07 January 2010


We've all seen the seemingly unstoppable development of 'infotainment' shows — ET, E, Etalk, TMZ — the list goes on to unfortunate lengths. What seems to characterize these shows is an endless stream of teasers for the content that is 'ahead' or (eventually) 'up next.' When we get to the item in question, the content seems to be somewhat less than the sum of the promotional elements.

Now it looks like our federal government is trying to move governing in the same direction. They ceaselessly announce the same spending programs, slightly repackaged each time, without actually sending the money out to where it belongs. When it does go out, it is going to the projects so late that they couldn't possibly spend the money before the end of the fiscal year, let alone actually accomplish the whole of the project that was submitted. The excess money goes back and the job is half done, through no fault of the project managers.

When the infotainment people don't like the way their program is turning out, they yell 'Cut!' and start over. Our federal government has just done the same thing by proroguing Parliament, not intending to call it back to work (and all work must restart after prorogation) until March.

The Prime Minister would have us believe that this is a normal course of events. It's true that this seemed a little more panicked when he did it last year to avoid being defeated and possibly being forced to cede power to a coalition of the opposition parties, but it is not supposed to be an annual or even a regular event.

The first Wiktionary definition of prorogue is: "To suspend a parliamentary session or to discontinue the meetings of a parliament without formally ending the session." The real effect is that all legislation that has not received royal assent dies, the work of the committees is suspended and generally that business of government that already moves at a rather slow pace slows further. At the same time, this is less than dissolving Parliament, which would bring about an election.

So I ask you, when the government offers us an endless stream of promotional announcements with underwhelming concrete results and then yells "Cut!" when they feel that things are not going their way, are we being governed or 'govertained'?

1 comment:

David McHep C said...

I have to agree that there is a sad lack of substance. Just like those shows that you like so much. lol. I can't tell you how many times I've been stuck on the toilet and had one of those shows come on after the show I was watching. Make it stop, please make it stop. David