The House Of Commons has never been a tea-party. It consists of strong-minded, often very idealistic people, who are trying to accomplish something for our country. We are inheritors of an adversarial system and that, in itself, fosters conflict.
Preface, p. xi
On a craggy bluff above the majestic Ottawa River stands the remarkable embodiment of our system of governance: Parliament.John Allen Fraser
In the long and dogged crusade that the human race has fought in favor of democracy, the ideal of liberty, of freedom, has always been the goal.John Allen Fraser
Democracy is not a form of government. It is a political philosophy that can be embodied in various systems of government.John Allen Fraser
But while the American Constitution was the child of war, ours grew out of discussion, bargaining and negotiation.John Allen Fraser
The very structures, the corridors, the rooms and offices, are eloquent testimony to our past.John Allen Fraser
The office of Speaker is almost as ancient as Parliament itself. It emerged in the Middle Ages when the Commons - the ordinary people - of England needed a spokesman in their dealings with the King, someone who would voice their grievances and present their petitions. This was by no means a safe or easy thing to do at that time, and potential spokesman generally had to be pressured into accepting the responsibility.John Allen Fraser
A careful and sympathetic sense of humour can also be a great asset when there is need to get out of difficult situations gracefully.John Allen Fraser
As our parliamentary system now stands, we say that this role of overseeing the Government has probably become the main function of the House of Commons. the purpose of this function is to illuminate the weaknesses in government policies, the errors that may have been committed and the sectors that may have been forgotten, and to suggest alternative solutions.John Allen Fraser
Question Period is not part of the legislative process,and has nothing to do with it. It is a means of monitoring the Executive that the Government cannot evade.John Allen Fraser
Debates must take place in an atmosphere of courtesy.John Allen Fraser
The purpose of privilege is not to place parliamentarians above the law, but rather to allow them to carry out their duties independently and effectively, in the national interest.John Allen Fraser
For two years now, my office has had the honour and the privilege of sponsoring seminars on the functioning of government in this country for Eastern Europeans. These seminars and exchanges have brought together representatives from such nations as Bulgaria, Hungary, the Czech and Slovak Republic, Roumania, Poland, Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and the Ukraine, all of them anxious to learn what makes a society as diverse as Canada work and how our institutions make it governable.John Allen Fraser
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