NDP motion would open up Parliament to Canadians
50,000 signatures would trigger a debate in the House of Commons: Stewart
February 17, 2012
OTTAWA – New Democrats Kennedy Stewart (Burnaby–Douglas) and Deputy Critic for Democratic Reform Alexandrine Latendresse (Louis-Saint-Laurent) are applauding today’s debate on their motion to allow Canadians to directly influence the topics of discussion in Parliament.
The motion would allow an e-petition submission process where certified petitions garnering 50,000 or more signatures would trigger an hour of Parliamentary debate.
“Democratic decline, as can be readily seen in collapsing voter turnout rates and diminishing levels of social capital, is a distributing trend governments need to address,” explains Stewart. “A modern petitions process would be able to harness the robust dialogue happening on important issues, bringing it past the doors of Parliament and directly into the House of Commons chamber.
“We’ve seen a similar process be implemented in the United Kingdom, and we believe the system this motion outlines takes the best from provincial, national, and international experiences,” says Kennedy.
“I am very enthusiastic that Canadians, and particularly young Canadians, will be able to use the e-petitions process to spark the democratic process of Canada,” says Latendresse. “Parliament belongs to Canadians. E-petitions have been used with great effect in the National Assembly of Quebec, and it is more important than ever that all resources be used so that debates here in Ottawa speak to what’s on the mind of citizens. With this exciting project, people are only a few mouse clicks away from a real influence in Parliament.”