Monday, May 03, 2010

In Praise of Michael Chong, an Ongoing Series

Michael Chong has proposed a motion to clean up Question Period:

That the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs be instructed to recommend changes to the Standing Orders and other conventions governing Oral Questions, and to consider, among other things,

(i) elevating decorum and fortifying the use of discipline by the Speaker, to strengthen the dignity and authority of the House,
(ii) lengthening the amount of time given for each question and each answer,
(iii) examining the convention that the Minister questioned need not respond,
(iv) allocating half the questions each day for Members, whose names and order of recognition would be randomly selected,
(v) dedicating Wednesday exclusively for questions to the Prime Minister,
(vi) dedicating Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday for questions to Ministers other than the Prime Minister in a way that would require Ministers be present two of the four days to answer questions concerning their portfolio, based on a published schedule that would rotate and that would ensure an equitable distribution of Ministers across the four days;

and that the Committee report its findings to the House, with proposed changes to the Standing Orders and other conventions, within six months of the adoption of this order.


Excellent suggestions by Chong all around, and I think they'd go a long way to improving decorum in the House. Yeah, yeah, I know it will still be an out of control circus at times, but these moves would at least push MPs towards a slightly more issue-based focus in QP.

It's really a shame that Chong's still in the penalty box over the Quebec Nation vote. Sadly, voting your consciences seems to be a greater sin than gross incompetence when it comes to assigning ministerial responsibilities.

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