by Preston Manning 2/8/2013 5:13:41 PM
Hi. Let's get started.
by Chris Hannay 2/8/2013 5:14:18 PM
All the parties, and the Speaker, have responsibilities for House behaviour. The media also, as good behaviour is generally not newsworthy whereas emotional confrontations get you on the evening news.
by Preston Manning 2/8/2013 5:16:02 PM
Political parties (and I am not against parties) have become marketing mechanisms for fighting elections. That's the main thing they do and all their resources go into that activity. If training is to be provided to politicos it will need to be provided by others who are sympathetic to a party but operate outside it and make training their mission. This is what I am trying to do through the Manning Centre's School of Practical Politics
by Preston Manning 2/8/2013 5:19:19 PM
First of all, training in lawmaking. At the end of the day that is what elected officials do but there is little or no training or preparation for this activity. Other subjects should include political ethics, constituency relations (the art of representation and constituency service), small office management, how to read a government financial statement and analyze a budget, etc
by Preston Manning 2/8/2013 5:22:01 PM
It depends what emphasis the leaders and members put on maintaining the ethical integrity of their administration and on "renewal from within". One of the ways to keeping a party from corruption is for the leadership to consistently stress the principle that "those of us who make and administer the laws must keep the laws or we lose our moral authority to govern" and establish internal mechanisms for enforcing this. This was my father's approach in running the government of Alberta for 25 years.
by Preston Manning 2/8/2013 5:29:53 PM
Reform and several of the other, older western based parties (The Progressives, Social Credit, and the CCF) all had recall planks in their platforms and I still believe there is merit in this idea as a means of keeping elected officials more accountable. The problem in getting greater acceptance of this mechanisms has been in getting agreement on exactly how it should work, with British Columbia being further ahead on recall legislation than any other Canadian jurisdiction.
by Preston Manning 2/8/2013 5:33:28 PM
It seems to me that social media will have an increasingly important role in revitalizing democracy and improving communications between elected officials and their constituents. But the growng influence of social media can also have is downside that needs to be guarded against - some of the political commentary on social media is even more partisan and polarizing than politicla discourse in the conventional media or in parliament.
by Preston Manning 2/8/2013 5:38:25 PM
We have a lot of comments coming in. I'm going to share a few from readers now, before we get back to questions.
by Chris Hannay 2/8/2013 5:39:06 PM
Mr. Manning, any of those you'd like to comment on?
by Chris Hannay 2/8/2013 5:40:02 PM
These are good suggestions. What is needed is a properly funded mechanism to act on some of them. That is what the Model Parliament Project mentioned in my op ed is all about. If we could have a heavy duty training place to implement the suggestions for raising the knowledge and skill levels of aspirants to public office, this would be very useful. And if that same institution could act as a laboratory for testing change proposals this might move the cause of parliamentary reform along considerably.
by Preston Manning 2/8/2013 5:43:10 PM