17 June 2009

Civilized behaviour trumps politics as usual

So Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff have agreed their two parties will work together to examine employment insurance reform. Two political leaders not shouting at each other long enough to agree on a common effort for the public good is a rare and beautiful thing indeed.

After a series of face-to-face meetings -- in my mind the heart and soul of democratic process -- the two leaders will create a working group on employment insurance with three members selected by each of their parties. The prime minister is "optimistic" a deal on "realistic" changes to the EI system can be reached, and the opposition leader added, "We have found a way to make progress. We’re going to try and make it work and get good results for Canadians." How salutary, how refreshing.

If only this could become the modus operandi of the House of Commons. If politicians of all parties could work together to deal with issues, we the people would benefit from the intelligence, wisdom and imagination of all our elected representatives. We would have better legislation, we would be better represented and we would probably have a great deal more confidence in the system. But I'm dreaming, aren't I? This display of good will is really just a one-time exercise in election-avoidance. Still, it's nice to see, rare as it is.

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