When most look at Parliament, they attribute the unprofessional behaviour of MPs and the major pitfalls between political parties a result of minority parliaments – I think otherwise.
Since 2004, minority governments have exposed Canadians to the many antiquated and ill-defined aspects of Canada’s Parliament.
Simply put, Parliament has not developed to meet the needs of the 21st century. Its inability to deal with documents on Afghan detainees, continuous debates over access to information, and the rights of cabinet demonstrate the many weak aspects of Canada’s democratic system.
Over the next four years many of the controversies Canadians have witnessed in the last few parliaments will most likely disappear. With a majority government, Prime Minister Harper will not have to depend upon other parties to support his legislation nor will he be subject to Parliament making decisions which he does not agree with.
Although another minority government may be years away, the same problems that plagued our democracy since 2004 will re-emerge and Canadians will once again wonder why politicians in Ottawa have such a hard time getting along and getting things done.
For now, however, we can be confident that Harper will rule his party and avoid all the unnecessary bickering that comes along with minority parliaments.
I am afraid that as in government’s past, this majority will simply hide the many aspects of Parliament that need fixing by a very powerful prime minister, as was the case with Jean Chretien.
People in Abbotsford once supported a movement and party that called for reform. The Reform Party wanted individual MPs to use their conscience and make decisions that best reflected the desires and well-being of their constituents. Although MPs will claim they still do this, the reality is the buck most often stops with the prime minister and the other party leaders
The people of Abbotsford, however, have hope. MP Ed Fast will listen – we just need to tell him what he should be doing on our behalf and hold him accountable.
Bradley Scott Vis
A native of Abbotsford, Bradley holds an MA in political science and was one of ten young Canadians to participate in the 2010-2011 Parliamentary Internship Programme.