Please send your letter now calling on House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer to come clean and use the clear power he has to clean up the answers government Cabinet ministers and politicians give in Question Period.
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Last week, Conservative MP Paul Calandra, supposedly answering questions in the House of Commons for Prime Minister Harper and other Cabinet ministers, refused to answer a simple question three times and instead repeatedly launched a profanity-laden attack on a member of one of the opposition parties.
House of Commons Speaker Andrew Scheer, also a Conservative MP, refused to do anything to ensure Mr. Calandra answered the question.
The next day, Speaker Scheer issued a ruling claiming he has no power to ensure government Cabinet ministers and politicians deal with the subjects raised in questions from opposition MPs.
Speaker Scheer is wrong! The rule book for the House of Commons says that answers in Question Period “are to be as brief as possible, to deal with the subject matter raised and to be phrased in language that does not provoke disorder in the House.”
Speaker Scheer could have, and should have, required Paul Calandra to answer in a respectful way that addressed the issue raised by the questions.
Recently, the NDP proposed changes to make the rules, and the Speaker’s power, even more clear – but the Conservatives rejected those changes.
If government Cabinet ministers and politicians are not required to answer questions in Question Period, but instead can use that time to launch attacks, a key way of holding the Prime Minister and the government accountable will be lost, and Question Period will continue to be debased and degraded.
Please send your letter now calling on Speaker Scheer to come clean and clean up Question Period.
Key Info About The Speaker and Answers in Question Period
Under the House of Commons rules, the Speaker can’t force a government Cabinet minister or politician to fully answer a question from an opposition party politician, but he has the power and can take steps to ensure they answer honestly, don’t heckle or provoke disorder with their answer and, again, that their answer addresses the subject matter of the question.
To see the rules in the Replies to Oral Questions section of the House of Commons rule book, click here and scroll down on the page until you see that section.
And please help keep this campaign going until these key changes to clean up Question Period are won. To donate now, please click here.