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We asked and you answered! Canadians have no shortage of ideas for how to improve the political system.

"An idea that may have merit is a non-binding secret ballot on second reading. Would take some power from the leaders and the whips."
-Samara Reader

"What about a 50% requirement in each federal riding to get elected; if nobody makes it, there is, as in France I believe, a second round. This would force parties to come together on a platform, would avoid governance by an ideological minority, while not breaking the link between MP and riding. Just a thought." 
-Gilbert Reid

"Punish bad behaviour by ejecting MPs & bar them from entering the HoC for a period of time. Barring would also mean a loss of pay."
- Ken Szijarto

"Significant parliamentary reform can only result from going to the heart of parliament’s problem(s): MPs cannot represent their constituents in the Commons because they are, primarily, responsible to the parties that facilitated their election. The parties are engaged in a “fierce” competition for power and must accept control by their leaders if they are to do battle successfully. At the “Apex of Power” a party prime minister dominates. Canadian democracy, parliament as a “forum of the nation,” and good government all suffer. Only “people power” can check this centralization of power. People power can be organized simply by setting up a network of elected “constituency parliaments” each to deliberate with its MP on how the constituency is to be represented on the major issues facing the country. Eighty-three per cent of Canadians already  want constituency representation to replace party rep. and believe the replacement would improve the quality of government. Respecting their wishes is the democratic and, possibly, the only way to revive parliament. Incremental adjustments in parliament will not be enough."
- Vaughan Lyon

"I'd probably make the chamber circular. Maybe make virtual? Reduce travel."
[email protected]

"What has been floated recently (might even have been Rick Mercer in the recent MacLean’s magazine article) that there should be more cameras in the H of Commons, to include other members ( like the hecklers)."
-Annabelle Twilley Richardson

"Allow e-petitions and promise substantive debate on those e-petitions that reach a certain threshold (the UK has a 50,000 signature threshold that gives a petition 1 hour of debate)."
-Ian Froude

"Relevance and giving parliamentarians the ability to resist the government is the biggest challenge.
1. First, introduce UK-style question time with rotating departmental questions, a weekly PMQs and a system of urgent questions and statements in both houses. This should increase oversight and decrease partisanship. Speakers to have powers like in New Zealand to force the minister to answer - ministers also to appear before both House and Senate to answer questions.
2. Second, create a House (and a Senate) Business Committee of backbenchers to allocate time with a certain amount dedicated to government business and to private members' business. Government ministers and backbenchers would 'bid' for time in open hearings after which time would be allocated subject to a vote of the House/Senate. Increases ability of parliamentarians to act independently.
3. Thirdly, get rid of members/senators statements. They are pointless. Parliament means debate and discussion not lecturing.
4. Fourthly, Encourage assertiveness in backbench MPs by the long slow process of getting rid of the Leader's veto over parliamentary candidates, making members of parliament elect their leaders while simultaneously giving members more power over policy through committees. Hopefully this will make members more able to resist stuff like time allocation.
5. Fifthly, do the same for Senators by appointing Senators entirely through a process like the Lords Appointments Commission to increase their independence and expertise with the aim of appointing senators from parties in the proportion of votes cast at the last election but with a third of the Senate independent.
6. Sixthly, consider electoral reform - probably by a proportional system but range voting is also good. Royal Commission would be best.
7. Seventhly, committees which report on bills should reach out to the public more - committees should set up a facility online for the public to annotate bills that  they're considering before they start hearings on them.
8. Eighthly, make prorogation occur at regular intervals and take it out of the hands of the executive. No one should have the power to stop parliamentary scrutiny at will, but parliament should keep some semblance of a time limit for legislation to put pressure on the government.
The aim of all this is to restrain government's hand and strengthen parliament, all the while making MPs and Senators more able to represent their constituents."
- Leon

"There is a gap between what a voter thinks the responsibility  of an MP is, regarding representation of voters, vs, what an MP views as their responsibility to follow the party line.  The gap needs to be analyzed and  a clearer description to everyone of what the MP's role is, and what the citizens role is.  EG:  IF MP's decide that they are not responsible to vote according to constituents wishes, then this needs to be communicated, alternatively, if MPs believe they are to vote according to constituents wishes, then a system needs to be created where constituents can click or communicate their wishes ( yes or no) on each bill."

"Why not have the parliament meet in chambers across the Country, rather than just in Ottawa?  Very few people actually watch parliament on television, and the media just a terrible job of mangling Question Period, so let's take parliament on the road.  Yes, this would certainly increase costs and travel for some, but MPs are already travelling between Ottawa and their home ridings on a regular basis.  Further, I feel this would do a lot to bring 'Ottawa' closer to Canadians from coast-to-coast to coast.  If no other country has tried this before - let's be the first and forever remove geography as a barrier between Canadians and between Canadians and the political process."
[email protected]_lussier

"I would like to see the following parliamentary reform. The Government's MP salaries and pensions be directly determined by the Auditor General's willingness to issue an "unqualified" annual report on the financial affairs of the nation. By this measure it is to be hoped that the "whip's" dominion over the caucus will be diminished and true accountability would be the outcome."
- Erik Andersen

"I would like to see improvement to how politicians debate. Among what this requires is the shared idea that debate is important because it weeds out bad ideas in favour of better ideas. I'd like to see it explored in more depth how collaborative dialogue can be valued and implemented in the House of Commons and what implications this has on the party system but as well on our democratic vitality as a whole."
-Mark McInnes

"I think your efforts to re-engage Canadians in the political process are terrific. However, I am concerned that some parties may only want to listen to their "chosen few", not the broad base. To overcome this, I think we need to make voting mandatory at all levels of government like Australia. It's the only measure that will ensure broad response."
- Drew Davison

"Create an online school for MPs based on the Samara exit interviews and reports. Many topics for reform of our system could be introduced. A wide range of teachers could be utilized. The course should be accredited by a recognized body. I just finished an MPA online through the University of Victoria. Many universities are heading in this direction."
- Bruce Dayman

"Idea number one - ban written speeches, except for the budget. This includes for QP."
- @journo_dale

"Adopt a 'constructive vote of non-confidence' as used in Germany - this requires an explicit vote of non-confidence rather than treating a particular bill as an issue of confidence.  Explicit motions allow the opposition (and even members of the government) to vote down a bill without necessarily bringing
down the government.  It forces the government to actually deal with the merits of a bill and not play a game of brinksmanship."
-Antony Hodgson

"I want to see technology as the way out of this mess. I want to see the internet giving unprecedented access to our representatives and vice versa. I want to see an app that shows where the politician stands, how they vote, what they've introduced and work on, where their interests lie, and maybe
most of all, the ability for people to better interact with their system.
    "I imagine an app that lets people debate on the issues of the day, letting politicians go into and see the public opinion, and see the breadth of opinions (both informed and not) and be able to better gauge their own stance, better synthesize their own platforms. It's communication we need, about what the issues are, about the common goal of "good government", about where we're going wrong and what we
could be doing right, and I think the internet can give us that."
- Mark McInnes

    "In Redesigning Parliament, I would like to take away the stigma of coalition governance. I do not mean the actual merger of parties as most Canadians think of when it comes to coalitions. Coalitions should be an informal component of the Government and of Parliament, especially with Canada's multi-party system. Many parliamentary systems throughout the world function on coalitions and Canada itself was founded by a "Great Coalition". It could be argued under the current FTPT electoral system that coalitions are difficult to form. Nevertheless, there is currently a coalition government between the Conservatives and Liberal  Democrats in the UK that has formed under the same FTPT and Westminster parliamentary systems that Canada forms its institutions around.
     "Coalition governance provides the "stability" of a parliamentary majority while better representing Canada's diverse political perspectives through multiple parties. A government that needs to cooperate and listen to a variety of policies and opinions within itself is more open to inter-party dialogue and political cooperation than a single-party government, isolated from voices that differ.
A decrease in inter-party interaction in Parliament over the past two decades appears related to the increase in partisan volatility that pushes away Canadian voters. Coalitions do not just have to be formed around government. Under majority governments, coalitions could be formed among opposition parties to form  a stronger opposition voice. In Canadian politics today there is hyper-partisanship and alienation between members of all parties, even within the opposition.
    "In short, Parliament and Canadian democracy could benefit by ending the stigma behind parties "working together". Coalitions are designed as a part of parliaments throughout the world and were once a part of Canadian democracy. Canadians see their own politics as bickering between politicians when they would rather have constructive dialogue. By bringing back coalitions, parties and  work together rather than against each other which just might reinvigorate interest among Canadian voters."
-Clement Nocos

"Bills should be constrained in topic and scope. Parliament cannot effectively make a decision on a large collection of disparate issues. Especially when a limited time frame is imposed. We should seek to organise the House so it can fulfill its purpose: A forum for constructive discourse that thoroughly examines matters of the state and enables our leaders to make sound decisions on behalf of us all."
-Jason Skomorowski

"Question period is embarrassing. There is no real debate, and the heckling and childish behaviour is just silly. They might calm down if Question Period was not televised, and if the Speaker could impose financial penalties (on either the Member or the Party) for unparliamentary behaviour."
 - Jennifer Cameron

"We are overdue to have the views of all significant groups (5% threshold) in each province represented in parliament. MMP has been the chosen method of proportional representation proposed to electors in various provinces but I suggest that an open list system is better suited to Canada. Under such a system,
 no Province would be “represented” by only one party and the views of single minded and ruthless PM’s would not prevail without discussion. Detailed analysis shows a much better balance of represented views.
    "If such a change was coupled with the system used in Finland where elections precipitated before the end of the four year mandate only result in a mandate for the balance of the original term, we would have a better shot at eliminating opportunistic engineering of elections and have more productive government."
-Geoff Kemp

"Cap Parliament at 308 seats and redistribute the ridings accordingly. Adding more seats is an expensive, wasteful boondoggle!"
-Drew Davison

"I would place "preventing corruption" as a priority for making Parliament a place that I would respect more. I would change how we elect MPs to some form of proportional representation to create stronger Parliamentary checks & balances. I would also change election funding rules to discourage the
influence of big private donors by increasing the public funding portion. I believe that a more publicly-funded, multi-party Parliament would provide the best pre-conditions for a more honest & democratic system."
-Ray Lorenz

"1. Most Bills should be free votes, declared not to be "Confidence" votes. Only the Budget needs to be "Confidence"
  2. House should not sit on Fridays."
- Paul Forseth MP 93-06 

"Have caucus (or even the whole parliament) elect the Prime Minister - this would restore real power to MPs and counter the 'centralized dictatorship' model that has evolved over the past few decades."
-Antony Hodgson

"Create greater transparency in Parliament and Committees. Adopt strict rules for how and when the House can be prorogued and require a unanimous vote for parliamentary committees to go in camera."
-Steven Lee

"Would members be better connected to the citizens they represent, rather than their party, if they spent more time in thier constituencies?  I suggest that rather than spend three weeks in Ottawa and one week at home throughout the legislative calendar, they spend three weeks at home and one week in Ottawa. 
Reverse the priority.  with that calendar they could also work year round. More intense debates like the budget could allow for more weeks in Ottawa.  My hope would be that less time in Ottawa would create a less partisan atmosphere. And more of a focus on citizens within their district of all political stripes."
-Taylor Gunn

"Parliament's basic problem is that it does not represent the people of Canada as they choose. Many people have given up on voting, and of those who vote, about half elect nobody. Consequently Parliament is dominated by an undeserving  majority representing only a minority of Canadians, and  power is excessivelyconcentrated in the leader of the phony majority.Democratize the voting system -- equal effective votes and proportional representation -- and the House of Commons will become the locus of  national debate and political brokerage that it ought to be."
- John Deverell, Pickering ON

"The Citizens Assembly Foundation has a proposal to redesign any democratically elected government.  www.citizensassembly.org to find out more information and view a demonstration about how the redesign would work in practice.  Also happy to provide a copy of the book, Jefferson's Spark, which outlines the need and process for creating Citizens Assemblies."
-Geoff Campbell

"Revisit Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples' recommendation regarding a "House of First Peoples".  The Commission suggested this as a third chamber, but might be better to replace Senate of have combined/hybrid upper chamber (i.e. ensuring legislation respects not only provincial rights and interests but also rights and interests enshrined in treaties with First Peoples, whether historic or modern)."
-James Stauch

" 1. Abolish party whips. Members should be able to vote in a way that represents their constituents, not their parties.
2. "In camera" or behind closed doors meetings should only be permitted in extreme circumstances such as sensitive issues related to national defense.
3. The Speaker should use his or her authority to keep Members' statements and Question Period from becoming overly political and to keep MPs from using personal attacks.
4. Espresso in the Senate and the House of Commons. Dutch politicians drink coffee while they debate, and they always seem much more civilized."
-Casey van Wensem

"Abolish the Senate!"
-Vince Cifani

"Have non-binding votes on policy proposals early in the legislative process.  Use secret preferential ballots so that MPs can express themselves honestly without being subject to party discipline.  The final vote could be a standard Yes/No non-secret vote.  This would help restore real powers of oversight and
 influence to our MPs."
-Antony Hodgson

"1. Free MP votes. ZERO control of MP votes by Party Leaders. Disassociate the need for the party to certify membership of election candidates from the exercise of party (leader) absolute control over the MP.
2. MPs free to criticize any party policies without censure.
3. Create capability for constituents to recall their MP by a specified % of constituency voters in the last election.
4. Create capability for voters to petition Parliament to change policies (such as muzzling of gov't employees. A threshold level of petition numbers should compel the petition matter be placed first on the order paper.
5. Speaker to suspend any MP who lies about another MP or party inside or outside the House."
-Brian Boyd

"Honestly? I think Guy Fawkes had the right idea! Sometimes you have to burn the village to the ground to save it. Until that time, my xbox is wayyy more interesting"
- Troy

"Condensed, more productive sessions in the House plus more electronic voting on non-confidence matters to allow MPs more time in their ridings and with their families. We might see more women in Parliament!"
- Desiree

"I am a semi-retired physician. I had seven years of university study and two years hospital training after grade thirteen in order to have the right to practice medicine. I have long felt that anyone who is serious about becoming an MP or MPP should have to pass a comprehensive course (two year night school?)
which would include basic economics, parliamentary rules and procedures, international relations, ethics,etc. If you aspire to be on the board of directors of a multibillion dollar business (the government) you should be willing to spend the time and effort to learn how to do it properly! Secondly, they should be required to sign a contract, if elected, which requires them to serve the full term of their mandate, unless unable due to medical problems. If they leave early, they would have to pay the full cost of the by-election to replace them!"
- Dr. G T Riley

"Redesigning the voting system would be the best way to redesign parliament.  Getting rid of the out dated First Past the Post method of voting and moving towards something like proportional representation which may actually see MPs able to reflect what the electorate wants."
- Kelly Jamieson