Jun. 17, 2020

How to turn Parliament into Chaos

Since last March, the performance of our political parties and parliamentarians has been stellar – in terms of spectacular stupidity.

We sat out the initial three months of the year listening to the government tell us the coronavirus threat was low. Suddenly, in mid-March governments declared an all-out emergency, quarantined the entire population including healthy people, closed all businesses, civic venues, recreational facilities, schools, and shopping centres. Parliament went into permanent recess.

The opposition parties colluded with the government to give the government unfettered spending powers with no oversight for the next six months. In doing so, they abandoned their duty to represent the people of Canada in monitoring government actions and abuse of public funds. That was billed as “emergency legislation” to allow the government to respond to the virus epidemic.

Throughout April and May, the government has produced a steady stream of income replacement programs to expand aid to groups and people left out of the initial emergency funding. Response to the economic crises created by the response to the virus crisis has been piecemeal, stunningly inadequate, and poorly thought out.

While this gong show was playing out a third crisis emerged. We discovered that personal care facilities were completely unequipped to deal with a virus epidemic. We have had 6,438 deaths out of a total of 7,559 (85%) of COVID-19 deaths in these facilities (June 11 figures). This ugly stain on our health care systems has been pushed to the back burner.

Now we have a fourth crisis in the making. We have thousands of people protesting police brutality and the usual anarchists demanding that we stop funding police forces. Our leaders are claiming that the police suffer from “systemic discrimination”. The Prime Minister claims that the government is shot through with “systemic discrimination”. He studiously avoids including Parliament in the mix, but our governments are the worst offenders.

There is no justification for the endless conflict between our governments and indigenous people or for discrimination in how people are treated in different regions of the nation or for a discriminatory equalization program and official languages act.

Our government is claiming to have more “emergency legislation” that must pass. The real emergency was last February when our government chose to continue to allow 2,200 travellers a week from China.  

The bill to provide income assistance to disabled people is wrapped with several other legal measures that have nothing to do with aid to the disabled. That is despicable.

Parliament is not in session. Our political parties sit as a COVID-19 Committee of the Whole (house) with 14 Liberals, 11 Conservatives, 3 BQ, 3 NDP, and 1 Green. No committee has the powers of parliament and any resolution or act it passes are constitutionally suspect.

Millions of us are watching this farce play out wondering why political parties are busily bickering among themselves instead of looking after the best interests and well-being of Canada. Every MP before taking office must swear (or affirm) a solemn oath:
“I, (Member’s name), do solemnly, sincerely, and truly declare and affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second.” 

Members of Parliament do not swear to be faithful to a political party. They swear to be faithful to our Head of State and Her people.

Political party rivalry when we are facing multiple crisis and uncertainty about our future is stunning. It is incredible that this cast of antagonistic, mouthy misfits expect us to take them seriously when their actions have earned our contempt. Our political parties stand naked, exposed in their greed, lust for power and contempt for the people.

We need reform of parliament. We must have a House of Commons committed to the people it serves. Opposition parties must produce constructive amendments to government proposals and programs. We need a government willing to stand up to scrutiny and make changes that work for us.

During general election, each political party sells itself like soap, claiming to be far superior to other brands. What we get is 0.5% perfume, 1% active ingredient and 98.5% expensive filler. It shows in the dismally low quality of our governance.