Reform is essential. A more representative voting system, less power in the hands of the Executive, properly written rules for the functioning of the House, institutionally fixed processes of accountability that will not let the government hide behind the institutions, etc. The Prorogation is just a symptom of a disease, and the disease demands to be treated.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Prorogation is just a symptom of a larger disease.. . .
I think the most interesting thing about recent political events is the fact that people are waking up to the fact that there is something seriously wrong with out political institutions as they now exist. The fact is that even though convention says that the Prime Minister shouldn't be doing many of the things he has done, the system allows him to do these things. Not only has he ignored the will of the House of Commons, he has denigrated the civil service and undermined the basic accountability of government. And with a prorogation undertaken in Machiavellian self-interest, people are starting to get upset at what Harper is doing. Many people (including myself) have suggested that Harper is undermining democracy, and in a way he is. However, in another way Harper is doing exactly what the institutions of our political system allow him to do. Harper is deeply wrong. But then, by association so is our political system. The lesson here for Canadians should be that our political institutions desperately need reform. Sure recent events might eventually destroy Harper's government and result in the changing of who holds the office of Prime Minister. But unless we change the system the next Prime Minister can do the same kinds of things, only with the experience of Harper on the books which will allow him or her to even more effectively undermine the will of the house. And even more to the point, if Harper had a majority right now he would be able to be even more abusive than he has been and many of the issues that have come forward would never have seen the light of day.