The 2018 Member of Parliament Survey

May 10, 2018
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The 2018 Member of Parliament Survey
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Three years into the 42nd Parliament, is the House of Commons working well in the eyes of Members of Parliament (MPs)? This short report shares the results of a recent survey of sitting MPs. It comes as rookie MPs elected in 2015 have had time to learn the ropes, and new party leaders are settled into their roles. These results stand out as the only public effort to capture MPs’ personal evaluation of the Commons and assess cross-partisan support for different reforms that could make a difference to MPs’ influence and effectiveness in the 42nd Parliament and future Parliaments. 

Key Findings

  1. Debate Debacle: MPs across political parties are dissatisfied with the state of debate in the House. This dissatisfaction likely affects their approach to other aspects of their work—such as collaboration between parties—as well as their opinion towards certain reforms.
  2. Secret Sauce: According to MPs, their most worthwhile work is done behind closed doors (such as during caucus meetings, while speaking with ministers, and in informal interactions with colleagues), or in settings that don’t typically draw large public audiences (such as committees).
  3. Mixed Messages: MPs share strong dissatisfaction with certain aspects of Parliament, but this doesn’t lead to a strong consensus on which parliamentary reforms to seek. Not one of the reforms tested in this survey had the support of a majority of MPs from each major party.
  4. Reforms (Re)Visited: Among the reform proposals that were tested, the greatest cross-partisan support existed for modifying how committee chairs were elected. This proposal had support from a promising number of MPs from all major parties, signalling that reforms which increase the prominence and influence of committees might find traction.
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