Something Atlantic Canada Needs

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theatlanticaparty theatlanticaparty's picture
Something Atlantic Canada Needs

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The
Hansard Office is the provincial government service that reports the debates
and proceedings of the legislature and its committees. It reports the current
bills, bills passed, and the debates involved, and this makes it a vital part
of our democracy. The name Hansard comes from one of the early English
compilers near the time when reporting the British Parliament’s debates was
illegal. Each provincial legislature has a Hansard service as well as the
federal Parliament and each can be accessed via the respective government’s web
site.

 

As
important as Hansard is it is not sufficient for Atlantic Canadians. The
Hansard service can be thought of as raw data, what is needed is a second step
to interpret this data to make it easier for use by citizens. At the federal
level such a service exists, it is a not-for-profit web site called How’d They
Vote? (www.howdtheyvote.ca). It
extracts information from Parliament’s Hansard service and collates the
information by representative so you can see speeches, quotes, voting history,
dissensions, and absences!

 

Atlantic
Canadians need such a service at the provincial level to help us oversee our
representatives. Does the representative slavishly follow party line? Are they often
absent? Do they seem to understand the bills they vote on? Do they take part in
the debates? Have they made any important speeches? It is important that such
information be made available, how else do we know that our representatives are
doing a good job?