Monday, September 14, 2009

The Old "Dysfunctional Parliament" Gambit

This time, it's John Ibbitson parroting the party line.

Mr. Ibbitson can't believe we're about to have our fifth election in six years. He also insinuates that we're some kind of banana republic.

Why would we have another election? "Employment Insurance reform? Come on.", he pleads. I presume Mr. Ibbitson has secure employment. Someone standing on the other side of that issue might have a different opinion.

Then he offers us quotes from various sources that blame the dysfunctionality of Parliament on all parties:
"We are in a continuous election campaign with no discussion of issues"

I wonder if that has anything to do with a Prime Minister too busy with name-calling (Socialist! Separatist!) to have a serious discussion.
Major concerns ... languish, as the parties use Parliament for an elaborate and futile game of political chicken.

Indeed. Let's blame all parties for the Conservative's disruptive "point of order", "showing up at the wrong time" and "walking out of meetings" strategies.

Now some statistics:
From 1969 to 1973, Parliament sat, on average, 163 days a year. From 2004 to 2008, it was down to 105.

I have a word for you: "Prorogue". As in, "The Prime Minister prorogued Parliament". How many days did we lose there? How many days did we lose because the Prime Minister broke his own election law and called an extra election?

But, of course, it's the fault of all parties, isn't it, Mr. Ibbitson?
"Parliament as an instrument is not being used properly either by the opposition or the government."

Yes, yes. Blame everyone for the intentional mangling and disabling of our government. Whatever you do, don't investigate what's actually happening on a day-to-day basis.
The nineties also witnessed the rise of the Bloc Quebecois and the threat of Quebec separation.

Now you're just being intentionally stupid. What planet are you from that you think the 90s were unique in the spectre of separation? In fact, that decade probably saw the end of separation when Parizeau gave his famous tirade about immigrants ruining his version of Quebec's destiny.

There follows some nonsense about the federal political parties becoming "regional". They're not. Even where one party appears to take a whole province, you'll find that, in many ridings, the other parties aren't far behind. If the conservative bastion of Alberta distributed its 28 ridings proportionally, it would have come out something like [Con:18, NDP:4, Lib:3, Green:3].

Ibbitson ends his column with the following pronouncement:
Party leaders must look at each other as legitimate representatives of sectional interests whose needs deserve to be accommodated. That is no easy concession in any Parliament, and especially difficult to imagine in this one.

It seems that every political party does this, Mr. Ibbitson, except the Conservatives. Paul Martin reached a compromise with the Conservatives to maintain his government. When the Conservatives tried to pull the plug, he created a new consensus with the NDP (Egad! The Socialists! Lock up your children!) When the Conservatives came in, they tried to take all public financing away - retroactively - from the other parties. They vilified their opponents with name-calling. They stormed out of committees and disrupted them with loud-mouth tactics.

We already have three parties in Parliament that understand the need to build consensus in a grown up manner.

And we have one group of pouting children. Call it like it is. Enough of this false notion that everyone shares the blame for the Conservatives' petulance.

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