On any given day, it can be difficult to feel good about Canadian democracy — particularly if the day includes a session of question period, Parliament's regularly staged (but poorly acted) exchange of shouted platitudes and rote umbrage.
But it could be much worse, as a glance at the United States over the past week would make clear — and not only because Washington has been consumed by President Donald Trump's impeachment trial.
The American example of late is a useful benchmark these days for measuring the relative efficacy of Canada's institutions. It also offers a stark warning against complacency.
To start, ask yourself which you prefer: the prime-time partisan spectacle of a State of the Union address or a speech from the throne — where the leader of the government is made to sit quietly in a wooden chair while a statement of the government's priorities is read flatly by a representative of the country's distant, but deferential, head of state?