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Question Period: Would you propose any reforms?

Categories: Canada, Politics

hoc-staff.jpgSergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers carries the mace from the House of Commons at the conclusion of the last Parliamentary session. A new study finds that former parliamentarians are often embarrassed by public displays of politics like Question Period. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

By CBC News

How effective is Question Period in the House of Commons? According to a new study, former parliamentarians said they often felt like Question Period was "staged" by senior leaders and that the theatrics overshadowed their real work.

Samara, a research organization that studies citizen engagement, conducted exit interviews with 65 former members of Parliament. It released a new report Monday outlining a series of tensions faced by federal politicians.

"... the MPs insisted they did their best work -- collaborating across parties, debating and advancing policy, and bringing local issues to the national stage -- in the less publicized venue of committees and the private space of caucus," the report said.

"Furthermore, the MPs claimed to be embarrassed by the public displays of politics in the House of Commons, saying they misrepresented their work. Many blamed this behaviour for contributing to a growing sense of political disaffection among Canadians."

News of the study's findings quickly led to discussion among community members about the tone of Canadian politics.

Aulden Gray noted that "at one time, question period had a very legitimate purpose ... Now, question period is a combination of a 'gotcha' question crafted by the opposition party strategists with an evasive or entirely unrelated answer in response.'"

"What do you expect? The general public wants their boring lives to be like those seen on their favourite TV shows and politicians respond by boiling important issues down to 'he said she said' debate," wrote Kevin(BrockU).

"This problem with parliament should be a major issue during the election," said jgstephen. "With the strict party discipline system that we have, the power tends to get centred in the PMO instead of in Parliament."

Conservative MP Michael Chong introduced a private member's bill last year calling for federal parties to work on reforming Question Period and increasing the level of civility. The motion passed 235-44 last October, but the dissolution of the government has left the bill's future up in the air.

Read more.

Are you satisfied with Question Period? Would you propose any reforms? Let us know in the comments below.

(This survey is not scientific. It is based on readers' responses.)

Related: Do you think measures are needed to curb politicians' unruly behaviour during question period?

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