Paul Martin and Parliamentary Reform – Topic 4: House of Commons
Six point plan:
o Loosen the hold of party discipline over Members of parliament so
that they can more freely and frequently employ their own judgement
on individual legislative matters
o Substantially boosy the capacity of individual Members of parliament
from all sides of the House to shape legislation before it gains the
imprimatur of legislative approval.
o Increase capacity of individual MP to initiate legislation by
overhauling the sytem for introducting private members’ bills.
o House of Commons standing committees should be overhauled to
privde increased independence and expanded authority
o Reform the process surrounding government appointments
o Creation of an independent Ethics Commissioner to report to
Martin established “three line vote” to establish a hierarchy of votes in
respect to the confidence convention of responsible government.
o Support of all government MP’s is expected
o Only key government legislative initiative or policy positions
Two line vote
o Vote on government legislation or motion that will not be deemed a
Relaxed party discipline is KEY.
o Without it, referral of bills to house committees after first reading will
have little substantial effect. The two line vote has to become the
Parliamentary reform is seen as a way to swing the pendulum in favour of
Parliament, away from the PM and his cabinet, and towards the voice of the
majority of Canadian citizens.
o As long as Partisans have control over the appointment process, the
demand for reform will continue.
Solution to partisan-patronage appointments – remove the
power to select nominees from the PM and government.
Democratic defecit is the gap between what Canadians expect of their
government and what they perceive as reality.
People don’t vote because they don’t think their vote matters. The authorirty
of the individual MP has been allowed to erode while the power of the
executive has grown steadily. Power has become too centralized. It’s too
concentrated in the hands of a few and too remote from the influence of
His reforms are already established features in one or more other westner
systems, and there is no compelling evidence that their use in those systems
has impeded the decline in citizen confidence in representative institutions.