What would New Democrats do to fix Parliament? - Macleans.ca

What would New Democrats do to fix Parliament?

Possible changes to prorogation, omnibus legislation and time allocation


Under the heading of “Governing in an Inclusive and Fair Canada,” the New Democrats have a number of resolutions to consider this weekend—I’m in Montreal and will be here through Sunday—on proportional representation, open government, government advertising and evidence-based policy. But the most interesting resolutions might be a couple that deal with parliamentary reform.

First, from the riding association in Sudbury.

5-47-13 Resolution on Prorogation

BE IT RESOLVED THAT The Federal NDP oppose the unilateral prorogation of Parliament in Canada without the consent of a 2/3 majority of elected members

And, more comprehensively, from Hull-Aylmer.

5-54-13 Resolution on Transparent Democratic Process

WHEREAS New Democrats believe in a fair, accountable and democratic parliamentary process that Canadians deserve;

WHEREAS New Democrats believe that the Canadian parliamentary process does not provide the adequate checks and balances in order to permit opposition parties to hold majority governments to account

BE IT RESOLVED THAT: These policies be added as a new section 5.3 to the Policy Book of the New Democratic Party with all subsequent section renumbered accordingly

1) Legislation
a) All omnibus bills shall be limited in scope

2) Committees
a) All legislation should go to the appropriate committees
b) Moving committee proceedings in camera shall require the consent of two thirds majority of committee members

3) House of Commons
a) An NDP government shall respect the Parliamentary tradition that bills be debated for as long as it takes for every Member to speak once, or until debate collapses
i.) The use of a time allocation motion shall be permitted for no more than one piece of legislation per sitting

Implement those principles on prorogation, omnibus legislation and time allocation and you would have a very different—better? worse? more unwieldy? more democratic?—Parliament from the one we’ve had the last six years.

Also of note: Resolution 5-43-13, which calls for compulsory voting. This is the Australian model of voting.