Run by children

In a wider conversation with CBC radio last week about his impending departure, Liberal MP Keith Martin noted the incredible power of the young and unelected in Ottawa. A rough transcript of his comments.

I think the larger problem is that within leaders’ office, the people around them are unelected, generally very young, tend to be extremely partisan, they’re hired by parties, by leaders, to do the job and they have much more power than members of Parliament do. They control much of what goes on on a day-to-day basis with respect to the tactics and strategy. But these are very young people, for the most part. They’re not terribly experienced in the real world. They may be smart in certain ways, but they haven’t gone and knocked on doors, they haven’t run for political office, for the most part, they are not as connected to the people on the ground, our citizens, as those who have gone through the election process. So the people calling the shots, that rabid partisanship tends to revolve around leaders’ offices, and they basically tell the MPs what to do. And that’s a complete perversion of democracy

I think it’s those unelected people around leaders’ office that have a lot of power. More power, as I said before, than members of Parliament. They tell the MPs what to do, they write a lot of the questions, they write the press releases…

That’s the structure that we have today. So it’s not the members of parliament who are writing these questions and doing these press releases, they come out from very young people, who are very partisan, and they have one thing in their bullseye, they see the other side and they want to destroy the other side. And that’s the behaviour that they engage in. How can we destroy the other side to get into power?