Record Number of Independent MPs Need More QP Slots

With Celina Caesar-Chavannes leaving the Liberal caucus today, there are now 18 independent MPs, the largest number in Canadian history.

“The independent group is by far the fastest growing parliamentary caucus,” noted Regina–Lewvan MP Erin Weir. “We need more spots in Question Period to reflect our numbers.”

For most of the current Parliament, there has been one weekly Question Period spot per independent MP. When the NDP leader unilaterally expelled Weir based on a deeply flawed investigation with no appeal, the Speaker added another independent question on Tuesdays to maintain one weekly Question Period spot per independent MP.

Since then, four more MPs have become independent with no questions added. We now face the prospect of 18 independent MPs having to share only 14 weekly Question Period spots.

By comparison, an NDP caucus of 41 MPs asks 54 questions per week. In other words, a caucus just over twice the size of the independent group gets nearly four times as many spots in Question Period.

“While no one expects strict proportionality, there clearly should be some relationship between numbers of MPs and numbers of questions,” said Weir. “Greater participation by independents would be an antidote to the cantankerous partisanship on display in the House recently.”

“I have written a letter asking the Speaker to at least restore one weekly question per independent MP.”