Tue, Apr
27
2010

Thank You, Mr. Speaker

Tue, Apr 27, 2010

Dear Mr. Milliken, Speaker of the House of Commons,

It took some time in coming, but I must thank you for ruling that the government had no place in defying a direct order by a majority of parliamentarians to turn over documents for the scrutiny of their committees.

For far too long, our governments, Liberal and Conservative, have turned the legislative body of this land into a de facto executive one, concentrating far too much power in cabinet and the prime minister’s office. Your ruling reminds us that the parliamentarians we elect have jobs of their own to do. They are not just “trained seals”, and they should not be forced to act in such a way.

Whether or not our MPs accept this renewed responsibility and act on it remains to be seen, but the ruling you have made may be, in my opinion, a landmark one in Canadian history. Given that we don’t directly elect our prime minister, making it clear to all that the prime minister is still responsible to the politicians we do elect to office makes this a good day for democracy in this country.

You’ve done your job, sir, and you’ve done it well.

Sincerely yours,
James Bow


Further Reading

  • A transcript of Liberal MP Derek Lee speculating on what the next steps might be. May we go to an election on this? I have my doubts. Early reaction from the Prime Minister’s Office appears to be to try and talk around the ruling without challenging it directly, but we shall see. If the Prime Minister does decide to go to the polls on this, I think it would be a supreme act of hubris. He’d effectively be asking Canadians to decide who controls the government of this country: the local MPs that they actually vote for, or an individual who just happens to be at the head of the political party which happens to have the most number of seats at the end of the day. Just as the second prorogation seriously ate into the Conservatives popularity, fighting the speaker’s ruling that the parliamentarians we elect to office actually have a job to represent us will convince more and more Canadians that they have a wanna-be president running for office. And we don’t elect presidents in this country.

On This Day

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