As the next federal election approaches, the operations of Parliament will become an even greater extension of party politics and, essentially, we will be able to witness the speeding up of a broken machine.
What we also can’t have is the status quo; the overwhelming response to Justin Trudeau’s action should be a clear signal that Canadians want change.
Governments call elections when they think they can win them. Everything else is communications.
When your reaction to Question Period is identical to the feeling you get when someone scrapes chalk on a chalkboard, it is well and truly time to pull the old plug.
In this particular case, the earned media generated around the issue will more than make up for the eventual procedural beat down.
Parliament doesn’t need advice, it needs an intervention.
Expect the unexpected, zigging will be the new zagging, outrage will become contagious, perspective will be jettisoned form the lexicon and doing the right thing will become entirely situational. But that’s politics.
The key to staying in power is to keep the ones who hate you away from the ones who don’t know, and that is largely an exercise in communications.
We are facing uncertain economic times, increasing global instability, and a federal/provincial Health Accord negotiation that could fundamentally alter the role of government and the relationships between governments in this country.
If we work backwards from that absolute truth, we can begin to sort out what happened, perhaps why it happened and, most importantly, what it might mean going forward.
The good news is that we seem to be actually having a semi-serious discussion about the issue. In the end, I hope that the current crop of Parliamentarians see the opportunity that these types of discussions may afford them.
Joe Jordan's list of how to make Parliament work better.
It permeates everything they do, it shortens strategic planning time frames to about three minutes and it sidelines a competent and professional civil service by the ongoing reinforcement of the principle that 'politics' trumps 'policy.'
Of course, it will never last. I am giving this Parliament about another 10 months.
Politics is like a hallucinogenic drug, it tends to intensify what already exists. Keep in mind that there is little correlation between winning an argument and being right.
Prime Minister Harper has been convinced by his strategists that a majority win is possible. It's simply the way the guy's wired.
Of the 33 government bills currently in the pipe, the most logical choice for an election culprit would be Bill C-10.
So here are three small measures that I feel should contribute to all MPs holding their heads a little higher.
NDP MPs on Wednesday morning at the corner of Metcalfe and Wellington streets outside the Langevin Block, where the prime minister has an office, across the street from Parliament Hill. They include Rosane Doré Lefebvre, far left, Hélène Laverdière, second from right, and Charlie Angus, far right.
NDP MP Charlie Angus and other MPs wait in front of the prime minister's office at Langevin Block, after leaving the Hill on Wednesday morning.
Ottawa Police cars on Wellington Street in front of the Hill on the morning of the attack.
RCMP officers on Sparks Street between Elgin and Metcalfe streets on Wednesday morning. Surroundings buildings were locked down and later evacuated.
Reporters and camera crews are pushed back to the corner of Sparks and Metcalfe streets.