Feature

Canada: Why we don’t need a legislature

&ldquo;Parliament has become a kind of vestigial ornament, like the monarchy, beloved of nostalgists but quite without any practical purpose,&rdquo; said Andrew Coyne in <em>Maclean&rsquo;s.</em>

Andrew Coyne
Maclean’s

Canada doesn’t need its Parliament, said Andrew Coyne. This revelation came to me in “a moment of startling clarity” two weeks ago, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper declared that Parliament should take a two-month recess. “Would three months be any worse? Or four? Or six?” It’s not as if we would miss it. “Parliament has become a kind of vestigial ornament, like the monarchy, beloved of nostalgists but quite without any practical purpose.”

The real work of governing is done by the prime minister and the Cabinet. The legislature’s votes on the government’s proposed laws are always along party lines anyway, so really, all we would need is for party leaders to vote and we’d be done. Mind you, “I’m not talking about doing away with elections.” With Parliament abolished, we would just vote for a party instead of for individual legislators, and the party that won the most votes would form the government. We would save millions of dollars a year and “untold numbers of bureaucratic man-hours,” and we’d get just as much accomplished as we do now. “Can anyone say they will miss it? Will we even notice?”

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