Ottawa, Ontario June 10, 2019
The Crippling of Parliament
At REAL Women of Canada’s Annual General Meeting held in Toronto on Saturday, June 8, 2019, the organization took notice of the current situation in Parliament, which is no longer a forum for public debate, but instead, has become a forum for the political party leaders to promote their agenda.
These practices have effectively left the public out of the loop by denying its role in parliamentary debate and the enactment of legislation.
These flawed practices, now carried out in Parliament, include the following:
- Party leaders’ must approve of candidates nominated to represent the party in an election, despite the views of the constituency.
- The use of omnibus bills undermines and avoids the application of normal principles and procedures of parliamentary reviews by restricting clause-by-clause reviews by parliamentary committees.
- The House of Commons Standing Orders provides that the governing party’s House Leader chooses the Chairman of each committee, denying members of that committee from participation in the selection process.
- The Speaker of the House of Commons, who formerly had the responsibility during Question Period of recognizing Members of Parliament to speak on topics of their choosing, is now required to accept a list of speakers by the House whips to raise matters chosen by the party.
- Members of Parliament are provided few opportunities to speak in the House of Commons on matters of concern to their constituents and their own conscience. This has severely diminished the public’s right to be heard in Parliament.
- A consistent and continuing centralization of privileges and power in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Privy Council Office (PCO) has weakened parliamentary privileges, oversight of the executive, and Ministerial responsibility.
These practices by Parliament have led to laws being passed without the meaningful consent of the public, in contravention of the principles of responsible government.
It is crucial, therefore, that parliamentary reform be undertaken to restore the independence and integrity of Members of Parliament, together with the meaningful impact of the public, in the formation of laws.
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For further information contact:
Gwendolyn Landolt Diane Watts
National Vice-President Researcher
REAL Women of Canada REAL Women of Canada
(905) 787-0348 (613) 236-4001
(905) 731-5425 Email: email@example.com