Monday, September 17, 2012

Are Canada's MPs Too Busy to Vote?

Now that Canada's Parliamentarian's three month-long summer vacation is over and it's back to "work" for the voters and taxpayers who elected them, I thought that it was time to revisit just how many of the 308 MPs were actually present during sittings when votes where held throughout the first portion of Canada's 41st Parliament which ended back in June.  I have posted on this issue before, however, in this posting, data from the full Parliament is included, right from start to finish.
Here is a summary of all votes taken showing how many total MPs voted, how many were absent, the percentage of those who were absent and a brief summary of the legislation being voted on so that you can see whether or not the legislation being voted on was critical or not:

Here is a graph showing the percentage of MPs who were absent:

The average absentee rate over the 75 sessions where MPs voted was 10.3 percent with a range of between 3.2 percent and 30.2 percent.  If we exclude the June 13, 2012 voting marathon attached to passing amendments to the omnibus budget bill, C-38, the maximum absentee rate was 23.1 percent.  Out of the 75 voting sessions, more than 12 percent of our hard-working MPs were absent twenty times or 27 percent of the time.  That would appear to be a rather sad commentary and may explain why Parliamentary television coverage seems to show a lot of empty seats so much of the time.  

Looking at the statistics in a different way, we find that, on average, for any given vote, 32 MPs were AWOL.  Out of the 75 votes, forty or more MPs were absent seventeen times or 22.7 percent of the time.  The 32 absentees is, coincidentally, a number that is very, very close to the number of new MPs that the Harper government wishes to foist on Canadian taxpayers forever and ever .

Kind of makes you think, doesn't it?

Since the vast majority of MPs are stuck sitting in the back benches, combing their hair and trying to stay awake by playing with their taxpayer-funded Crackberrys, perhaps its time that the 61.1 percent of Canadians who took the time to vote in 2011 started holding their backrow-dwelling MPs responsible for actually warming a seat in Parliament since that is the only service that they are offering Canadians for their annual stipend of $157,731 plus expenses.  After all, it's the least that they could do for us since they are in "service to the public".

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