Monday, December 02, 2013

Michael Chong MP has a reform bill

Michael Chong
Michael Chong MP served briefly in the Harper cabinet but (quaint custom!) resigned from it on principle. Later this week he will introduce a private member's bill on parliamentary reform. The text seems to be unavailable (that's what introducing a bill means, I guess), but Andrew Coyne reports that it:
would formalize the convention that the party leader serves only with the confidence of caucus (here defined as the party’s delegation in the Commons; the Senate, being unelected, is properly left to one side). A leadership review vote could be triggered at any time on the receipt of written notice bearing the signatures of at least 15% of the members of caucus. A majority of caucus, voting by secret ballot, would be sufficient to remove the leader, and begin the process of selecting a new one.
There's no indication that Chong had dropped the other and more perhaps important shoe -- by declaring that the process of selecting a new leader would also come from within caucus. But it's a start.

This is entirely unnecessary legislation, in one sense, because MPs have, always will have, and cannot be deprived of the power to support of withdraw support from any government or leader. They simply need to choose to exercise that power.  But if formalizing the process by a parliamentary declaration gave MPs a backbone transplant, so that they would a) pass the act and b) act on it, it would be almost as revolutionary as Coyne thinks.

The bill would also transfer the authority to expel members from caucus from the leader to the caucus as a whole -- an excellent proposal -- and enable riding associations to nominate anyone they want, without interference from the party leader or the caucus.

There's a website set up to support "The Reform Act" and to encourage public participation.
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