So, Dalton McGuinty is going to prorogue the Ontario legislature - cue the howls of outrage from Michael Ignatieff and the other guardians of democracy.
What's to be done about this nonsense? Here's a proposal - lets adopt the legislative model of some US states. For example, the legislature of the state of New Mexico, population approximately 2 million, convenes in Santa Fe on the third Tuesday in January every year. It meets for 60 working days in odd-numbered years and for only 30 working days in even-numered years. The bicameral legislature is made up of a 70-member House of Representatives and a 42-member Senate. Members of the legislature are not paid for their work, but they do receive a daily living allowance when the legislature is in session.
The bicameral legislature of South Dakota (population approximately 800 000) meets on the second Tuesday of January every year and sits for 40 working days in odd-numbered years and for 35 working days in even-numbered years.
In both states an executive committee runs the government when the legislature is not in session.
I think this is a great idea. Imagine what would get done in Ottawa if the session of Parliament was restricted to 60 days. It would certainly focus the minds of MPs, and it would put a limit on some of the cockamamie legislation that emanates from the House of Commons.