The Reform Act

The Reform Act


The Reform Act stands to change the way that MPs relate to their party leaders and to Parliament. For background on the Act, see Mr. Chong's website

Did you know that the bill was partly based on Samara's research? You can read about Samara's cameo in the first hour of debate and check out our Globe and Mail op-ed about it. You can also look at the three Samara reports that helped shape the legislation: The Real OutsidersLost in Translation or Just Lost? and Who's the Boss: Canadians' Views on their Democracy.

Today's news and commentary

With the days dwindling before summer adjournment, there's suspicion in the air that the Senate is on track to quietly kill the Reform Act. The Globe and Mail editorial team slammed that course and Andrew Coyne at the National Post had a damning account of the process as well: "What Chong’s bill represented, more than anything, was hope: hope that one day MPs might escape the whip, hope that parliamentary reform, even if it is not possible now, might be in time. And for those in power, hope is a dangerous thing to allow. The whole system depends on MPs being kept in a state of hopelessness, unable even to imagine a better life. What is the point of making trouble, if the effort is futile?"

As the Reform Act proceeds through the Senate's legislative process, it's worth revisiting James Rajotte's great speech in favour of the bill at second reading in the House.

The Wellington Advertiser reports that Michael Chong’s Reform Act has passed third reading in the House of Commons but that there’s still a big hurdle to cross with the Senate.

The Chronicle Herald editorial team says that the positive changes that could flow from the Reform Act will persist despite amendments, but will be more evolutionary than revolutionary: “under the proposed bill, each party’s caucus would hold its own vote. That means if MPs of one party consistently voted not to empower themselves while those of the other parties were more assertive, the former group would doubtless risk being derided as gutless by their elected parliamentary opponents.”

Chong himself says that the bill never would have gotten to where it has without the engagement of citizens in the legislative process. 

Dale Smith meanwhile has a critical account of how the ‘gong show’ of the Manitoba leadership battle gives a preview of what the Reform Act might mean in Ottawa. 

Samara co-founder Michael MacMillan in the Globe and Mail on the need to pass the Reform Act before the election clock ticks to zero.

You can watch or read Michael Chong's testimony before the House committee here by clicking on the highlighted dates on the calendar and then selecting the icons under 'meeting 54.'

The highlights from our Twitter chat with Michael Chong are right here. And here's a guest blog on our page by Brodie Conley about the Reform Act in the wider context of democratic reform in Canada.

To watch the second hour of debate on the Reform Act, hit up this link to the whole thing on YouTube.

Events and involvement

You can get involved in the campaign to support the bill by checking out the Friends of the Reform Act.

If you like the Reform Act, write a Senator to keep the wheels turning as it moves through the process.

Older resources

Stephen Harper's endorsement of the Reform Act meant that it had little trouble passing second reading.

Andrew Cohen describes how Michael Chong is one of Canada's few political disrupters. Globe and Mail offers an endorsement of the changes. For an update on the amendments, you can also check out his own press release or this account in Maclean's.

Chris Selley of the National Post and Aaron Wherry of Maclean's both have reactions to Michael Chong's proposed amendments.

Michael Den Tandt at the Ottawa Citizen on why the Reform Act isn't going away.

Aaron Wherry's helpful account of the story of the Reform Act and some notes that came out the first hour of debate. Maclean's also published 10 things you should know about the Reform Act, available here.

Dale Smith on how the Reform Act is a step in the right direction but no panacea and Adam Goldenberg on how the real issue is MP resources.

(top photo cred: Chris Wattie/Reuters)