Idea alert

by Aaron Wherry

Kennedy Stewart wants to bring parliamentary democracy into the social media age.

Brought forward by Burnaby-Douglas MP Kennedy Stewart, the motion seeks to amend standing orders so that petitions brought forward by constituents and approved get put online so the public can see them and sign them. The motion also calls for automatic debate on those petitions that generate more than 50,000 signatures … Stewart is calling for a dedicated website where petitions could be posted for public viewing and electronic signing. They’ll be closed and archived after six months and those that receive significant support will be debated for one hour, after regular parliamentary business.




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Idea alert

  1. They are trying this in the UK.  Let’s just say it has some glitches.

  2. A good effort…. but it’s not the means of delivering or submitting petitions that’s obsolete. It’s the notion that petitions make the slightest difference to anybody that’s obsolete.

    It’s a little silly to talk about “the right to petition” as though it’s still the 1840s and we’re all in Lancashire cheering on the repeal of the Corn Laws.

    • However, the repeal of the Corn Laws was a very good thing.

  3. So we are finally giving our democracy over to the spambots?

  4. Petitions need to be modernized in more ways than the submission process. Under standing order 36(8), Ministers are required to respond  to petitions, in writing, within 45 days of their presentation to the House. Once tabled, however, this response is hardly accessible to the public. Getting a copy of the government’s response would require finding the response to one’s petition in the Daily Journals, noting the sessional paper number, and contacting the Library of Parliament’s information service to request the document. Which they will gladly do, providing the response is under the maximum number of pages.

    In other words, Parliament requires the government to respond to petitions, but then hides the responses in a manner that seems to mock the very broad, public intention of the petitioning process. Democracy deserves better.

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