June 13, 2010

Canada's political class?

By Alison Loat

Many MPs said they came to federal politics accidentally. Is this what you would have expected? While on the one hand, anyone can run for political office, on the other, there’s no “farm team” in Canadian politics. Should we do more to develop a professional political class?

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Trineesh Biswas

July 6, 2010 01:13 AM

Samara deserves congratulations for this fascinating initiative. In response to this particular question, having a professional political class is a sword that can cut both ways. There is of course much to be said for MPs who feel well prepared when they take office, and can use their understanding of how parliament and the bureaucracy work to better advance their policy agendas.

But for a note of caution, look at France, where the well-established professional political class has become the object of widespread public cynicism about politics. Members of this class are by definition well-connected and well-informed about how the system works. As current headlines suggest, they are all too aware of how to to turn connections and knowledge into well-paid sinecures. Many trained members of the political class leave for private industry, leading to an inappropriately cosy relationship between government and selected segments of business. The existence of a political class has made it harder for new people and new ideas to break in to French politics -- to the detriment of governance in that country. And French politics is even less representative than Canadian politics is.

Perhaps Samara could work with universities and others to put together an intensive seminar of sorts for first-time Canadian MPs and/or their staff?

PF

November 23, 2010 04:48 AM

The Canadian federal parliamentary system of the House of Commons and Senate, is quite distinct in its culture, and there should be caution in making international comparisons.

Parliament Hill in Ottawa, although originally molded from the Westminster one, has evolved.  It does not represent a political class, but rather the breadth of Canadian society as your report confirms, as Canada has been more classless in the historical cultural sense than England or France.  Moreover the financial disincentive barriers to get elected are significantly less in Canada than in the USA, and perhaps even the UK and France.  The USA system has been completely corrupted by money.  In Canada, personal natural ability and luck of circumstance and situation come together to make the chance of being elected an MP, much more wide open than England and France.  The Canadian House of Commons is much more grass roots in character than the Canadian socialists think, who seem stuck in their politics of envy and resentments.  

seo service

March 23, 2012 09:20 AM

Underscoring all the recent developments is a deteriorating economic situation in advanced economies; this situation is being driven by the policies arising out of and predicated on a neoliberal orthodoxy which has been the dominant political ideology in advanced economies over the last four decades, this includes: the rise of financial capitalism, globalization, liberalization of trade policy, technological change, deregulation of workplace law and retrenchment of the social welfare state.

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