What can MPs learn from the 42nd Parliament? Read our new report to find out!

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Happening Now Tuesday, January 21, 2020 View Count = 134

What can MPs learn from the 42nd Parliament? Read our new report to find out!

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With the new minority Parliament getting set to return next week, Canadians are looking forward to a fresh start in Ottawa.

While a new Parliament is a time to look ahead, at the Samara Centre we recognize that it’s also useful to look back at what was achieved in previous Parliaments, and to learn from what went wrong. That’s why today we’re releasing the first in-depth, objective examination of the 42nd Parliament (2015-2019).

House Inspection: A retrospective of the 42nd Parliament measures how well the last Parliament scrutinized the Government, the extent of partisanship within and between parties, and the level of civil and constructive debate, and compares it to previous Parliaments.

Using multiple data sources and surveys of sitting MPs, House Inspection paints a rich picture of the 42nd Parliament. For example, the data shows:

  • They like big bills: Despite criticism of omnibus bills, the Government continued to introduce ever-larger bills, which can make serious scrutiny hard.
  • Time (allocation) after time (allocation): The Government continued a much-criticized practice of frequently shutting down debate through time allocation.
  • More tinkering: Parliament spent more time studying Government bills, and amended more bills, largely due to the Senate’s new assertiveness in considering bills and challenging the Government and House of Commons.
  • Herd behaviour: The average MP voted with their party 99.6% of the time. The most rebellious MP in the 42nd Parliament: 96.6%.
  • More collaboration, but things fell apart: Committees more often reached consensus across party lines. But according to MPs, cross-party collaboration declined over the course of the Parliament as unhealthy partisanship increased.
  • Trash talk: MPs see debate as empty, repetitive, and a waste of valuable time. Despite efforts to promote civility in the House, heckling did not decrease in the 42nd Parliament.

The report concludes with recommendations from MPs about how to exercise diligent scrutiny, overcome toxic partisanship, and strive for better, more substantive and civil debate.

Want to find out more? Read House Inspection at samaracanada.com/house-inspection.

OVER TO YOU

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You can also help us amplify this research by sharing it on social media (using #SamaraHouseInspection), or contacting your MP to let them know what you think!

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