It's almost impossible for Canadians to know the extent to which representation is actually being done in this country. Chong's bill would empower those representatives as a collective -- legally enshrining caucus's authority to remove party leaders. It also blunts the authority of those leaders, taking away their final say on who gets to run for their party and who doesn't. And, if Chong's bill becomes law, the power to remove MPs from caucus would firmly rest with caucus. But what does any of that do to facilitate representation being done and being seen to be done?
There has been much discussion this week about Michael Chong's Private Members Bill to reform some of the aspects of how our parties act and control MPs. Whether one agrees with all the details found in his bill, one thing is certain; it can't make things any worse than they already are on the Hill.
A motion to be introduced by Tory backbench MP Michael Chong proposes giving the inner elite of Canada's political parties the power to overturn the public's clearly expressed preference for who should be PM. Under the terms of his redundantly-named Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Parliament of Canada Act, if, at any moment, just over 50 per cent of the MPs of the prime minister's party vote to turf a democratically-elected PM, out he goes. Though the bill wouldn't take effect until after the next federal election, 50 per cent-plus-one of all current Conservative MPs is just 81 people.
Anyone watching Question Period the last few days would be excused if they simply turned it off and walked away in disgust. Basically the kids in the chamber are back to their old games -- insults, evasive answers and slap downs. True it can get partisan blood going, but partisans are already committed to their own side's position. I doubt too many in the public are getting much out of the daily slug-fest. What ever happened to Michael Chong's attempt to reform Question Period? If this past week is an example, those reforms are needed more than ever.
The facts exist to support the argument that first-generation Canadians integrate successfully into Canadian society and achieve high levels of success. But how does the next generation negotiate the various pressures to succeed and integrate into Canadian society? How do they forge an identity that is both Canadian but that also preserves elements of their family's heritage and culture?
It's disconcerting to read that members of all three main federal parties agree that the current committee system is seriously flawed. One long-time Liberal MP, Mauril Belanger, quit a committee on which he had served for nearly two decades, saying it was no longer possible to accomplish anything in what had become a hyper-partisan environment.