Nova Scotia Journal

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Trudeau’s approach to Parliament is unfavorable to democracy

Trudeau's approach to Parliament

Key Takeaways:

  • Canada’s Parliament has finally reconvened, albeit with little urgency.
  • The pomp and ceremony are returning to daily proceedings in Ottawa, two months after the federal election and five months after the House of Commons last sat.

Suppose the continuation of a minority Liberal government, in the face of weak and divided opposition parties, also means a continued dismissive approach toward Parliament. In that case, a serious question arises: does Parliament still matter?

Let’s face it: governments of all political stripes have consistently resisted attempts by Parliament to hold them to account.

The House of Commons and Senate debate the merits of legislation and spending, as well as disturbing public policy questions. But, on the other hand, powerful prime minister offices are hesitant to submit to any form of real accountability.

And ministers, political staff, and senior public servants regard public scrutiny of their actions as a bothersome annoyance. But that’s the job of Parliament. Moreover, it strikes at the heart of parliamentary supremacy, which has long been a pillar of our democracy.

Worryingly, the government’s increasingly dismissive approach toward Parliament.

In June, after the House passed legislation to reduce the tax burden on small and medium-sized businesses owners who want to give on their businesses to family members (Bill C-208), the Finance Department announced that the law would be frozen until the New Year.

The government implied that a news release from a federal department could override a parliament’s decision. None of these outrageous examples bode well for the future of Canada’s legislative institutions.

However, a functioning Parliament has long been essential to the health of our democracy, particularly when the executive branch of the government refuses to be accountable and openly disregards the authority of elected representatives.

More than ever, we require a respected forum in which our elected representatives can freely discuss current issues, debate laws, and public spending, and ensure our governments’ accountability.

At its best, Canada’s Parliament can act as a check on governments by compelling them to listen to grievances before and after taking action. Parliament’s continued vitality and relevance are at stake because it can survive almost any abuse except indifference or neglect.

Source: calgaryherald News

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