Restoring Democracy in the House

Here’s some of Elisabeth May’s suggested to-do list for the new government;
1. Prorogations must now require a vote in the House constituting more than a majority vote. It must be based on a formula to ensure the majority party is not running roughshod over smaller parties to avoid accountability.
2. Omnibus bills must be curtailed and only allowed when the subject matter of the bill meets one central purpose. We must never again allow unrelated pieces of legislation to be bundled together to avoid adequate study or review.
3. Parliamentary Committees must be free of whipped votes. The parliamentary secretaries should not sit on committees. Committee chairs should be elected by committee members. Witnesses should be given adequate time to testify. The Conservative practice of throwing four or five unrelated witnesses on the same panel, given an insultingly brief time to speak, to be abused by government MPs must stop. Forcing unrealistic and abbreviated time for hearings must stop.
4. We need to revise the Elections Act. We need to create rules for leaders’ debates and have them under Elections Canada supervision. We need to undo the damage to Elections Act since 2006. C-23 was the second major change. We need to enhance the investigative powers of Elections Canada into election fraud.
5. The House proceedings should return to the standing rules. The use of separate motions in every committee to deprive MPs in smaller parties of the right to present amendments at Report Stage must end.
6. Heckling in the House should be controlled by the next Speaker. It is a deliberate technique to discourage public interest in parliamentary affairs.
7. We must restore transparency. Access to Information laws need to be overhauled (see Democracy Watch recommendations).
8. Documents required by MPs must not be hidden. Fundamental principles of the Supremacy of Parliament must be restored.
9. Budgetary information must be available to Parliament prior to budget votes. “Deemed” review of billions of dollars in supplementary estimates must end. The PBO must be strengthened and the Parliamentary Budget Officer be made an Officer of Parliament.
10. Whipped votes on other than confidence motions must end. We need to restore the link between members and their constituencies.
11. We must legislate to control abuse of power. The above is a first cut and inadequate. Ideally, a parliamentary committee will be mandated to review the abuses of the last ten years and recommend a full suite of measures to ensure it never happens again.
See more at https://www.greenparty.ca/en/blog/2015-11-02/fixing-what-harper-broke-part-two

and part one at http://www.greenparty.ca/en/blog/2015-10-29/fixing-what-harper-broke-do-list-incoming-government

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