Monday, December 06, 2010

Alberta Liberal Caucus Podcast for December 6, 2010

The fall sitting of the Alberta Legislature wrapped up last Thursday, and my colleague Tanara has created one last Alberta Liberal Caucus podcast for 2010. Listen here.

Most folks tend not to pay too much attention to the length of time legislators spend in the legislature, but I think it's important to note that Alberta MLAs spend less time in the house than any other jurisdiction in Canada save Prince Edward Island; this fall sitting lasted only a few weeks, for example, and each "week" in the legislature only lasts four days. That doesn't leave a lot of time for question period or debate, the cornerstones of our process of democratic accountability. This episode reveals just how little time the Premier devotes to that process.

I greet the end of each legislative session with mixed emotions. On the one hand, I'm disappointed that the time for debate and discussion is cut short in Alberta; on the other, session is pretty exhausting for caucus staff (and MLAs!), so the slightly less hectic pace is welcome.

Kevin Taft's book Democracy Derailed explores the problem of short legislative sessions and  a host of other issues in far greater depth and with more insight than I can offer here. Daveberta posted a good review of the book a couple of years back; you can read it here. Or you can read Calgary Grit's review here.

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