Published On: Mon, Feb 27th, 2012

Lights, Camera, Cabinet: Canada’s politics on video


In these uncertain times of political unrest, economic uncertainty and raging debates about retirement age, it’s nice to know that Canadian members of Parliament are taking time out to discuss something which is critically important: namely, themselves. Yes, the elected members of Canada’s Parliament always seem to find time to debate serious issues like their pay increases and the general laziness of the public service, even when dealing with the issues of critical global importance. Their latest? How they appear on camera.

After a few youtube videos displaying less than professional behavior of certain MPs checking out their hair and falling asleep during debate period, the MPs have decided to debate the issue of camera usage in the House of Commons. They’re arguing that the use of wide span shots which sometimes showcase the empty seats while in session ‘make them look bad’ and that they would like to know which cameras are on them and when. Presumably, these measures would make all the parties look good by not featuring their absenteeism rates or their propensity for power naps.

While a riveting hour or so of parliamentary debate often takes a back seat to reality programming like the Bachelor over dinner, the use of cameras in Parliament are useful for so many reasons. On the one hand, they make great youtube videos. Who doesn’t want to see a rookie MP earning $157,000 a year for the next 4 years due to his big win in the last election fall asleep in the House? It’s a great giggle for us Canadian taxpayers who pay out that salary in the hope that the said MP will actually voice our opinions in the House when a serious social issue concerning our welfare is being debated- or voted on.

On the other hand, they also capture those rare gems that make political life in Canada so fascinating, like John Baird yelling at someone over something or Justin Trudeau’s slow and gradual transformation into Johnny Depp. Sometimes there’s drama like when the romance went sour between Peter McKay and Brenda Stronach and he called her a bitch while in session. Oh yes he did! It was good enough for a Real MPs of Ottawa reality series to launch on Slice. These precious memories would all be lost to the Canadian public if the MPs pass a bill to tightly control tv coverage of the House. It may make the business of the House seems sterile and stiff- like government or something.

The House of Commons is a public venue and it houses public servants of the highest rank and paygrade, which are the elected MPs. The bottom line is that they are public people now and cameras are just par for the course. If the MPs don’t want to look silly, then it’s their job not to look silly by conducting themselves like the mature, intelligent, well-grounded people that they pretended they were during their election campaigns. Now that they’re comfortably in their seats of power, it’s time for them to prove that they belong there by doing simple things like showing up and staying awake. And maybe learning to apply blush.

Read RANTS & RAVES : http://mikey-rantsandraves.blogspot.com

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Mika Oehling previous book: The Caf Toscanini in Fremolia available here


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About the Author

- Mika Oehling's initial blog (mission statement?): I want to use my blog as a forum for creative expression and as an outlet for creative expression that I don't otherwise have in my life. And I've also decided to stop bothering friends and family alone with my rants and raves, but decided to share them with the world so that it can bother them as well. I've decided to structure my blog as a series of rants and raves. There will always be one topic, but sometimes there are both opinions expressed about the exact same thing. That's not because I'm bipolar, it's because I'm a Libra and I tend to see both sides of every argument and can't make up my own mind. Yes, I am that annoying person you see in the grocery store, furrowed brow, trying desperately to make sense of the different varieties of canned soup. And I never understood their crazy sodium content.

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