Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Question Period and Television

Tasha Kheirridin has a nice piece in the Post today about saving Question Period. She makes the common argument that the introduction of television is a principal cause of the decline of Question Period. I think the essence of this article is that the demands of television make for shorter, more sensational questions. The second order effects, I imagine, is that this type of debate and coverage trickles all the way down into other political reporting. 

But is this true? However plausible, I've yet to see convincing evidence that the introduction of TV actually changed QP. Moreover, I can imagine equally plausible reasons why QP would have featured poor debate even prior to the introduction of TV. It seems like a great dissertation topic, and one that could pretty convincingly be demonstrated through some modelling and textual analysis. It would be helpful for our own debate over the topic, as well. 

Monday, May 10, 2010

Brown outflanks Cameron

And in one moment looks a little more like Jean Chretien and a little less like Paul Martin. 

Sunday, May 09, 2010

On my mind

Death Stands Above Me, Whispering Low

Death stands above me, whispering low
I know not what into my ear:
Of his strange language all I know
Is, there is not a word of fear.

Walter Savage Landor, 1853

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Changing Question Period

Michael Chong has recommended substantial changes to Question Period. His recommendations will soon go before the House and then a Committee. Among his suggested changes are having a dedicated day for PM's question (as in Westminster), having themed days so not all ministers need to be briefed every day, and allowing the Speaker to call out to MPs off the list of questions. Taber has a nice summary here. 

This could fail spectacularly. It could work marvellously. Since things can't be much worse than now, it's most certainly worth a try.

You can read the article here

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Ignatieff and the GG: It is very unhelpful and unwise.

At the same time that Parliament is fighting for its right to be trusted with confidential documents of the most sensitive nature, the Leader of the Official Opposition is behaving as though he cannot be trusted with the most simple of discrete consultations. This is not helpful.

As often, Coyne is right on.

Update: Peter Russell weighs in and pulls no punches: "It is very helpful and unwise."