Our Fragile Democracy
This controversial book challenges Members of Canadian legislatures and parliament to stop acting like children! The author was a Calgary MLA in the Legislature for 17 years and served as Speaker for over 7 years. He was known for doing his parliamentary homework and judged both knowledgeable and just. He didn't put up with nonsense. His basic premise is that members seldom read the rules and fail to understand them. His experiences cover the years of Premiers Manning, Lougheed, Getty, Klein, Stelmach, Redford, Prentice and Notley. He offers intriguing insights into the behind the scenes political process. He continues as a staunch defender of Parliaments.
This book is a unique insight into the working of a legislature as told by one who was there for 14 years as a Member of the Alberta Legislature. As former Speaker, he is not afraid to challenge some of the nonsense which continues to take place.
Daily Question period is littered with behind the scenes 'carnage' as battles wage not just before the cameras in the House but also within each political party.
The role of Speaker is similar to the referee in full contact hockey or football. His word is to be obeyed but only as long as he studies, follows the rules and has enough backbone to act.
Former Speaker Carter was known for doing his homework and for applying the procedures in a just and equal manner. He shares first hand bruises and scars of the intriguing, internecine divisions in seeking a nomination, getting elected and the subsequent scramble for a leg up on the totem pole of political organization.
The public and personal aspects of life in the fast lane take a significant toll on families and individuals. The political game is not for the faint hearted.
Each elected member has many responsibilities and the challenge is honest service. The Speaker has many duties outside the house and must be a competent administrator. One function is to defend the legislature from encroachment on all sides and from within. Some governments and officials of all parties must be challenged as to how they spend the taxpayers' money.
Both in the house and outside the court of last resort is the Speaker.
The author continues to be a defender of parliament and is not reticent in his honest assessment of some of the players in what is sometimes referred to as the 'theatre of the absurd.'
There is no other book in Canada as written by a former MLA and Speaker let alone one which 'speaks' with such candor.