Credits study: Catherine Fournier wants to end the loss of time
To put an end to the “questions planted” and the “waste of time” during the study of appropriations in the National Assembly, the independent member Catherine Fournier proposes to transform it into non-partisan technical information sessions.
Cach spring, the elected study for 200 hours spread over two weeks, the allocations to various ministries. The exercise that ends Thursday must in principle allow them to dissect the budget and better understand how the state money is spent exactly.
In her third year of credit studies, Ms. Fournier notes that this is not the case. That’s why she wrote to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Francois Paradis, to encourage him to change the formula.
“It is known and it is admitted for several years that the study of credits, it does not really serve that,” denounces the member. First of all, because members are short of time to prepare their questions. They receive bundles of documents filled with numbers a few days in advance only. The easiest thing for them is to use the time they have to attack the government.
As independent, Catherine Fournier receives all the documents and when stacking them on top of each other, the turn is higher than her. “We get it at the last minute, and we can not afford to see everything, even in the parties,” she says.
There is also the fact that half of the time is reserved for government members. While some have real questions for ministers, many ask questions planted. “What members of the Coalition avenir Quebec denounced in the opposition, they reproduce today. But I do not think people are in bad faith. It’s just the formula that does not work. ”
In recent weeks, Caquist MPs have used this time, for example, to tell personal stories or talk about projects in their riding, instead of asking questions about departmental spending.
Catherine Fournier is not alone in decrying the exercise. Parti Quebecois leader Pascal Berube wrote on social media that “the end of this desolate practice in which the questions of the government deputies are known in advance by the minister during the study of credits” must be ended.
MP for Taschereau, Catherine Dorion, described her first experience of studying credits as “a strange play, not well played, with forceful smiles and force loss of time of many well-paid world”. The elected Quebec Solidaire promises never to adapt to “these moments of absurdity,” while there is so much to do in Quebec.
In her letter to the Speaker of the National Assembly, Catherine Fournier suggests separating the study of votes in two: organize several weeks of technical information sessions with ministers and senior officials. These sessions would not be filmed and recorded, which would avoid partisanship and allow members to get to the bottom of things.
M me Fournier believes inspiration sessions that precede the unveiling of a report by the Auditor General. Members get technical information before the report is released publicly. They are later better equipped to react.
The second part of the exercise would be to allow members to ask questions directly to the various ministers, but on issues that concern their constituency. “The role of MP at the local level, it is very important and it would enhance,” believes Ms. Fournier.
Above all, the independent member believes that we should no longer paralyze parliament for two weeks with this exercise, while “during this time, the study of bills does not advance.”
In order to avoid waste, the member for Marie-Victorin also proposes that credit documents be sent to members of Parliament electronically only. Liberal MP Marie Montpetit also suggested this week that the National Assembly adopt more environmentally friendly practices by modernizing the filing rules.