The rebel sell

Andrew Potter considers the overarching theme of Samara’s findings.

To begin with, Samara’s findings underscore the profound amateurism that permeates our national politics. When the vast majority of members of Parliament, upon leaving office, feel obliged to insist that well, they never really wanted to be a politician in the first place, that only reinforces the broad cynicism that many people feel toward public life. After all, if our members of Parliament don’t take their jobs all that seriously, why should anyone else?

To amplify that point a bit, it raises the question of who is ultimately responsible for the health of Canada’s democracy. Institutions are not buildings, they are sets of norms and procedures designed to achieve certain goals, and being “institutionalized” simply means that you accept those norms and are committed to keeping them healthy. Parliament’s central function is to enable representative self-government, which in our system involves working within and through institutional structures that are centuries old.

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