Three weeks ago, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Government quietly released a discussion paper on possible changes that would largely strip the opposition of its power to hold the Prime Minister and his government accountable.
Some of the potential changes include restricting the ways opposition parties can hold the government to account at committees, requiring the Prime Minister to be in Question Period only one day each week, and shutting down House sittings altogether on Fridays.
Of those, the change that is getting the most attention is the proposal to reduce the Prime Minister’s obligation to answer questions in the House of Commons to just one day per week.
With most Canadians working 5 days a week, this will likely be a tough sell for Prime Minister Trudeau. Perhaps that’s why he’s trying to ram these changes through a Liberal-dominated committee when he thinks Canadians aren’t looking.
Traditionally, parliamentary reform of this nature has been done by consensus, but these new proposals are extremely one-sided. They strongly favour the government and upset the balance of power between it and the opposition — a balance that is essential to an effective democratic legislative body.
With his actions, it’s evident that Prime Minister Trudeau has no respect for democracy. No doubt he would prefer to shirk his responsibilities to Canadians to make his life easier. But in the interest of democracy, the Liberal Government should seek the consent of all parties before proceeding with any parliamentary reform.
I and my Conservative colleagues will continue to stand up to Prime Minister Trudeau and demand meaningful debate on these proposals, not heavy-handed attempts at silencing opposition.