Saturday, January 23, 2010

On new politics

Earlier this week, I noted that while the NDP's proposal to limit the abuse of prorogation makes for a good start (a view which seems to be winning widespread approval), the NDP's public message could easily stand to include a strategy to make government more accountable while Parliament is actually in session.

Having noted that, it's worth pointing out that Jack Layton's accompanying speech does at least hint at issues going far beyond prorogation alone. While the current proposal is obviously aimed at prorogation in particular, the gap between the "old politics" decried by Layton and the "new politics" to be aspired to isn't found solely in Harper's prorogation - and it would seem to be implied that there's plenty of room for improvement to how Parliament functions the vast majority of the time.

So for those looking to turn today's protests into something more, I'll suggest a focus on that aspect of what can be done to fix Ottawa. For those with specific ideas as to what can be done to limit the executive's ability to control Parliament, now is the time to make them public and push for a Parliament that's far better able to do its job once it returns. And failing that, all of the parties - yes, including the NDP - should hear a message that they should ensure that the executive branch can't hide out any more easily while Parliament is in session than it can by shutting the place down.

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