Video: The Reform Act in 60 seconds

MP Michael Chong makes his pitch on fixing Parliament

 

We challenged MP Michael Chong to explain his bill in less than 60 seconds. Here’s what he told us about “An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Parliament of Canada Act (reforms)” — also known as The Reform Act:

Here is the bill:

The Reform Act




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Video: The Reform Act in 60 seconds

  1. Devil’s Advocate mode ON:

    (There are many good aspects to Chong’s bill, but for the purposes of debate.)

    So Chong’s bill means a bunch of Western Conservatives MP’s can kick out a Conservative leader elected by one riding one vote. But since there are no Quebec MP’s, the vote of the party can be nullified by a bunch of unhappy MP’s from the West.

    And vice versa for the Liberal Party. A bunch of Quebec MP’s will be able to override a leadership decided by one riding one vote.

    i.e. The bill reinforces the regional power base MP’s of the party, and will likely further disintegrate consensus building within parties nationally.

    If it takes one riding, one vote to elect a leader, shouldn’t it take one riding, one vote to have a leadership review.

    So is Chong siding with Kenney (popular vote) against MacKay (one riding one vote)? Why is Chong so anti-Quebec?

    He was against the nation resolution, and now he wants to hand power to dismiss the leader to only a portion of the country? If you can’t elect an MP, your voice within the party gets shouted down by the guys who can get elected.

    • A lot of the dysfunction in our political system arises due to the fact that our PM has become a defacto President, and a very powerful one at that, with very few checks on his power.

      The scenario you describe is not a problem at all when the vehicle for your representation is… you know… the elected representative of your riding. The PM as leader of the party with the most seats is problematic, because a party can replace their leader with a few tens of thousands of votes overturning the millions cast in a general election, if you consider votes for an MP of a particular party to be votes for that party’s leader, personally. It’s akin to having an election to elect Barack Obama, then the Democrats turfing him and appointing Dennis Kucinich.

      • It’s only “akin”. Canadians have never elected a Prime Minister. Your vote only applies to the election of an MP. It’s the parties who elect the leaders these days, and therefore your Prime Minister. Unless you’re a party member, you have no say at all in who becomes Prime Minister.

      • But that’s the whole point isn’t it? We don’t elect our Prime Ministers. We elect a Parliament and that Parliament forms a government.

        Christy Clark, as a recent example, became Premier of BC 2 years ago and governed (and I use the term loosely) for those 2 years before going to the people. During that time, no one suggested that she wasn’t legitimately the Premier even though there hadn’t been an election.

        • Ah, well, if she had been in Ontario, they’d be all over her. We are treated daily to the Ezra Levant style talking points about our “unelected” premier.

      • And sorry, I didn’t read your comment very carefully. Canadians should get over the idea that they’re voting for a Prime Minister personally.

    • Three points that come to mind on this:

      1. The threshold for MPs to trigger a leadership review should be higher than 15%, this is the only major flaw, in my opinion, in this proposed act. Also, I do believe the 15% would only trigger a caucus leadership review which would have to achieve a majority of caucus to go forward.

      2. In my opinion, once caucus had expressed their lack of confidence in the party leader, it should go back to the membership as soon as possible. The process should strive to ensure that membership isn’t being used to rubber stamp caucus’ decision. If the membership wish to proceed with the same leader than caucus members will have to live with that decision and make their own choices.

      3. The Reform Act is just a first step and future steps in reforming our democracy will hopefully help address some of the concerns about regionalism, particularly Senate reform (I know that doesn’t seem likely at the moment) could address that. Making a party leader all-powerful isn’t a good solution to regional divisions. Not to engage in hyperbole but that’s often the rationale that dictators use to justify their rule, the need to hold the country together.

      Given that its inexplicable to younger generations that the right 40% of the vote can create majority governments and that Canada is one of only 3 democracies left on planet Earth that use the out-of-date first-past-the-post system (hint: the other two that use it are both struggling with legitimacy and participation problems too) some sort of proportional representation is almost inevitable. Gone too far, some prop-rep systems can transfer too much power to the party and we’re already struggling with that. This could both fix a current problem and inoculate our democracy to prevent too much power from drifting to party structures in the future.

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