Friday Fill(ibuster): Parliamentary Perusal

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Political News Friday, September 12, 2014 View Count = 3303

Friday Fill(ibuster): Parliamentary Perusal

Opposition leaders by days served

With the House of Commons resuming next week after its summer hiatus, we're going heavy on the electoral and parliamentary news in this week's democracy roundup.
First: forget the greatest Prime Minister--Aaron Wherry over at Maclean’s takes a look at the best opposition leaders in Canadian history, including their patron saint, “poor Bob Stanfield.”

Samara co-founder Alison Loat weighs in on mandatory voting while Dale Smith continues the conversation in the pages of the Ottawa Citizen.

Also in the Citizen this week, David Moscrop delves into the crisis in Canadian electoral legitimacy, explaining why elections are not marketplaces, why “electors don’t respond to fluctuations like consumers who balk at price increases or flock to sales. The relationship between electors and engagement is complex, and its proper functioning requires positive feelings towards institutions and candidates, and a belief that one’s participation is meaningful.”

Susan Delacourt looks back 25 years to show how Newsworld and all-news television has changed Canada’s political culture.

Also looking back a quarter of a century, Scott Reid talks through the nature of nomination races and the perilous balance between central control and grassroots democracy.

Speaking of central control, ex-Conservative MP Brent Rathgeber’s new book is set to explore this prime minister’s tight control over caucus and put forward some exciting solutions to our parliamentary woes, including disallowing backbench softballs; breaking up omnibus bills; bringing in MP recall rights, allowing voters to turf a representative between elections; and giving the Speaker, not government, say over when to limit debate on a bill. Here are some of Rathgeber’s own words in a National Post excerpt from the book.

And still on the question of discipline, the Globe’s Konrad Yakabuski exposes how the private member’s bill has become a potent political marketing tool for governments, turning backbench MPs “from nobodies to pawns.”

From talking about it to doing something about it: here is the next chapter in Michael Chong’s efforts to loosen party discipline in the House of Commons and return freedom to individual MPs and here's the Globe and Mail's endorsement of Chong's proposed changes to the legislation. In case you feel like you’ve mixed up the Fair Elections Act and the Reform Act or are confused about how the process works, we’ve created a page with resources and events to help you out. It's also got great resources for those who do know what's going on!

Events, opportunities and resources


Speaking of MP Michael Chong’s Reform Act--we’re throwing a Reform Act debate-viewing party in association with the Friends of the Reform Act. RSVP here.

Are you in Montreal? The McGill Institute for the Study of Canada is hosting a Canada Remix event celebrating 20 years of study. Bob Rae, Naheed Nenshi, Nora Young, John Ibbitson and many more will all be in attendance.

Turnout Toronto Fairview is quickly approaching. Turnout Toronto is “a civic engagement fair where a variety of local advocacy and civically engaged groups come out to represent their organization.”

And also in the category of fast-approaching things in Toronto, NOW's got ward-by-ward news on Toronto municipal election.

Plus, Samara launched its Everyday Political Citizen jury this week and there’s still time to nominate.

FRIDAY NERD BONUS: Check out this link to read the sections of House of Commons Procedure and Practice that explains what it means for the House to resume sitting.

(top image cred: Maclean's)

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