No Debate… So What?

Rick Mercer rants against the erosion of public debate under the Harper Government® concerning various issues of the day and its paternalistic “My house, my rules” approach to unilaterally enacting decisions…

Um, sorry, but isn’t this semi-dictatorial kind of behaviour the nature of majority governments in parliament and, truth be told, part of the reason we elect them to effectively function as such in the first place? If anything, the virtual autocracy we temporarily grant to our leaders for several years at a time seems to be a feature, not a bug, of our system.

8 Replies to “No Debate… So What?”

  1. RT, youre right about the need for a semi-dictatorial government in order not to have the messed up bills that have become all too familiar below the 49th parallel. But Rick is also, I believe, referring to details like using closure on non-budget bills, ignoring a previous law (forget which one, sorry) instead of rescinding it in Parliament, and bringing in its opposite… Well, it’s late at night out here, even for me, but you get my drift, I hope!

  2. Business as usual. The Left complains about lack of Democracy when the Right is in power, and, the Right whines about the high handedness of the Left when its in power. We had a discussion, it was an election, and, we’ll have another discussion in 3 years. What utter nonsense to think that Parliament must spend months debating a bill that everyone knows will pass. Are things so easy in this country that this is what concerns the media??….a Majority govt pushing through its agenda?

  3. The man suffered the indignity of being the leader of a minority government for far too long. Let him have some fun. He’ll tire himself out and then it’ll be back to the same old bickering.

  4. Bocanut: RM is plenty funny still. Just thinking about some of his mock commercials makes me chortle with delight.

    The “Talking With Americans” bits were indeed good for a laugh, but a cheap one… kind of like shooting fish in a barrel. In that regard, I guess your opinion says more about you than it does about him.

  5. I’m very surprised we haven’t heard from Sir Francis on this thread.
    This is important. Harper’s heavy-handed use of closure and the out-of-hand dismissal of committes or opposition to the pipeline does offend against traditional perogatives of Parliament (the word is Old French for “a place to talk”). But progressives who are now channelling Bagehot and sounding like Diefenbaker might ask themselves where they were when Trudeau dismissed M.P.’s as nobodies, threw a nuclear bomb into constitutional conventions and, oh yeah Rick, dropped “royal” from the navy without asking anybody. Chretien and Mulroney weren’t a lot better. This issue stems from our modern fixation with getting things done. Politicans regularly boast about how many pieces of legislation they have
    passed, as if they were hockey goals. Plus at some point the Opposition has to address the quality of the debate they bring to the issue, not a Canadian strength compared to some other countries. Maybe Harper deserves to have his knuckles wrapped on this, but how many podiums do we need for people to tell us he is destroying the planet and secretly trying to overthrow democracy?

  6. BTW, Red, on this theme about getting things done and seeing new legislation as ipso fact a positive thing, I can’t be specific, but I seem to remember reading about one 19th century British politician who ran on a boast about how few legislative changes were made in his ministry. Then there was MacDonald’s famous “the old flag, the old man…etc.” There certainly was a strong popular sentiment to the effect that the fewer days Parliament sat, the better,and the more they debated rather than acted, the safer everyone was. Then the Victorian reformers got into the act and the rest is history.

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