Parliamentary Reform to Restore the Independence of Members of Parliament and Responsible Government

June 8, 2019
Ottawa, ON




Parliamentary Reform to Restore the Independence of Members of Parliament and Responsible Government

WHEREAS Canada’s constitutional order is founded upon the consent of the governed through Responsible Government; and

WHEREAS “responsible government” is a system based upon the principle of Parliamentary accountability, which means that: (1) government is accountable to the people and, therefore, derives its legitimacy from the consent of the people; (2) the executive (Prime Minister and Cabinet and their respective departments) are accountable to the people through Parliament; and (3) the courts, as part of government, although independent of government, are, nevertheless, accountable to Parliament; and

WHEREAS Canada’s constitutional order has been gravely undermined by Parliamentary practices that transfer the responsibilities of Members of Parliament, including Ministers, to the political party leaders and the bureaucracy, resulting in the loss of accountable government and influence by the public in the formation of policies and laws; and

WHEREAS the party leaders approve of nominated candidates, despite the views of the local riding association; and

WHEREAS Members of Parliament are denied the right to vote according to their conscience or represent the views of their constituents, but are required to vote according to the direction of their party; and

WHEREAS the use of omnibus bills, which, by their nature, are large and complex pieces of legislation, that undermine and avoid the application of the normal principles and procedures of parliamentary review of legislation by restricting clause-by-clause review in Parliament’s Standing Committees and debate in the House of Commons; and

WHEREAS according to the House of Commons Standing Orders, which govern the operation of the House of Commons, the governing party’s house leader chooses the chairman of each Committee, denying Members of that Committee from participation in the selection process; and

WHEREAS 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 provided by party house whips on matters chosen by the party; and

WHEREAS Members of Parliament are provided few opportunities to speak in the House of Commons on matters of concern to their constituents, which has severely diminished the public’s right to be heard in Parliament; and

WHEREAS there has been a consistent and continuing centralization of privileges and power in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and Privy Council Office (PCO), which has resulted in the weakening of Parliament’s privileges, oversight of the Executive, and the loss of ministerial responsibility; and

WHEREAS these Parliamentary changes have led to laws being passed without the meaningful consent of the public, and in contravention of the principles of responsible government;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that Parliamentary reform be undertaken immediately to restore the independence of Members of Parliament in order to establish accountable, responsible government.

2019-07-03T18:58:48+00:00June 10th, 2019|Categories: Resolutions|

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