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Parliament, There Is No Life Like It

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PARLIAMENT HILL
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With Easter weekend behind us, I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Easter especially all of those hard-working back-bench Members of Parliament and ministers and of course the prime minister too. Then again "hard-working" might not be an accurate description of our elected representatives. Somewhere along the line the "sunny ways" have become "sunny days" and they certainly aren't "work days."

We are two-thirds of the way through this session before our tireless and hardworking Members of Parliament break for the summer. At that point they will have another 99 days off and away from the Hill. With Prime Minister Trudeau taking another vacation break, he certainly leads by example and has set the work bar pretty low.

With a schedule like this you have to wonder why there has been so much talk about ending Friday sittings.

As we all know, the country is humming along just fine, there is no crisis in the oilpatch, ISIS is of no concern and our dollar is doing just dandy thank you very much. With the middle class having been saved and deemed a priority by the Liberal government and their latest budget, we really don't need our opposition MPs on the job holding the government to account. Nor do we need the government side introducing new policies through legislation that should be debated. Come to think of it with one opposition leader distracted and trying to hang on to his job and the Conservatives still trying to fight the battles of the last campaign, the opposition might as well be on holiday.

A quick look at the numbers shows that from November 4th to the June break we have 232 days of which 144 have passed. Time does fly. In other words we have covered two-thirds of this session. Our hardworking MPs have managed to squeeze in 51 working days at this point out of that total of 232 days. To be fair, not every day in a month is a work day so let's look at it a bit closer. In November they worked 14 out of 20 days; December, nine of 17 days; January, five of 20 days; February, 14 of 21 days; and March, nine of 21 days. Of course that is counting Fridays when we all know most MPs have blown out of town on Thursday evening with many not returning until the Tuesday of the next week.

Our hard working representatives will return in April to work another 10 days, plus 17 days more in May and seven days in June, unless they use up some of the extra 10 days held in reserve. Judging by the above pattern, that is not likely. With a schedule like this you have to wonder why there has been so much talk about ending Friday sittings. Perhaps they could consider making it a real work day and adding committee meetings to it. And yes I know all of the arguments about MPs in distant locations needing more travel time, but they also knew about that before they chose to run for office.

While our MPs and the prime minister rest up for their next work session of ten days (April 11-18) before taking another week off, the middle class will keep working to pay their salaries.

Remember the old recruiting slogan "There is no life like it," in this parliament that is certainly true.

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