Brent Rathgeber is a Canadian lawyer and former Member of Parliament. He was elected as a Conservative in 2008 and 2011. On June 5, 2013, he resigned from the Conservative caucus to sit as an Independent in protest over the government's lack of support for transparency and accountability. He lives in Edmonton.
2015 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize — Shortlisted, Non-Fiction
In Irresponsible Government, former MP Brent Rathgeber takes Parliament to task for its failure to hold the government to account.
Irresponsible Government examines the current state of Canadian democracy in contrast to the founding principles of responsible government established by the Fathers of Confederation in 1867. The book examines the failure of modern elected representatives to perform their constitutionally mandated duty to hold the prime minister and his cabinet to account. It further examines the modern lack of separation between the executive and legislative branches of government and the disregard with which the executive views Parliament. The book seeks to shine light on the current power imbalances that have developed in Canadian government.
Through an examination of the foundation principles of our parliamentary system and their subsequent erosion, Irresponsible Government seeks methods through which we can begin to recalibrate and correct these power imbalances and restore electoral accountability.
Rathgeber’s writing is clear and compelling; he damns the 41st Parliament with a methodical narrative you’d expect of a former trial attorney.
Rathgeber’s insider account is a reminder that something must soon give if citizens are to have confidence that the Parliament they elect will do its job.
Andrew Coyne is a columnist with Postmedia; his columns appear in the National Post, the Ottawa Citizen, and other papers in the chain. His writing has also appeared in Maclean’s, Saturday Night, the Globe and Mail, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Time.