About the Blog:

Guelph Politico is locally sourced and dedicated to covering the political and cultural scene in the City of Guelph. Est. 2008.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Valeriote-Chong Super Team-Up Motion

I got a press release the other day and it talked about the impossible: bi-partisanship. Frank Valeriote's office sent out a press release talking about our MP's seconding a motion by Wellington-Halton Hills (and Conservative MP) Michael Chong in the Commons calling for stronger accountability in Parliament by recommending a number of sensible reforms to Question Period. Read on to learn more:

OTTAWA - Guelph MP Frank Valeriote has seconded a motion tabled by Wellington-Halton Hills MP Michael Chong to reform Question Period in the House of Commons. The motion aims to strengthen accountability in Parliament by recommending a number of sensible reforms to Question Period that seek to:
  • Elevate decorum and fortify the use of discipline by the Speaker,
  • Lengthen the amount of time given for each question and answer,
  • Require that Ministers respond to questions directed at them,
  • Allocate half the questions each day for backbench Members,
  • Dedicate Wednesday exclusively for questions to the Prime Minister, and
  • Dedicate the rest of the week for questions to Ministers other than the Prime Minister
“Some months ago I approached Michael in the hope that we would be able to collaborate on issues across party lines, and this is how we chose to do it. Hopefully it is just the beginning” said Valeriote. “I am proud to have been able to lend my voice to this effort. The reforms proposed in this motion are long overdue and the motion itself is a statement to all of Parliament and to Canadians that MPs of different parties can work together on important issues.”

Valeriote said he is encouraged by the support that the motion has already received, and noted that 19 other MPs from three different parties have chosen to second the motion as well.

“I think that the support for this motion speaks to the appetite for change that exists here amongst parliamentarians from across Canada. This issue was on my mind before I was even elected.” said Valeriote. “The fact of the matter is that Canadian democracy would be better served and our representatives more empowered if these changes were implemented.

“I respect Michael and I commend him for the strong stance that he took in tabling this motion. We have often spoken of the need to make Question Period less confrontational- where questions can be asked and answered in a meaningful way- and where the level of conversation is visibly improved and the confidence and engagement of the public is restored. These changes are suggestions, but it is our hope that they will serve as the foundation for conservation." Valeriote concluded.

Should the motion pass the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs will consider these reforms in detail and report back to the House of Commons with recommendations within six months.

On the flip side, this is what a Chong press release had to say:

A growing number of Canadians are disengaging from the political process. When citizens disengage, the very legitimacy of this institution is at risk.

Canadians across the country may not be able to put their finger on exactly what ails our institutions, but they know that something is wrong.

That is why I want to commend the Minister for Democratic Reform for introducing a number of bills, including Bill C-12, which demonstrates the government's commitment to institutional renewal.

The heart of our democracy is Parliament, and the heart of Parliament is Question Period.

Through the national media, millions of Canadians follow question period each and every day. I am optimistic that parliamentary reform can reconnect Canadians who feel disengaged by political behaviour that would not be tolerated around the kitchen table.

That is why we will be introducing motion M-517, a proposal that asks the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to examine specific changes to reform Question Period. I ask members of this House to consider this motion and to lend it their support.

I've heard Valeriote talk a lot about reaching across party lines and promoting more decorum in the House of Commons, and I think we can all agree that it's desperately needed.

I'll be sure to have more if there's any movement on this issue.

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