28th May, 2019
The Brexit debates in the UK Parliament are surreal. It is hard to believe the current incumbents of the UK Commons are working in the heart of modern democracy.
When the government decided to hold a referendum on Brexit, it consulted with the highest power in any democratic nation – the people. Following several months of intense political campaigning for and against, the people spoke. Leave the EU. It is hurting us.
Some politicians kept acting as if they had a choice. Initially they focused on negotiating an exit deal. The minority government did so. Opposition parties screamed: “Not good enough!”. Nothing would have been ‘good enough’ as many were opposed leaving the EU, and this was how they could throw a wrench in the works.
Opposition benches have managed to delay and stall an orderly and rational parting with the EU not because it is right, but because they can. They are not certain enough of their grounds to defeat the government and force a general election, so they continue with irresponsible demands.
MPs have forgotten that they are in breach of the nation’s highest court; the people of the UK. Exit deal or none, they must allow the UK to part company with the EU or be tried for treason. A public referendum is no less binding than a general election. The people have spoken. The decision to leave the EU was not made by Prime Minister May but it is the duty of Parliament to obey the order.
The Opposition is on thin ice causing the government to miss exit deadlines. It has no valid reasons for doing so. It is so intent on blaming Ms May for a referendum outcome, it is ignoring the people it was elected to serve. Political leaders and parties, including members of Ms May’s party, have turned one of the world’s oldest democratic institutions into a basket case. There is not one in the whole lot worthy of re-election. They have shown their colours and they are the Jolly Roger.
There are lessons for Canada in the UK debacle. Political parties are the ruination of democracy. When political infighting is more important than the responsibilities of governance, democracy is doomed. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has already hinted that she wants to follow the destructive and obstructive path that is tearing the UK parliament apart. She will do anything to obstruct a conservative minority following the next election. She too has flown the pirate flag and is unfit for office in a democracy.
Every parliamentarian, whether on the government or opposition benches has a duty to ensure that a government’s responsibilities are adequately and promptly carried out. The rest of it is widow dressing, allowable only as long as the fundamental responsibilities are dealt with. Our MPs spend all their time on window dressing and ignore their responsibilities.
Playing political games is more entertaining than the dreary duties of responsible governance. Saving the world is more attractive than wrestling with domestic issues and responsibilities.
The pretense that our federal government is a step above the provinces is nonsense. The federal and provincial governments have different powers and responsibilities. For decades, the federal government has blurred lines by encroaching on provincial jurisdictions. That is not good governance.
The federal government must mind its responsibilities and leave the provinces to mind theirs. That would remove many of the conflicts unconstitutional federal mucking about has created.
Political Consultant & Strategist