Politique canadienne

A13 - Inside the Pink Palace I

Date: Jun 13 | Heure: 01:45pm to 03:15pm | Salle:

Chair/Président/Présidente : Peter P. Constantinou (OLIP Director)

Why don’t you trust me?: Ontarian’s decreasing trust in government: Milena Basciano (Ontario Legislature Internship Programme)
Abstract: In light of multiple controversies and scandals by the current government regarding delivering promises, people are questioning how trustworthy the politicians who are responsible for representing them are. Politicians make promises, break those promises, and then promise not to break any more promises. This paper will delve into what trust means for both parties: members of provincial parliament, and the citizens of Ontario. It will argue that Ontarian’s trust in their government is continuously decreasing, and it will explore the reasons as to why: whether it be through lack of transparency, lack of accountability, broken promises, etc. My research will predominantly include interviews with Members of Provincial Parliament. I hope to get proportionate representation from members across all parties. I will ask them questions regarding the significance of being trustworthy, for example, “what does your constituents’ trust in you, mean to you?” and “how do you maintain the trust of your constituents?”. Possible outcomes include referring to the dedication and promise elected officials made to their constituents when they were sworn into office. I anticipate Members talking about the importance of amplifying the voices in their ridings to Queen’s Park. I am interested in any reference to the Independent Offices of the Assembly. A section of my paper will research the roles of the Independent Offices.

Keys to the House: An Analysis of Accessibility in the Queen’s Park Building: Taylor Pizzirusso (Ontario Legislature Internship Programme)
Abstract: This paper looks at the history of the Queen’s Park’s legislative building and analyzes its accessibility features for people with disabilities. In the next few years, the Queen's Park building will be undergoing a massive renovation that will take a decade to complete. It is imperative that accessibility in the current structure is considered, and the renovation considers new ways to provide access to the public and staff. The paper analyzes all the physical and structural changes made to the building for accessibility from the early 1900s-present day. This includes the introduction of elevators, ramps, and accessible bathrooms in the building, as well as changes to the broadcasting or recording services to ensure that the public can engage with provincial politics. These accessibility changes have often been made based on the need of the sitting MPPs or the public for access to the building. Through interviews with current MPPs and legislative assembly staff, the paper will discuss the status of accessibility in Queen’s Park and improvements to be made in the renovation. Based on these interviews and literature research, policy recommendations are listed to make the new Queen’s Park space accessible to all Ontarians. This paper argues that although Queen’s Park has made important accessibility changes, they are primarily reactive changes made based on the needs of staff or MPPs as opposed to proactive changes that consider accessibility for the collective.

Byte by Byte: The Ontario Legislature's Unstoppable Journey into the Digital Age: Olivia Collver (Ontario Legislature Internship Programme)
Abstract: In a time where pixels collide with politics, Ontario's Legislature faces an unavoidable challenge: digitization. This paper will explore the complex impact that digitization has on the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. The digital shift of the Ontario Legislature refers to the transformation of traditional paper-based records and communication into digital formats. Debate surrounds the need to preserve historical tradition and the need to modernize processes. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the urgency of digitization became relevant as the Ontario Legislature needed to adapt to remote working and virtual communication. Through a comparative lens, this paper will assess the current state of digitization within the Ontario Legislature and determine whether it is ahead or behind the global trend, in comparison to other legislatures. Additionally, it will examine the generational divide that exists in the views of older and younger MPPs on digitization. Younger members tend to embrace technology, while older members may be more cautious about the changes brought on by digitization. Given its relatively recent emergence, there has been limited research conducted on the impacts of the digital shift within the Ontario legislative context. This paper will explore the impact of digitization of the legislature through semi-structured interviews with a non-random stratified sample of Ontario MPPs across political parties and varying in age. The objective is to understand how the digital transformation impacts both MPPs and the overall proceedings of the legislature.

No One Hears A Who! The Curious Case of Selective Hearing Among MPPs in the Ontario Legislature: Rhea Saini (Ontario Legislature Internship Programme)
Abstract: Inscribed on the walls of the Chamber is the official motto of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, “Audi Alteram Partem”, serving as a constant reminder to members to “hear the other side”. Though members may take this sage advice to hear, how many genuinely listen? Deliberative listening serves key basic functions, such as facilitating collaboration and innovation, and has the potential to advance broader democratic goals, such as decreasing polarization and advancing representative democracy. On the surface, however, members are not always engaged with democratic listening, riddled with distractions from side-conversations to smartphones, that on occasion become so commonplace it brings into question whether activities such as members statements, question period, and house proceedings have any value if they are not actively listened to by other members. This paper will seek to investigate MPP perceptions of distraction in relation to listening during House and committee proceedings, exploring the impact it has on the efficiency and effectiveness of the work done at the Legislature, partisanship, and on Queens Parks’ culture and perceptions by the public more broadly. This will take the form of semi-structured qualitative interviews of a stratified sample of backbench MPPs from all parties, accompanied by a literature review and ethnographic observations. Scholarship in the field has generally focussed on theoretical understandings of listening; as such, this paper will look to further understandings of democratic listening in praxis by understanding members perspectives and experiences on the ground, specifically in relation to distraction which has yet to be explored.

All in the Family: The Influence of Family Relations Among Ontario’s MPPs: Kaitlin Gallant (Ontario Legislature Internship Programme)
Abstract: It is no secret that many parliamentarians across Canada have relatives who are, or were, elected officials. In Ontario, for instance, 13 per cent of MPPs have a familial connection to politics at the municipal, provincial, or federal level. Similarly, 11 per cent of federal MPs have a familial connection. On the one hand, individuals belonging to a political family have exposure to the realities of public life, pertinent connections, and industry knowledge suitable for public office. On the other hand, given that nomination processes are not always fair and open, they may have an unfair advantage against other candidates due to their connections, knowledge, name recognition, etc. Little research in Canada has explored the implications of family relations in politics. This paper seeks to ask: does having a family member in politics influence one’s interest, skills, knowledge, approach and network in elected office? Using descriptive statistics and semi-structured interviews with Ontario Members of Provincial Parliament, this work seeks to understand the perspectives of legislators on familial exposure to political life and its influence on one’s career path. This paper argues that although having a family member in politics potentially lessens one’s credibility, it is nonetheless advantageous to elected life as it improves one’s political knowledge, approach, skills and network.