"A Citizen"s Eye View"

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Question Period. Wouldn't it be nice if MPs asked genuine questions and the Government gave genuine answers?

I guess the saying goes, "when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade".

I've been absent from the internet in general and the blogosphere in particular for over two weeks now due to a computer malfunction. My old reliable lap top crashed. Or more precisely, I killed it. I asked to much of the old girl and her poor silicone heart just gave out.  So obviously, my first response was one of pure panic. My life had just ended. What on earth was I going to do with out access to my email, my blogs, Twitter, Face book, Google search, Wikipedia etc. Life would be empty, a complete void with out being able to gain entry to the cyber-world and all it's glorious digitized data. I was doomed to become a wandering, stumbling, vacuous, zombie, looking to feed off the souls of the living.

I had the TV portion of my internet package canceled during the summer, mostly because I could not afford both TV and Internet service. The choice of which one to keep was obvious at the time. But once my old Acer died, I couldn't even find solace in empty TV tripe. I was lost, my brain  was rapidly  melting, hastening my transformation into one of the undead. In desperation, I switched on the tube and started clicking through TV channels. "information, information, my psyche craved information". Nothing but white noise and snow. But miraculously, I reached channel 71, and there, low and behold was a signal. A bright, clear, colourful TV signal. And the station, was CPAC.

I felt it appropriate at that time to look skyward and to say a few words of thanks to the cyber-gods for delivering me from zombiedome. I immediately immersed my self in the real life, real time political world. Committees, Question Period, analysis, interviews. I soaked up every mega-byte of information like an empty, eagerly waiting data DVD. I was saved.

Eventually though, I found Question Period most troubling.  I listened closely to the questions being asked by the Opposition parties- the Liberals, Bloc and NDP.  They seemed legitimate questions to me, most of them anyway. It seemed to me that they were doing their jobs, attempting to hold the current Harper quasi-Conservative party accountable. And by the sounds of things,, there were plenty of things for the Reformists to account for: The security, dollar value and human rights issues around the G8/20 summits, purchase of the new F-35 fighter aircraft, seemingly with no competitive bids being tendered, same with the purchase of new helicopters for the military, the ethics or lack thereof surrounding construction contracts for restoration work to the Parliament Buildings West Block. And the list was far more extensive than this. 

Not that these issues bothered me in particular, it seemed to me at first to be the normal, logical "give and take" in Question Period. But the first disturbing thing that hit me was the consistency of the Reformist/Conservative answers to the myriad questions posed to them.  There was, and remains, a distinct pattern. It usually involved a lot of meaningless words (how many words depending on how serious the Government took the issue) delivered in a tone that quite distinctly sends the message that the Government was telling the rest of Canada's elected officials to "F#*% off and mind their own business". So in essence, there were no real answers at all.  

But then I began to notice that the tone of the actual questions were no better. Irate MPs would take to their feet and deliver stinging indictments of the Government in tones and ferocity that would have been worthy of  a Southern Evangelical Baptist Preacher. 

It was then that I realized that the whole damn process was nothing more than a verbal boxing match. Each side taking jabs at the other, both trying to see who can open up a wound and score the most political points. Both seeming to be looking for an opening in which to score the ever illusive one punch knock out. 

So in reality, Question Period really  has Nothing to do with Questions OR answers. It is completely adversarial. There is nothing collaborative what so ever in the process. It has nothing to do with running the country and everything to do with John Bairde claiming at the top of his lungs that the Liberals "suck", or even worse, that the Un-holy trinity, the dreaded Bloc-Liberal-NDP alliance was out to "kill us all". Mean while, the Opposition parties continue to go in search of conspiracy theories (not that they have far to look) in an attempt to connect Harper with the shooter on the grassy knoll.

So I have to wonder at which point, our elected officials will stop fighting with each other and start looking out for the best interests of the country....together!  It is indeed a miracle that the country hasn't gone to hell in a hand basket during all of this internecine squabbling, though the rest of the world, as reflected in our failure to gain a seat at the UN Security Council clearly seems to think we already have. 

Perhaps then, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to all the Federalist Bureaucrats who have kept the wheels turning while the eyes of the elected representatives have been on each others jugulars. No wait, that can't be it either, they've all been summarily executed.

So just who the heck is running the country then?  Now that is a rather scary question as I can't begin to make an educated guess, even a sarcastic off handed one. Perhaps like The International Space Station, Canada continues to spiral around of it's own accord, held in place by inertia and gravity. But let us hope that someone soon awakes from this pugilistic, pugnacious nightmare to take the helm before we all begin to spiral to our doom. 

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