February 23, 2013
Maxwell Cameron argues that over time "the tail has come to wag the dog" in Canadian Parliament. To restore the supremacy of Parliament we need to take back decision-making powers from the Prime Minister's Office and put them into the hands of MPs.
February 22, 2013
Professional thinker Brian Lee Crowley takes a different tack on redesigning parliament. Forget focusing on creating new procedures, he says, let's strengthen the best ones we've got, and get rid of the worst.
February 21, 2013
Calling elections, proroguing Parliament, limiting questions - Award-winning author Mark D. Jarvis says governing parties hold far too much power, and that a few changes to our Parliamentary rules could reign that in to our benefit.
February 21, 2013
Professor and author Kelly Blidook suggests small changes we can make to party policies and the Elections Act that would shift the balance of power from total party control towards the individual MPs.
February 07, 2013
Scotland allows e-petitions, Australia opened a novel "second chamber" and many European countries are creating specialized Question Periods focused on specific Ministers. Kevin Deveaux, International Parliamentary Advisor, shares some of the best ideas he's seen in Parliaments around the world. Canada - take note.
More Great Ideas on Procedural Changes Thoughts on Redesigning Parliament
by Brian Boyd Stop the Assembly Line
by Michel Kelly-Gagnon Provinces and Territories need a voice
by Remy Sansanwal
Responses from Samarans
"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
"Idea number one - ban written speeches, except for the budget. This includes for QP."
"There should be more cameras in the H of Commons, to include other members (like the hecklers)."
-Annabelle Twilley Richardson
"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.
"Get rid of members/senators statements. They are pointless. Parliament means debate and discussion not lecturing.
"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." -Leon
"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
"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
"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...In short, Parliament and Canadian democracy could benefit by ending the stigma behind parties "working together"...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."- 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
"If (a Mixed Member Proportional Representation electoral system) 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
"...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