Proposed Earlier Day for Ontario Legislature

According to news reports this morning, the Ontario Liberal Party (currently in power) have contacted the opposition parties with a proposal to change the hours of the Ontario Legislative Assembly. The proposal is to start daily sitting of the Assembly at 9:30 a.m. rather than 1:30 p.m. This would mean holding Question Period in the morning rather than the afternoon, therefore allowing for more attendance in the afternoon rather than sparse attendance in the evenings which sometimes went until midnight. They also hope this effort will allow for the passing of more private legislation.

From today’s Globe and Mail:

Liberal House Leader Michael Bryant has written to the opposition parties suggesting they try the morning sittings for the coming session and evaluate it in the spring.

The evening debates which sometimes drag on as late as midnight are more about show than substance, Mr. Bryant said in an interview yesterday, so changes are needed to attract more people to public life by modernizing the hours of legislative business.

“Besides the fact it’s a killer for people who are trying to manage a family life and a legislative life with constituency demands, the debate that happens in the evenings is just time filler. The quality of debate is particularly awful, and everybody feels that way about it, I’m sure,” he said.

“The goal is a 21st century legislature, to bring it out of the time of the gas lights and into the time of the Blackberry.”

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