The cornerstone principles of our system of government are that Members of Parliament represent their constituents, not their political party; that all MPs are equal, with the Prime Minister first among equals; that the Prime Minister reports to Parliament, not the other way around; and that Parliament controls the public purse. People are also disillusioned with MPs’ allegiance to parties instead of constituents, government inefficiency and wasteful spending, and the failure of government to address critical issues like the climate crisis. On top of this, we have an outdated voting system where the popular vote is not translated into seats, leaving many voters unrepresented. Many citizens, especially youth, are so frustrated that they don’t even bother to vote.
- Legislate the end of first-past-the-post voting; establish immediately an all-party Democratic Voting Commission to review past research and conduct a public consultation on the style of proportional representation best suited to Canada. We will instruct it to make recommendations to Parliament for the necessary democratic voting reform, including draft legislation, within 12 months;
- The Commission will also engage Canadians from coast to coast in a public inquiry into the interwoven and anti-democratic trends within Canada:
1. The growing and unhealthy power of the Prime Minister’s Office;
2. The lack of scope for independent action of individual MPs;
3. The use of prorogation to avoid political embarrassment, in violation of Parliamentary practice and tradition;
4. The abuse by the Senate of its role of ‘sober, second thought’ in voting down bills approved by the House, as in the case in November of 2010 in their defeat without debate of Bill C-311 (the Climate Change Accountability Act);
5. The recommendations of the Commission will be presented as options to Canadian voters.
- Adhere to fixed election dates permitting political stability and fair elections;
- Reduce the mandatory $1,000 candidate deposit to encourage more Canadians to participate in the democratic system;
- Eliminate any system that allows top-down control within parties of the nomination process for candidates;
- Slash the PMO budget by 50%.
- Amend the Accountability Act to ensure that all those who monitor government are selected at arm’s length from those they monitor, to eliminate the blanket exemptions on public release of government documents, and to guarantee transparency and openness for all government activities;
- Update the Access to Information Act to permit greater transparency of government activities;
- Restore Parliamentary Committees as a vehicle for non-partisan, constructive improvement of legislation and require that the improved version of such legislation be the version put to parliament for vote;
- Enact effective whistle-blower protection for public and private sector employees;
- Institute a Code of Conduct and an independent complaints process to ensure that public funds are not used for pre-election partisan purposes;
- Institute mandatory training in ethics for MPs and their staff, requiring all MPs and staff to take in-house training on the basics of good management and ethics in Parliament;
- Reform the appointments system to discourage patronage by establishing an independent agency for ensuring that appointments to government tribunals, boards, and senior positions are done through a qualification-based process and are not politically motivated patronage appointments;
- Strengthen the mandates of Independent Officers of Parliament, including the Auditor General and the Information Commissioner;
- Implement stand-alone legislation to create an independent Commissioner on the Environment and Sustainable Development, removing the office from that of subservience to the Auditor General;
- Replace the current Ethics Commissioner, who reports privately to the Prime Minister, with an independent Ethics Commission reporting to Parliament and appointed through a merit-based process with strong powers to investigate government officials and lobbyists;
- Provide Parliamentarians with independent regulatory audits through the Auditor General’s office on the effectiveness of government regulations in meeting their stated public purposes;
- Make service improvements a higher priority for all agencies and departments, with systematic citizen feedback and a schedule for periodic program review;
- Require the independence of public sector employees who oversee industry (such as those responsible for such areas as fisheries, science, and drug licensing) from those industries;
- Require long-term public departmental service plans to report on government program purposes, costs, reforms, and performance.
- Pass legislation granting the internet in Canada the status of Common Carrier – prohibiting Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from discriminating due to content while freeing them from liability for content transmitted through their systems;
- Support Canada’s Advanced Research and Innovation Network (CANARIE);
- Increase infrastructure spending to accommodate increased bandwidth use and to improve access to rural and remote Canadians (see Section 1.14 Infrastructure and Communities);
- Review the economic model of how ISPs bill their customers; Improve support for small ISPs to improve competition and diversity choice for consumers;
- Sponsor and support legislation that restricts foreign ownership in Canada in strategic sectors so that Canadians remain in control of the destiny of Canada, reap the benefits from the exploitation of Canadian resources, and retain the right to determine their use and rate of exploitation;
- Key strategic resources (e.g. energy, communications, transportation, water) should be controlled by Canadian-owned or publicly owned corporations.
- Call for an Independent Commission to undertake a comprehensive study of the concentration of media ownership in Canada in comparison to other western countries and recommend how to diversify media ownership and strengthen the depth and breadth of news reporting, especially local news, in Canada.
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