For the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to take a little break from being angry at Canadian politicians for being uninspiring to the citizenry at best and downright insulting to us at worst. This doesn’t mean I haven’t been stewing in my juices the whole time. It’s been hard to ignore the signs that a blog post on the subject was looming.
First, I read this. “This” refers to an article on the CBC website, outlining plans to build a $42 million dollar glass dome as a temporary home for the House of Commons while it undergoes much needed repairs. Huh.
Then, I read THIS. “THIS” refers to an excellent special feature in the February 28, 2011 issue of Maclean’s by Aaron Wherry. The article details Wherry’s visit to the House of Commons on February 3 to see, well, what was going on in Parliament. Not much. There are 305 Members of Parliament (including the Speaker). On February 3 at 1:05 p.m., only 19 MPs were present for debate in the House. At 2:30 p.m., during question period (when the photographers and video cameras are usually present), the numbers swelled to 231 MPs present. By 6:45 p.m., as the House finished opposition questions, only 5 of 305 MPs remained. Huh.
It’s kind of funny, isn’t it? Some people slave away at their jobs for years to scrape together enough income to support their families and maybe, SOMEDAY, upgrade to an office with a window, and we’re going to build a fantastical glass dome for a bunch of people who can’t be bothered to show up and do the thing taxpayers pay them to do? Huh.
And then I read, in a variety of places, that there’s going to be another Federal election. In fact, I just heard my first attack ad on the radio today. (Thank you, Conservative Party of Canada! I was not aware Ignatieff was only in it for himself but you sure taught me a thing or two!). So not only will I get to pay for a bunch of no-shows to hang out in a glass palace (when they can be bothered to be there), but now I get to listen to personal attacks and false promises for the next month and a half? Huh.
It was all getting a bit much and I was thinking about going to bed for a few months until the attack ads were over and the “Will they? Won’t they?” coalition questions had disappeared.
But then, I had a better idea.
Glass-domed Parliament + No-show MPs + Federal election (i.e. a chance to get rid of everybody in one fell swoop) = FEDERAL GREENHOUSE.
What I am proposing, ladies and gentlemen, is that come election time we bid adieu to the MPs who have failed to change our country for the better and replace them with hothouse vegetables, which would be grown in the House of Commons and donated to needy families. As soon as that glass dome gets built the House would be the perfect environment for an indoor garden.
Just think of it: the seats belonging to the Liberal Party of Canada would be replaced with rows of juicy red tomatoes. The NDP, carrots (’cause they’re orange, do you see where I’m going with this?). The Bloc, some kind of legume (just to keep things en français), and the Conservatives? Well, I couldn’t think of any blue vegetable so I settled on potatoes. Sometimes, Stephen Harper looks a bit like a potato. Come to think of it, so does Jason Kenney. AND John Baird. Potatoes it is.
Should the Green Party ever win any seats, those will be planted with zucchini. (Because let’s face it, as much as we all enjoy zucchini from time to time, if we don’t have it, it doesn’t really seem to make a difference, does it?)
I believe a Federal Greenhouse is a much more cost-effective way to run a Parliament than paying salaries to 305 eating, breathing, expense-claim-submitting human beings. It would also serve to restore some civility to question period. I highly doubt that any back benching legumes will be on their smartphones instead of paying attention to the issues being discussed. And if a potato managed to make personal attacks in QP aimed at a tomato or carrot across the floor, I’d actually be impressed instead of disgusted. Sure, big issues like health care and the Canada Pension Plan and Canada’s role in overseas conflicts probably wouldn’t be dealt with very effectively by a room full of vegetables, but I would like to posit that they aren’t really being dealt with very effectively now by a room that’s only occasionally full of MPs. At least the vegetables would go to hungry families. And giving nutritious food to children is something I’m sure all Canadians of any party stripe can get behind.
(For all you pedants out there, yes, I am aware that tomatoes aren’t actually vegetables. But they’re very good for you.)
Still not convinced this is a fantastic idea that should be implemented as soon as humanly possible? Fine. I have another solution for you. An election is coming. Go get informed. Find out who the candidates in your riding are. Ask them questions about the issues that matter to you most. Ask your MPs what they are doing for your constituency, both within and outside of the House of Commons. On election day, go vote.
The Elections Canada website provides a very helpful webpage where you can search for your Federal riding by entering your postal code. Once your riding comes up, the page shows you when the next Federal election takes place (May 2, 2011) and also has lists of helpful links along the side, answering FAQ’s such as “Where do I vote?” and “Who are the candidates in my electoral district?”. I just gave you the link to the aforementioned helpful website so you’ve really got no excuse not to check it out.
Young voters, I’ve already berated you in an earlier blog post. Now’s your time to shine. Get out there and give your MPs a kick in the ass. Or, if you dig greenhouses, find your gardening gloves. One way or another, it’s time to get your hands dirty for your country.