I call on all federal MPs to strengthen the Reform Act (Bill C-586) through amendments when it is reviewed by the House of Commons Committee and the full House, and then pass it into law. The Reform Act in its current form makes some key first steps to free and empower MPs to represent voter concerns, but more changes are needed. Please do not weaken the Reform Act as Michael Chong or others have proposed as then it will do much too little to restrict the powers of political party leaders to control politiciaisn in their party.
Surveys over the past 15 years have shown clearly that voters want changes to empower MPs to properly represent the views of their constituents and ridings. I am calling on politicians across the country to work together to pass the following changes to ensure politicians across Canada are free to say what they want about any issue, and have some freedom to represent the will of voters who elected them and/or uphold the public interest, without their party leader being able to punish them:
- political party leaders must be prohibited from appointing election candidates unless there is no party association in the riding or candidate elected by the riding association;
- political parties must be prohibited from refusing the nomination of a candidate as long as the candidate meets minimal “character” qualifications and is selected by the riding association;
- the elections watchdog agencies (Elections Canada etc.) must be given the mandate and power to oversee nomination races for election candidates to ensure they are run fairly;
- the caucus of each party, not the leader, must be given the power to decide who sits in caucus;
- if a party does not have a clear position on an issue, clearly stated in the previous election and communicated to all candidates in that election before they became a candidate, then the party should be prohibited from disciplining any politician who takes a different position on the issue in any statement they make, or in any vote (even in votes on matters of confidence);
- the caucus of each party, not the party leader, must select the party’s members for each legislative committee;
- the speaker of the legislature should choose who asks questions in each daily question period randomly, ensuring only that the number of questions per party matches the percentage of seats each party has in the legislature over each weekly period;
- every member of the legislature must have the clear right to say whatever they want during their time for a member statement, and;
- the caucus of each party, by two-thirds vote, should be empowered to initiate a review of the party leader’s leadership of the party.
Please let me know what you will do to ensure that these changes are made as soon as possible. I will be deciding which political party to vote for in the next election based on the responses I receive from representatives in each party. I look forward to hearing from you.