A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
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Sunday, June 16, 2019

Long Hours & Many Miles

“The hours are long, the workload can be overwhelming. The people you work for don't always like you and, after four years, they can fire you without saying why.” so says the opening commentary in a recent article highlighting the retirement of some Mps this coming fall.

"I didn't realize just the amount of time it would take away from the family," said Rodger Cuzner (Liberal, Cape Breton—Canso). "That that was probably the greatest surprise, but it's one that comes with taking on the responsibility and taking on the job." Cuzner had a gruelling travel schedule: up at 4 a.m. on Mondays to catch a flight to Ottawa, midnight arrivals back home in Cape Breton at the end of the week, criss-crossing his rural riding on weekends to attend community events. "It's all-consuming," he said.

Retiring MP Brad Trost (Conservative, Saskatoon—University) who endured a similar weekly commute between Ottawa and Saskatoon, said he was surprised by the daily grind of parliamentary business. "I had the vision that there was going to be a lot of meetings. I just had no clue how many meetings there would be," said Trost. "We do meetings beyond meetings, and meetings about meetings here in Ottawa."

What struck me most I not so much the long hours and endless meeting required in legislature business by the job, that is perhaps a greater burden than many of us who are not involved first hand realize but after what appears to be long days of such activities for SOME Mps their week then is book-ended by traveling time to and from their home riding and family. From Cape Breton to Saskatoon to Kootenay to the Northwest Territories these MPs must put in many hours commuting back and forth to Ottawa where some of the fellow MPs are just a relativly short travel time away.

It strikes me that there is room for more use of virtual commuting where by distant representatives can attend meetings and even the proceedings in The House by teleconferencing, Sure there will be times when personal face to face meetings are necessary but surely given the way many world wide bushiness operate nowadays daily face to face meetings are more traditional than necessary? Many such meetings are already broadcast where such discussions are public and the technology exists to have private or semiprivate discussions in the virtual reality world, such accommodation would free up our MPs to be more responsive to and have a better understanding of their local populations concerns.

Perhaps by the time the renovations to the House of Commons are complete the whole place will be but a museum where tour guides can say “Once upon a time this was where MPs traveled hundreds of miles just to listen to the government and opposition argue about who said what to whoom.”

Just asking!

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Owen Gray said...

The Digital Revolution has cut down Time and Distance, Rural. There has to be a way to apply that advantage to our politics.

Rural said...

So many in the political sphere seem to have a vested interest in dragging their feet when it comes to change .....except when it suits their purpose Owen.