Posted on September 26:
Finally, the third step in the right direction is the decision by Parliament to have an emergency debate tonight on the issue of high gas prices. The debate was initiated by Conservative MP Randy White, and I think it is incumbent on Parliament to tackle this issue with seriousness, and tonight's debate will, hopefully, serve that end.Posted on September 27:
As the Official Opposition Transport Critic and a Member of Parliament who has received an avalanche of emails, phone calls, and more than a few conspiracy theories from constituents on the yo-yo nature of gas prices lately, I was more than willing to participate in this 'debate'. However, as I proudly strode into the House at 10:50pm last night to give my state of the 'emergency' speech I saw just how much of an 'emergency' we were dealing with. With 5 MPs out of 308 in their seats (for the uninitiated, that means there were more pages in the Chamber than MPs) I first felt rather lonely, and then came the slight guilt I feel this AM.Looking at Hansard, it looks like there were 9 MPs in the House (at least that spoke) between 22:45 and midnight, but I don't know who got up and sat down so Mr. Moore's point remains valid.
Is there no concept of quorum in the House of Commons? What's the point of having these heartfelt debates between 9 people? Is something actually accomplished, or does this go into somebody's talking points the next day? I'm not even playing partisan as it looks like there were three-and-a-half times as many black hats as white hats - it was 4 Liberals, 3 BQists, and 2 Good Guys (not including the Liberal speaker).
As soon as the House is under 155 members, it should adjourn. It should be duly noted who did and did not show up.
So, here's a proposal for democratic reform. Institute quorum. No debates are to take place unless at least 155 Members of Parliament are in the House. There is no requirement that Leaders, or a majority of a particular party are present - but no debate can take place unless 50% + 1 members are in attendance.
These 9 people spent $375,000* ($41,667 / member). If there had have been 155 they would have spent $375,000* ($2,419 / member).
What would have been even better is if they had actually achieved some kind of resolution.
* Based on the $75,000 / 15 minutes rate to make up the House's operating budget.
Tags: canada, democratic reform, parliament, politics