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Globe Editorial

Too many MPs are skipping Parliament Add to ...

The job of a member of Parliament is a public and exhausting one taking up many days, evenings and weekends with constituency work, party and committee work in Ottawa and across the country, and, of course, House of Commons duties.

And yet, on perhaps the most essentialrole of all - participating in Parliament - too many MPs are falling down on the job.

A new Globe investigation shows that 23 MPs missed 25 per cent or more House votes in the last Parliament. The offenders are overwhelmingly from the Liberal Party, and attending to business in a nearby city such as Toronto or Montreal is no excuse for missing the division bells.

House attendance is just one of the tasks of a politician, but, in the past decade, the House has never sat more than 130 days in a single year. MPs have enough time to attend to their parliamentary duties.

MPs should let the sunlight in, and the House of Commons should actually levy the fines that are supposed to be slapped on the worst truants. MPs could learn from their unelected counterparts in the Senate, where attendance records are released monthly.

And MPs can go further. Canadians are increasingly cynical about political life, about where the legislating or governing ends and where the politics begins. It would be refreshing for more MPs to disclose whom they are meeting with, by social media or the old-fashioned constituency newsletter. Most Canadians know their MPs work hard. They just want to make sure their MPs are working hard for them.

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