Parliament Must Work Better for Canadians
Everyone knows that Ottawa is getting more partisan and more dysfunctional every year. This isn't just tribal schoolyard bickering, it has a real cost: it causes delay, waste and costs taxpayers money.
In the last Parliament (2008-2011),
441 Private Members Bills were introduced and only 4 were adopted.
Likewise, 681 Private Members Motions were introduced and only 24 of which were adopted.
Canadians don’t send representatives to Ottawa to merely defeat each other’s initiatives, or to spend most of their time constantly re-debating legislation that was already debated and passed in previous Parliaments. They expect - and deserve - Parliament to work better.
One of the biggest impediments is the current rules of the House of Commons, which actively discourages cooperation between parties and fosters political paralysis.
In the increasingly partisan environment of Parliament Hill, very few pieces of Private Member’s legislation ever get passed by the House of Commons, let alone get signed into law. We are now spending years and millions of taxpayer dollars re-introducing and re-debating good bills that have been delayed or killed in previous Parliaments. The current rules governing Private Member's legislation in the House of Commons (the Standing Orders) need to be changed to encourage cooperation on private legislation to increase the chance of passage. Important initiatives should be less of a zero-sum game.
Right now, Private Bills & Motions (those introduced by Members of Parliament, not by the Government or a party) can only be introduced by individual members. They are, therefore, often branded as an initiative of the party the member belongs to – and opposed or defeated just because the idea comes from another party. The system must be altered to put the merits of an idea itself first, rather than ideology or the politics of where an idea comes from. Canadians deserve better governance.
Less Partisan, More Productive
The Cross-Party Cooperation Motion:
- Allows more than one Member of Parliament to co-sponsor a private bill or motion, including members from different political parties, reducing partisanship by sharing ownership and freeing parties to support legislative initiatives on the basis of merit rather than politics.
- Gives Members of Parliament an opportunity to work together on bills and motions, and build support within different parties even before the bills and motions are tabled – allowing good private legislation to ‘hit the ground running’ and have a better chance of passage.
- Amends the Standing Orders of the House of Commons, and would take immediate effect when passed.
- Spreads the ownership (and credit) for important legislative initiatives to produce more results for Canadians.
Legislatures in France, Argentina, Costa Rica, the USA, and many others allow co-sponsorship of legislation and have resulted in more cooperation between parties on initiatives where there is a common ground. Why not Canada?
Show your support and join the campaign:
1. Download & sign the petition
2. Contact your Member of Parliament
3. Join the Facebook Group
For more information or to find out how you can get involved in the campaign for a less partisan Parliament that works for Canadians, call Viki at 1-888-266-8004.