Roundup: MPs shouldn’t become social convenors

Sometimes when former politicians opine on their former profession, it can be insightful, and sometimes inspiring, but sometimes it can be gobsmackingly terrible. Former Ontario MPP and cabinet minister John Milloy ventures into the latter category with a piece in Policy Options on the “future of work” when it comes to parliamentarians. After Milloy correctly asserts that most parliamentarians don’t know their own job descriptions and that leaves them vulnerable to the machinations of unelected political staff, he veers off about how nobody trusts politicians anyway so their actual roles are becoming obsolete and hey, government is too slow to deal with policy in the modern world, so let’s turn our parliamentarians into social convenors.

No, seriously.

Apparently, the real drivers of change and action are service clubs, community groups and church organizations, so what parliamentarians should be doing is trying to bring those groups together to do stuff because they’re not community leaders anymore, so hey, they can be referees or coaches instead!

Head. Desk.

One would think that someone who used to be in elected politics like Milloy was would understand that the whole point of grassroots riding associations is to gather those kinds of voices around policy concerns, where they could help develop those into concrete proposals to bring to the party, or to communicate their concerns to the caucus (whether or not theirs is the elected MP in the riding). A properly run riding association has the hallmarks of service clubs or community groups because they provide both the social aspect around shared values, and work toward the care and feeding of political parties from the ground-up, the way that they’re supposed to. This is the kind of thing that we need to be encouraging if we want a properly functioning political system in this country. Instead, Milloy would see us let that atrophy and let outsiders shout from the side lines while the political staffers continue to consolidate power in the leaders’ offices. No, that’s not how politics are supposed to work. We can’t keep washing out hands of this and dismissing political organizations. Joining parties and getting involved is the way to make change happen, and as for MPs, we can’t just let this trend of self-made obsolesce go unchallenged. The “future of work” shouldn’t be irrelevance – it should be re-engaging with the system and actually doing their jobs. And shame on Milloy for abandoning his former profession to the wolves.

Good reads:

  • The federal government’s appointments backlog is up by 80 percent, thanks in part to their decision to change the whole process.
  • The government is pledging research dollars into childcare nationally to “close data gaps” and to find ways to find the best uses of government dollars.
  • Senator Murray Sinclair responded to the Senator Beyak issue, talking about people who “cling to their delusions about our history.”
  • As it turns out, we’re turning away more Americans from our borders than they’re turning away Canadians.
  • The Trudeau foundation paid travel costs for an MP to speak at a conference they hosted, and suddenly people insist it’s a conflict of interest. (Seriously? No.)
  • As predicted, a plan to elect the Senate Speaker has been deemed unconstitutional by experts.
  • The Chief of Defence Staff promises action to address problems found during a review of the Royal Military College.
  • Ruh-roh! While Bombardier was laying off staff and demanding government loans, their senior executive compensation almost doubled.
  • With by-elections coming up on Monday, here’s a look at how they can sometimes be an indication of general election performance. (But not always).
  • Conservative leadership candidates released unverified membership sales numbers to show just how much momentum they’ve got.
  • Kellie Leitch met with a group looking to ban Muslims from the country, then claimed ignorance about it.
  • Chantal Hébert and Andrew MacDougall each offer their assessment of the Conservative leadership race as it moves to this next phase.
  • Scott Gilmore says the time has come for a new conservative party that values economic principles over social conservatism and populism.
  • Andrew Coyne plays a game of “What if Kevin O’Leary were not an idiot” to explore the notion of coercive federalism.
  • Colby Cosh looks at some of the hysteria around medical marijuana, and some of the documented benefits around it particularly around prescriptions.
  • Radical Centrist posted a perfect companion piece to my Loonie Politics column, looking at the origin of time limits for speeches in this country and where that led.
  • Over at Policy Options, I have a piece about my book and why we don’t really need electoral reform.

Odds and ends:

Canada is looking to contribute technology to a “deep space habitat” planned to orbit the moon and eventually the surface of Mars.

Scott Feschuk writes about Kevin O’Leary making a virtue out of incompetence.