Oh sure, let’s blame Question Period.

The Prime Minister must be smiling. You can tell because his make-up is a bit askew. Someone told him that his favourite newspaper wants to get rid of Question Period in the House of Commons. As he explained to an aide, “Without Question Period, I would never have to show up in that damn place except for budgets and Throne Speeches.”

He does like to look prime ministerial and periodically, when he sees the time is right, he will rise in the House to allay the concerns of the overly curious Opposition. While sometimes his answers bear little relationship to the question asked, he relishes the opportunity to extol the record of his administration.

When it comes to obfuscation though, he used to rely on minions such as his Parliamentary Secretary who is chosen for his or her gullibility and eagerness to do what the Prime Minister’s staff tells him or her to do. We even had one recently who cried when apologizing to the House for being less than forthcoming when answering questions for the Prime Minister.

But while the Prime Minister’s supporters might think of Question Period as something of a bother, it is actually more like a safety valve. It is the only time in the day that government MPs have any chance to let off a little steam. They get to shout rude things to the people across the floor and get it off their chest. Such rude behaviour is frowned on in committee meetings as that is where the real work of the house is done.

The problem is that committee meetings are boring and not routinely telecast and it means Canadians are left in the dark as to what is going on. Were it not for Question Period, most Canadians would not even know that Ottawa is where they send their tax money. They also think they might be happier if our parliamentarians were more polite to each other. Why? Do they think being polite would make a difference?

And we should not be blaming television for the lack of public interest when fully half of citizens are learning about our politics from television. Can you imagine relying on Sun Media for our information about our government?

What Canadians need to do is send better qualified people to Ottawa. Choosing some nebbish merely because he or she represents this leader or that leader is a disservice to your neighbours. When you send good people to Ottawa, you can feel better about what is going on in parliament.

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Copyright 2015 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to peter@lowry.me

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