What to do about Question Period: A Roundtable

Vol 33 No 3What to do about Question Period: A Roundtable

On May 7, 2010 a motion calling for the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to recommend changes to the Standing Orders and other conventions governing Oral Questions was introduced by the member for Wellington–Halton Hills. Among other things the Committee would consider ways of (i) elevating decorum and fortifying the use of discipline by the Speaker, to strengthen the dignity and authority of the House, (ii) lengthening the amount of time given for each question and each answer, (iii) examining the convention that the Minister questioned need not respond, (iv) allocating half the questions each day for Members, whose names and order of recognition would be randomly selected, (v) dedicating Wednesday exclusively for questions to the Prime Minister, (vi) dedicating Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday for questions to Ministers other than the Prime Minister in a way that would require Ministers be present two of the four days to answer questions concerning their portfolio, based on a published schedule that would rotate and that would ensure an equitable distribution of Ministers across the four days. The motion was debated on May 27, 2010. The following extracts are taken from that debate.