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The Reform Act 2013 -- MP Michael Chong


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Everything an MP does, everything a riding association does, has to be vetted by the PMO. They're only allowed to read the PMO's talking points.

It is worth remembering who is to blame for this: the liberal friendly media who jumped on every conservative candidate that said something provocative. By 2006 it was clear to most Conservatives that free speech for MPs would not get them elected due to a hostile media. No other party had to deal with the same level of scrutiny.

That said, the hidden agenda nonsense has been buried and people now see the consequences of using individual MPs as a way to slander a party so the CPC could relax the grip now and not face electoral oblivion. But the policy was absolutely essential at the time it was enacted.

Edited by TimG
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Many have talked of changing our system.

All of the proposals are a lot worse than we already have.

This bill by MP Michael Chong is something I can support:

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/11/28/backbenchers-conservatives_n_4358073.html?utm_hp_ref=canada

It takes the power away from the party leader and puts it in the hand of the elected MPs.

How naive (Trudeau talks of Meech):

http://www.cbc.ca/archives/categories/arts-entertainment/media/barbara-frum-pioneering-broadcaster/frum-questions-trudeau-on-his-criticism-of-the-meech-lake-accord.html'

Edited by August1991
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Justin Ling wrote a piece in Loonie Politics that outlines the pros / cons of these reforms. I tend to agree that the reforms would be putting too much power in the hands of the MPs and caucus limiting the ability of the PM and cabinet to do their jobs. We don't need the British model here. Remember how the Conservative caucus threw out Thatcher. There are other measures that can be put in place to enhance parliamentary democracy versus the suggested proposals in Chong's private member's bill.

http://looniepolitics.com/taming-pm/

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Justin Ling wrote a piece in Loonie Politics that outlines the pros / cons of these reforms. I tend to agree that the reforms would be putting too much power in the hands of the MPs and caucus limiting the ability of the PM and cabinet to do their jobs. We don't need the British model here. Remember how the Conservative caucus threw out Thatcher. There are other measures that can be put in place to enhance parliamentary democracy versus the suggested proposals in Chong's private member's bill.

http://looniepolitics.com/taming-pm/

Brian66, and Justin Ling, and Michael Chong as well as others in this thread - I think that you are naive.

As Trudeau Snr notes, it's about "power".

http://www.cbc.ca/archives/categories/arts-entertainment/media/barbara-frum-pioneering-broadcaster/frum-questions-trudeau-on-his-criticism-of-the-meech-lake-accord.html

----

As Trudeau Snr makes plain, our best guarantee (as individuals) against State power is a written code, and a federal system. Even Mark Steyn agrees with the Magna Carta and the US Federal Consitituion and its Bill of Rights.

As to my opinion? As a conservative, I prefer evolution. What is written deserves interpretation. I strongly favour a federal system with sovereign member states.

Edited by August1991
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Conservative MP Michael Chong has introduced legislation to make party leaders more accountable to their caucuses. This bill is seen to be taking away the power from the inner elite and shift in favour of MPs and their riding associations.

the "Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Parliament of Canada Act (reforms)" would:

  • Give MPs the power to trigger a leadership review
  • Give MPs the power to oust a leader if 50 per cent plus one of the caucus desires
  • Allow MPs to select committee chairs and give them decision-making powers with regard to who to retain or to boot out of caucus
  • Take away a leaders' power to sign-off on election candidates

Most seem to be in support of this bill, but some argue that the power may go to a small gang of MPs. And some argue that the bill will not make a difference as the MPs already have the power to push their leader aside. As they did when Joe Clark was turfed and a handful of other party leaders have seen party members turn on them.

The big question here will be if Harper would survive if the bill goes through. We will not find out until Spring rolls around.

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Chong insists that he fully supports Harper, so I can't see him getting turfed after this passes.

Here's what I do see happening. The bill passes through the House, but gets held up in the Senate and an election will be called before it receives royal assent. And the bill dies.

Harper campaigns on a promise for democratic reform, due to the manufactured scandals in the senate with the coup de grace of killing this reform bill by their slow processing of it (organized by the PMO of course).

In other words, promise to put out fires you've started to win the election.

Edited by cybercoma
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The law wouldn't come into effect until after the 2015 election.

/private-member-s-bill-will-restore-canadians-faith-in-their-parliament

Chong was so overwhelmed by the interest in his bill generated by media reports last week that he tabled it two days earlier than he had planned.

The ideas contained in this bill are not new ideas, Chong said. They are very, very old ideas. They are the ideas that Canadas democratic institutions are founded upon.

Chong said that over many, many decades, individual MPs have lost their autonomy and power has been concentrated within the Prime Ministers Office, which has imposed a presidential-style system of government over top of our Westminster Parliamentary system.

I think that needs to be rebalanced, and thats exactly what the Reform Act proposes to do.

Edited by jacee
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Not exactly a dizzying wave of change. This may be heady stuff to some of the stuffier pedants and sycophants but I'm afraid it doesn't do a thing for me.

They are very, very old ideas. They are the ideas that Canadas democratic institutions are founded upon. Chong said that over many, many decades, individual MPs have lost their autonomy and power has been concentrated within the Prime Ministers Office.

So we go backwards - that's the path to change?

I just don't get it.

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I agree with cybercoma. This bill will probably pass because who would want to be seen to try to stifle democracy. The Conservatives will be glad to have something to debate and try to switch the dial away from the Senate fiasco. The NDP and Liberals want to be seen as protectors of democracy. All the parties want to be seen as allowing the individual elected member the freedom to represent his/her constituency without a headlock and muzzle from the party leaders/ insiders. After the bill is passed then the leaders/insiders of all parties will manipulate the process so that it never becomes law.

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My point is that the law won't come into effect period.

It will die when the election is called.

Harper will try to kill it if he thinks he'll run and win again ... but there just might be a public groundswell of support for the bill that Harper doesn't have the credibility to squelch.
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Not exactly a dizzying wave of change. This may be heady stuff to some of the stuffier pedants and sycophants but I'm afraid it doesn't do a thing for me.

So we go backwards - that's the path to change?

I just don't get it.

The system was founded with checks and balances to ensure that governments remained accountable to citizens through their MP's.

However, the independence of MP's has gradually been subverted and all power centred in the PMO.

- The PM can now veto any riding nomination. With the threat that he won't sign their nomination papers for the next election, MP's are now under the full control of the PM and not as accountable to their constituents. Witness the lock-step party-line voting by Conservative MP's, Harper's full control of their statements and questions in the House, etc.

The centralization of power in the PMO is a perversion of a delicate balance, and balance needs to be returned to the system, as it was designed to be.

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Harper will try to kill it if he thinks he'll run and win again ... but there just might be a public groundswell of support for the bill that Harper doesn't have the credibility to squelch.

The public won't pay attention to it after it passes the house. It'll disappear from the media and be dragged out in the Senate until the election is called. Then it will silently without anybody noticing be wiped out of existence. Edited by cybercoma
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The system was founded with checks and balances to ensure that governments remained accountable to citizens through their MP's.

However, the independence of MP's has gradually been subverted and all power centred in the PMO.

- The PM can now veto any riding nomination. With the threat that he won't sign their nomination papers for the next election, MP's are now under the full control of the PM and not as accountable to their constituents. Witness the lock-step party-line voting by Conservative MP's, Harper's full control of their statements and questions in the House, etc.

The centralization of power in the PMO is a perversion of a delicate balance, and balance needs to be returned to the system, as it was designed to be.

I hear what you're saying jacee but I live in doubt. Been burned one time to many I'm afraid.

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This bill is a good idea, but I fear CC is correct and it will likely be scheduled to die in the senate.

I like Michael Chong and have talked with him a few times. I admire the fact that he gave up a cabinet position so he could oppose Harper on the whole recognizing Québécois as a nation BS back in 2006.

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How such a wonderful old system got so far off the rails in the first place.

-harper-entrenches-trudeaus-legacy

Prior to the Trudeau era, the PMO and PCO were small. That was deliberate. Gordon Robertson, the legendary clerk of the Privy Council, warned that growth at the centre would make it difficult for ministries, under the leadership of powerful deputy ministers, to develop and implement innovative policies.

Trudeau thought he knew better.

"Trudeau was not a student of politics and government. He never understood Parliament, truly," Savoie says.

Trudeau took authority away from the deputy ministers and brought it into the centre. In theory, this meant cabinet's power would grow. In practice, "it bypassed cabinet and went straight into the prime minister's office.

"Every opposition leader since then has complained that power is too centralized.

Every prime minister since then has centralized it even further.

Nice to see MP's trying to take some of that power back.

Edited by jacee
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Aren't these ideas more of internal party policies, rather than government policies? Parties should be able to set their own criteria on when to be able to oust a leader, call a leadership review, how to select party candidates, etc. After all, a significant difference between parties in some cases is how they do these types of things (i.e. some of the ideas of the reform party). In many cases, there is already too little difference between parties on substantive issues, and implementing new laws that force all parties to follow the same internal criteria and procedures would only make all parties even more similar, reducing the extent to which voters have any meaningful choices.

Now, if the goal is to make MPs more independent and to give them some meaningful power... I think the very first thing that should be looked at is the idea of "whipped" votes. Party members should in all cases be free to vote according to their own principles / the will of their constituents, rather than being told how to vote by their party leaders.

Edited by Bonam
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