The standing committee system and how Members of Parliament view its work
This paper is a discussion of the current state of the Parliamentary standing committee system. The findings are based on a survey conducted in April, 2010. The survey was sent to the members of six standing committees, a total of 73 Members of Parliament (MPs). 32 Members of Parliament responded, including 15 members of the government and 17 members from the opposition.
Based on the findings of this survey, we observe that there is a slight disconnect between the most important stated goals of MPs and the ability of the committee system to allow MPs to achieve those goals. MPs say that their most important goal is to look after the needs of their constituents, but they note that of all the purposes it might serve, the committee system is least well suited to allowing MPs to do this. While there are certainly other factors at play in the committee system (such as competing priorities, party discipline, and time limitations), this finding suggests that the committee system may be suffering at least in part because it is not seen by MPs as a means to a desirable end.