Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Contempt for Parliament

So, judgement day tomorrow... maybe.

The Speaker will let us know whether we might want to consider putting this ugly mug on those fancy new plastic bills we're getting next year. Perhaps they could put a couple lemmings on the other side (funny, and ironic, fact: did you know the infamous Disney film clip of lemmings leaping to their deaths off a cliff was orchestrated and filmed in Alberta? Appropriate huh?).

I, for one, am rather anxious to find out whether sending an MP to Parliament is of any use at all. Lately the evidence has suggested that would be a negative. I mean during the last prorogation esteemed members of the CPC caucus were telling every community paper that would listen that Parliament is just a big waste of time. It gets in the way of governing. The press, being of this particular time and place, saw no reason to point out that this was sorta kinda the reason for Parliament, especially with a minority government. Parliament doesn't exist to make it easier for Prime Ministers to govern, it exists to check their power and ensure that the People have a voice.

And so a few thousand Canadians joined a Facebook group, gathered politely on a handful of sidewalks, applauded a couple speeches politely, and listened to some music politely, before politely going home to catch American Idol or The Biggest Loser. There was a minor blip in the Prime Minister's popularity before Jane Taber went back to reporting that the CPC just sent out an e-mail pointing out that the Leader of the Opposition is a for'ner and intelekshul!

Peter Mansbridge and Lloyd Robertson continued to report on the possible complicity in the torture of those sketchy troop-hatin' Afghan folk, but the story began a steady march to the back pages of the newspaper (that nobody reads). Then, suddenly, a dude who looks like he's wearing one of those aprons from the barber* shows up at the top of The Globe and Mail's website and the headline says something about important decision blah blah blah torture blah blah blah contempt of Parliament blah blah blah... ouuuu look it's Inspiration Week on American Idol!!!

So aside from a couple public affairs columnists that not many people read, this massive decision will be reported as some sort of arcane Parliamentary discussion, on par with getting them to wear powdered wigs in the Senate or getting to the bottom of the funny hat the Sergeant-at-Arms insists on wearing.

That's the thing that upsets me. Not that the Prime Minister has such contempt for Parliament, there were nasty politicians 150 years ago too, but that nobody cares. It isn't just the CPC that has contempt for Parliament, it's the vast majority of Canadians, who through their apathy and complete ignorance of government, show a far more dangerous contempt for the institution that the Fathers of Confederations put so much thought and debate into, conscious of just how important this all is.

*I was going to link to a picture of Mr. Milliken wearing his robes, but the G&M saw fit to replace their story about the watershed decision expected tomorrow for the much more important story of Nick Clegg, the leader of the British Liberal-Democrats whose sudden sort-of popularity might result in a slightly smaller minority government for David Cameron.


  1. You care, I care, and I know others care.

    We need to create a powerful special-interest group to elevate the views of our "minority" position.

    But that process has me stumped.

  2. The creating the group part isn't the problem, it's continued interest. I mean that's essentially what CAPP and its spin-off groups were but once the media loses interest it's game over. So yeah, it's the "powerful" part that's a problem. It's easy to attract people to a group they're interested, something else entirely to make people care about something, especially given the massive disinterest in Parliamanet.