Paul Wells has a three-pronged proposal in his latest column to improve question period and, in so doing, save a small piece of our democracy.
One idea in particular, caught my eye:
Schedule question period for first thing in the day, usually 10 a.m. Suddenly everyone has four fewer hours to get ready for the carnival, and four more hours to recover from it and move on to something else.
This is exactly what Dalton McGuinty did at Queen's Park after the 2007 election, moving QP from the afternoon to the morning.
Has it improved Ontario's democracy? Not according to NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, who claimed yesterday in her end-of-session interviews that the morning question period is one of the reasons Dalton McGuinty is still so darn popular in Ontario:
As Horwath noted, legislative rule changes that moved question period to the morning have also added another coat of Teflon to McGuinty in enabling the government to control the news agenda.
Given that the opposition gets to ask the questions and therefore define the narrative of the day, if anything I would have thought that an earlier question period takes away from the ability for the government to control the news agenda each day. But I have no doubt the timing of question period is the real reason the NDP still has just over 10% support, while the Premier is just under 50% support.