Question Period: Ministerial Question Period

By: The Hon. Diane Bellemare

Share this post:

Peace Tower and Parliament, Ottawa

Hon. Diane Bellemare: Senator Gold, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a restful, well-deserved summer break. I also want to commend you for your energy in Question Period. Finally, I would note that the opposition and all senators are always well prepared for Question Period.

However, since my very first day in the Senate, I have wondered about how useful Question Period really is, unless we have a minister with us. I am not the only one wondering, since in 2015, Senator Greene and Senator Massicotte polled senators to find out whether they thought that Question Period was useful. In 2015, 93% of senators said that Question Period was a waste of time and 7% said that it was useful.

What do you think about this and when will we have ministers attend our Question Period more frequently?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you for the question.

As the Government Representative, I’m willing to do my best to answer all the questions that I am asked, but it is not up to me to comment further on whether Question Period is useful.

With regard to ministers appearing in the Senate for Question Period, as you know, the leaders agreed, and we have a sessional order, that a minister would come to the Senate every two weeks to answer questions.

Given our schedule, a few weeks ago, we decided to take a break from our legislative work here in the Senate. However, I think it is very useful for ministers to be here, and I will continue to work with the leaders to make sure that practice continues.

Senator Bellemare: Yes, that’s right, we received three ministers between early February and today.

How can we help? What can we do to encourage ministers to come to the Senate?

Senator Gold: Thank you for the offer. It’s not a question of the ministers being unwilling to come. There are times when it’s harder to agree on a time for ministers to come, based on their availabilities, but also based on our calendars and workloads, both here and in the other place. We will make every effort to ensure that a minister continues to come here every week.

Share this post: