the bill will die on the order paper when the election is called.

Update, December 12:  Meanwhile, a potential candidate highlights what skills a candidate really needs these days --  mostly ass-kissing.
I didn’t think it was a good idea. I’m too independent, I told my Grit friends Dennis Mills and Catherine Davey. I’m a writer, and – while a Liberal and a liberal – I haven’t ever hesitated to criticize my party when it deserved it. I’m a contrarian, I told him. I’m incapable of being deferential to authority – ie., I’ve never been good at kissing powerful behinds.  
He's probably right about being a terrible MP, but not wrong about the skillset. No doubt lots of others with the qualifications will step forward.
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