Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

The number of words MPs speak in House counts

  • Print

As a measure of gauging the volume or quality of work of Canada's members of Parliament, a series of calculations released by a Toronto-based think-tank leave a lot to be desired.

Nevertheless, the Samara organization's latest initiative -- Lost in Translation or Just Lost -- attracted considerable attention last week. The report provides counts of the total volume of words spoken in the House of Commons by each MP last year.

The discrepancies were remarkable. B.C. MP Peter Julian uttered the most: 226,027 words. Calgary West's Rob Anders spoke just under 1,000.

There are a host of factors influencing word counts. For example, cabinet ministers might have lower totals because they're away from House sessions more frequently than other MPs on government business.

As well, the Samara word tally doesn't capture things spoken in committees.

But Samara has generated something in this report that should not be ignored. It offers additional context, for example, to consider whether the workings of our democratic system have shifted too significantly to a partisan realm where appointed party spokespersons on issues participate in transparent democratic activities disproportionately more than other MPs.

It also provides a conversation point for constituents to raise with their MPs -- particularly those with low word counts. Being vocal in the House still carries weight with many Canadians.

Much too has been made of the fact 77 of the 100 parliamentarians with the lowest word counts are Conservatives. That's no doubt because the degree to which this party's backbenchers may be too tightly controlled has been a recent subject of controversy.

In the end, Samara has added another tool for Canadians to use to evaluate their MPs. Like attendance in the House, it takes them only so far. But it adds value by building on the public recording of democratic acts by elected stakeholders and generating additional conversation about what they should be delivering.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 23, 2013 A15

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Dustin Byfuglien reflects on season

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A nesting goose sits on the roof of GoodLife Fitness at 143 Nature Way near Kenaston as the morning sun comes up Wednesday morning- See Bryksa’s Goose a Day Photo- Day 07- Web crop-May 09, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you agree with the province’s crackdown on flavoured tobacco products?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google