A peoples’ parliament is an ideal for Canada but reality is that we have an elitist prime minister, a manipulative leader of the opposition and a few other struggling parties. At one time we had more of a peoples’ parliament. This current one is more of a peoples’ parties’ parliament. If we would stop voting for useless party drones instead of the best candidate for MP, we might once again have a peoples’ parliament.
It really was more of a peoples’ parliament back in the days of Justin Trudeau’s father. You could argue that it was not truly democratic but I felt that the openness of the government to input was a great start. One aspect in which I was directly involved was the creation of the Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC). I started with the group who fought at a liberal party session in Ottawa to let the Board of Broadcast Governors run the CBC but not make the rules for the private television stations and networks that were developing.
The CRTC was created by Pierre Trudeau’s government in 1968 and my MP, Bob Stanbury, was the communications minister at one time. The first time I appeared before the commission was on an application by a cable television company to cherry pick the apartment buildings across Toronto and let the other cable companies have the rest. I had fun with that one and the commission ruling was taken directly from my comments. It also led to a call asking me to produce shows for a young cable upstart called Ted Rogers.
I appeared many times on behalf of consumers before the CRTC and I never had as much fun as in those early days. I think the most successful appearance I made before our parliament was one before the parliamentary committee on finance. I was president of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada at the time but appeared on behalf of Canadians for Health Research. It was in the Railway Committee Room in the parliament buildings. The Montreal based Health Research group were very concerned about some $60 million that had been cut in primary research funding across Canada. The gal running the health research group needed someone who wasn’t going to be too impressed to be speaking to members of parliament. My address was ‘read into’ Hansard that day and I got a call from the prime minister’s office that the finance minister had ‘found’ $60 million and there would be no cuts to health research that year.
Copyright 2022 © Peter Lowry
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