Preston Manning and Ed Broadbent lend names to e-petition proposal

Tease the day: The legendary party elders are pledging their support for an NDP MP’s big idea

by Nick Taylor-Vaisey

Kennedy Stewart, the NDP’s rookie MP from Burnaby, can now scratch the following off his bucket list: Convince two politicians with diametrically opposed visions of Canada to endorse my proposal. Stewart, you see, has a motion in front of the House of Commons, M-428, that would open to door to electronic petitions in Canada’s parliament. Currently, MPs can table paper petitions with at least 25 signatures, and the government must respond within 45 days. Kennedy’s plan would allow e-petitions, if they garnered enough names and the support of at least five MPs, to ignite actual debates in the House.

The idea has earned two pretty important fans, as the Vancouver Sun‘s Peter O’Neil reports this morning: former Reform Party leader Preston Manning and former NDP leader Ed Broadbent. Both are heroes to their respective political movements, Manning to populist reformers and Broadbent to social democrats. Both are also removed from the corridors of power, and have been for some time. Will Kennedy’s coup in securing their support translates to votes in the House of Commons?

The CBC’s Kady O’Malley is skeptical. ”It seems unlikely that Stewart’s e-petition pitch will manage to attract enough support from the Conservative backbench to make it to committee,” she writes, noting that Conservative backbencher Brad Trost has signed on as a seconder. Terry Glavin, writing in the Ottawa Citizen, is critical of Kennedy’s ideas but says the Burnaby MP should proceed with “extreme caution.” Will Kennedy’s idea gain enough traction to come to fruition? Place your bets in the comments below.


What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with two more unidentified Senators who are facing questions about expenses. The National Post fronts former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s electoral success that could see him play a role in who forms government. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with Senator Mike Duffy’s potentially blooming residence expenses that he’s said he’ll repay. The Ottawa Citizen leads with expected cuts at the Department of National Defence and across the bureaucracy. iPolitics fronts Canada’s reduced diplomatic visibility in Africa. CBC.ca leads with last year’s “preventable” Via train derailment near Burlington, Ont. National Newswatch showcases a CTV News story that says Senator Pamela Wallin repaid some claimed expenses before the Senate audited all her claims.


Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Obama choppers. DND bought nine used presidential helicopters and is stripping them for spare parts. It’s meant a rejuvenated fleet of Cormorants that required refurbishing. 2. Greek performers. Liberal MP Jim Karygiannis allegedly helped Greek musicians enter the country, a move border officials say involved misstating their reasons for entry.
3. Marginalized patients. A new study suggests that some doctors are cherry-picking wealthier patients, who are 50 per cent more likely to be taken on than their poorer counterparts. 4. Satellites. An Indian rocket launched four Canadian satellites into space yesterday—two of them were paid for by Austria—including Canada’s first military satellite.




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