Keith Beardsley Headshot

Why Today's Question Period Is a Snooze-Fest

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It is hard to believe, but back on this day in 2005, we were all involved in an election that was forced on November 28th when the Martin government lost a confidence vote.

Part of what made that election possible and which laid the ground work for that non-confidence vote was the success the then opposition Conservatives had in Question Period. Question Period was interesting, hard hitting and rarely dull. Today, the best you can say about Question Period is that it is pathetic and a great opportunity to take a nap. By doing so, you won't miss anything important happening.

It's hard to believe that yesterday the Conservatives were still putting up MPs to rant in their SO31 statements about the NDP's supposed carbon tax and Justin Trudeau's comments on Alberta. The rant on the carbon tax is pretty old at this point and the importance of Trudeau's comments ended a few days ago. When you listen to this type of overkill at this stage (the by-election is now in the history books) you feel like saying "zzzzzzz, wake me up when you have something interesting to talk about." Trudeau's comment will make a useful attack ad down the road, but right now no one is listening, except perhaps their backbench colleagues who dutiful clap and cheer each speaker.

By the way will someone tell Justin that was a pathetic excuse he gave when he tried to defend his Alberta comment, that "Canada is in bad shape right now because Albertans are controlling our community and social democratic agenda." No one believed his explanation that instead of Albertans, he really meant Harper. If Trudeau is trying to convince everyone that he represents the new way of doing politics, then he just failed his first test. In addition, every time Trudeau talks about the Conservatives being divisive or not wanting to play the Conservatives game, he is taking a two or three-day story and making it into a week-long one, as the media always includes what he said as part of the story. It is time for Trudeau to come up with a game changer, perhaps some fresh ideas and move on.

The Official Opposition at this late date seems to have forgotten how to launch a sustained attack on the government. Until they do, the Conservatives can stand up and answer with anything that comes to mind and of course the answer will have nothing to do with the question. If the Speaker won't shut down consistent answers that have absolutely nothing to do with questions asked, then it's time to change your tactics. Can you imagine the Conservatives in opposition accepting that nonsense from the Chretien or Martin Liberal governments?

The NDP have some excellent questioners, but they are wasted when they are all over the map asking questions on a variety of different topics instead of focusing their attack. Just because you are a critic in one area, doesn't mean you should only ask questions in that one discipline.

Whoever the leader's advisors are, please let Mulcair be Mulcair. Pretending he is this cool, calm (boring) questioner reading from a miniature podium is ridiculous. He is a bit of a firebrand, so let him be one. Let his questions match his personality. The podium is pretentious and makes him look a bit elitist, time to do away with it. If he must have written questions, give him two and let him be himself and respond as he wishes on the third.

You can't change your leader's personality and make them in to something they are not. We couldn't turn Harper into an attack dog because it wasn't his style. Instead, we had others do that while he asked more solid questions that were better suited to his personality and mind set.

It doesn't matter if you support one party or another; democracy is best served when governments (regardless of the party in power) are held accountable. That certainly isn't happening in today's Question Period.

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