15 September 2009

The joy of accountability

Here’s a picture of a government being held accountable for its actions.

tablingofdocuments At left is a picture of  the parliamentary secretary to the government house leader in the House of Commons tabling responses to questions on the order paper put there by the opposition Liberals before the House rose for its summer break.

It could be subtitled: “How I spent my summer vacation.”

There are a few things to notice here.

First of all, there are thousands of pages of documents made public in response to questions asked by members of the national legislature.

It’s part of what they get paid to do, asking questions and it’s part of what the government gets paid to do:  answer them.

Second of all, in Ottawa they still use the time-honoured tradition of questions on the order paper.  These are inquiries into government decisions or policies that are posed in order to elicit as full and complete a response as possible.  They are done free of charge, unlike ATIPs which carry costs.

In the 1980s, the Peckford crew kept the House closed so much they essentially forced the opposition to use freedom of information laws to get what they should have obtained for free in the House.

In the Tobin era, the members of the whole House came to the conclusion they should do away with order paper questions for most things.  All in the House were more comfortable with that situation and evidently some of them needed more time to file expense claims. 

That tradition continues such that the opposition in Newfoundland and Labrador doesn’t get to use the order paper as it is supposed to be used, they get fewer sitting days in the legislature to pose the questions they might pose in the first place, and then to make it worse, they have to submit access to information requests and pay for them out of the budget which the government deliberately  keeps tight.

Talk about setting up a system that restricts the flow of information and thereby hampers accountability.  Let’s not even get into the issue of how the government answers  – or to be correct  - tires desperately not to answer simple questions, regardless of who is posing them.

But don’t worry about that.

Just look at the mound of information the government had to cough up.

Would that governments that talked a good game on accountability could actually deliver  in proportion to their self-congratulatory rhetoric.

-srbp-

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

It’s part of what they get paid to do, asking questions and it’s part of what the government gets paid to do: answer them.

Let's hope that our paid representatives don't have to answer preprogrammed questions. Just imagine what would happen to our House of Commons?
I wonder if our MPS's want a fall election? Sorry, the question may be moot soon....then we can forget all about the question

Edward G. Hollett said...

Gee, 1924. You raise an interesting topic brought up recently by someone who got so frustrated I wouldn't play his or her childish game that he or she claimed she wasn't going to be reading anything here any more...

You are some other anonymous persons, apparently.

Anyway...

What's really funny about this "should there be an election" thing iversion is that it is really a gigantic load of shit peddled by people who either don't know any better or who are running about hoodwinking others with some sort of partisan pile of political palaver.

It's nothing more than yet another meaningless tactical manoeuvre in a parliament characterised on all sides by its meaningless tacical manoeuvres.

In order to produce an election, a combination of opposition parties needs to vote together to produce the magic numbers that defeat the government on a confidence motion.

Last sitting, when the Grits basically announced they would back the government on all things, they were the whipping boy for the Dippers who could vote against the government knowing it would never fall.

In one simple change of position, the Grits have gone from being the butt of endless Dipper jabs to the ones watching the Dippers turn themselves in political knots.

But ultimately, that's all the whole thing is: a little game in whicb first the Dipeprs and now the Grits try and score small political points by accusing each other (in turn) of propping up the evil Conservatives.

All three main federal parties have been reduced to playing the same game of frigging at the margins. They'll keep doing it ntil one of them blunders into forcing an election by miscalculation or the poll numbers fool them into believeing the Connies are going down.

I say fool, because as long as all three parties are friggin' around with the same small-minded political games theory crap, they are doomed to reproducing the same trap in which they all find themselves.

The question isn't about whether there should be an election.

The question is why the parties are so frigged up.

The question that goes with that are why the anony-twit astroturfers working for one or another of the parties try and pretend that isn't the case.

Anonymous said...

In order to produce an election, a combination of opposition parties needs to vote together to produce the magic numbers that defeat the government on a confidence motion.


No kidding Einstein...it's like you are preparing notes for Poli Sci 101. of course the opp Party’s have to have the magic number.

The question isn't about whether there should be an election.

The question is why the parties are so frigged up.


The question that is top of mind for all Canadian's is whether there will be a fall election. The issue of why Parliament or more precisely, why the Parties are fucked up is more complicated and ultimately based on leadership. The Libs have had 4 years of horrible leadership and uncertainty and the Dippers are...well Dippers, with policies that would make any sensible Canadian shudder. The NDP are a joke and God help Canada if elected. On top of that the Cons are completely out to lunch and not to be trusted at all....

Now, there is the answer to why things are frigged up!!...Coles Notes version.

Now, with all that said; do you want an election this fall?

Edward G. Hollett said...

roflmao.

And so the anony-wanker returns returns.

Surely your arm must get tired with all that jerking off.

Anonymous said...

That's rich....Nice come back by the way..... Eddie I rest my case...enjoy rolling on the floor

Oh please, have the last word, we are all waiting the humble scribes response whether there should be an election this fall. Of course any response will sure follow about the annoy comments and the those that skulk around the internet with hidden Partisan agenda's.

Over to you Eddie

Edward G. Hollett said...

Must be an interesting exercise to rest a case you never had.