Well, I was trying to write about the mainstream media handling of the revelations of Minister Freeland’s family past and those nefarious Russians, and I find I have to unwind a bit. The layers of irony are so deep I get paralyzed. I want to do it justice so I am going to set that one aside for now.
Instead, I went to read Dale Smith’s blog Routine Proceedings. Mr. Smith is a parliamentary press gallery journalist and he writes short insightful posts about the nuts-and-bolts workings of the government in Ottawa. I wanted to get his take on the Freeland vs. Russia issue. While there, I learned that he has just published a book, The Unbroken Machine. The theme of The Unbroken Machine is that our Westminster Parliamentary system of governance is good as is, and it is a lack of understanding by the average Canadian that makes our government seem broken. Don’t reform it! If we behave differently, then it will behave better.
On the one hand, I agree; educating youngsters in the workings of Parliament is very valuable. We would be better governed if we understood our system better. The events of December 2008 would not have unfolded as they had if the Canadian public were better educated about our governing traditions. And I would say that Mr. Smith probably understands our system considerably better than I do. The book is probably also a response, and challenge, to the Fair Vote Canada electoral reform campaign for proportional representation, a cause readers of this site will know I don’t support. I will certainly be reading the book (and probably blogging about it).
On the other hand, the whole 2008 fiasco just flagged the profoundly undemocratic nature of the Westminster Parliamentary system and especially its Canadian variety. I really believe all the stuff on the 7 pages on this website! All the blah-blah theory, as one of my readers once kindly put it, is solid. So, I am keen to take on a well-thought defense of our current system, a system I find democratically indefensible. I will certainly be reading Dale Smith’s book (and probably blogging about it).