The Rise of Partisanship and How it Paralyses Parliaments

The Rise of Partisanship and How it Paralyses Parliaments

Partisanship permits groups of like-minded people who share similar ideas to organize themselves efficiently in politics. It’s an accepted and acceptable part of parliamentary democracy. But when hyper-partisanship takes hold in politics it can be detrimental to the way parliamentarians serve their constituents and severely diminish how they see their representatives. In this article, the author reflects on his experiences in Alberta’s Assembly and suggests three ways he, his colleagues, and other parliamentarians across the country can reverse the trend towards hyper-partisanship. First, he suggests parliamentarians treat our political adversaries as colleagues, and seek opportunities to get to know them away from the legislature. Second, he urges parliamentarians to seek options for dealing with legislation in a less partisan, more collaborative environment in committee. Finally, he recommends making a conscious effort to elevate the level of debate, discussion, and decorum in each of our respective Legislatures. This article was originally presented to the 39th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Canadian Regional Seminar in Charlottetown, on October 11, 2017.