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October 3 – Government of Canada
HoC doesn’t play an effective/meaningful role in most instances for holding
the government accountable
o Result of strong party discipline
o Heavily centred parliamentary executive system
Ex. 2010 budget bill – conserve. Introduced. 904 page, 24
sections and 2200 clauses. 7 days of debate, 8 days of hearings.
Completed in one day, passed without amendments. HoC is not
reviewing the legislation. (needs to be two days of debate,
there was only one. Not holding accountable)
o HoC is not completely irrelevant.
Popularly elected legislature is necessary for an effective
government. Necessary to earn our consent.
o Limited in positive power, very difficult to hold govt accountable and
get a response from them.
o Time is one of the scarcest commodities in poltics – if hoc can talk and
delay things, that can frustrate governments, derail the governmen’ts
control of time.
o MP’s – they do matter regardless of their amount of powers – not as
legislatures, but as ombudspersons, they’re the link in dealing with a
large, impersonal, powerful government.
Spend so much time catering to consitituency needs, not
Parliament is not meant to legislate, place to hold government accountable.
Franks – parliament plays a very poor job in this.
o Fixed election dates
Elections are the most fundamental act of citizens.
Partisan purposes – able to call elections at own desires.
o 3 Line Whip
Paul Martin – Democratic Deficit – taken from Brits 1) vote
your conscience, don’t have to vote party line. 2) Leadership of
your party: this is our preference; we would like you to vote
this but will not be punished for voting against. 3) “Do it or
die”, you will lose your right to call yourself Conservative, etc,
and to sit with us in the next elections
Liberal/Conservatives have always said that everything is a
vote of confidence, everything is a three line whip.
o Prorogation Votes
Why should it be the Prime Minister alone with the right to
Britain: it must go to the HoC to get an explicit amount of votes