Reform Act, 2013

An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Parliament of Canada Act (reforms)

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2015.


Michael Chong  Conservative

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)


Outside the Order of Precedence (a private member's bill that hasn't yet won the draw that determines which private member's bills can be debated), as of Dec. 3, 2013
(This bill did not become law.)


This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Canada Elections Act to provide that
(a) nomination contests are to be held by a party’s electoral district association;
(b) proof of the party’s endorsement of a prospective candidate is to be provided by the nomination officer of the party’s electoral district association;
(c) a nomination officer is appointed by a majority vote of the electoral district association; and
(d) an application for registration of a political party must include an extract of the party by-laws that sets out the process for leadership review.
It also amends the Parliament of Canada Act to provide for the expulsion and readmission of a caucus member and for the election and removal of a caucus chair.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, an excellent resource from the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Reform Act, 2014Private Members' Business

February 18th, 2015 / 5:50 p.m.
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Oak Ridges—Markham Ontario


Paul Calandra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in the debate today on Bill C-586, Reform Act, 2014.

I, too, would like to echo the comments of previous speakers by acknowledging the member for Wellington—Halton Hills for the hard work, dedication and spirit of collaboration he has brought to this process on the bill. The spirit of collaboration is a major reason why we have reached this point today.

There have been a number of changes to the bill from its first iteration, Bill C-559, as amended, and is much different than the original version that was introduced.

I believe the changes that were made are extremely important because they recognize that parties must have the freedom to organize themselves as they see fit. What works well for one party may not work well for another. A one-size-fits-all approach does not work, which is why I fully support the bill as amended by the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs.

With my time, I will focus on some international examples that are relevant to the content of the reform act, 2014.

It is clear that in developing this legislation the member for Wellington—Halton Hills looked at current practices in Canada and examples in other countries with a Westminster form of government.

On the review of party leadership issue, the hon. member referenced the existence of rules in other countries to empower caucuses. If we examine the international examples, it is quite remarkable to note the number of different rules that exist in different countries and among different parties. In fact, there are about as many different approaches to issues such as leadership review as there are political parties.

For example, in the United Kingdom, all of the major parties have different rules for leadership removal. For the United Kingdom Conservative Party, a vote by 15% of Tory MPs can trigger a leadership review and a leader can be dismissed upon a majority of those voting by secret ballot.

For the Labour Party, a leadership contest can be triggered if a challenger collects nominations from 20% of Labour MPs. The party leader is replaced if the challenger receives a majority of votes using an alternative vote system in an electoral college consisting of Labour MPs, members of the European Parliament, party members and members of affiliate organizations.

The Liberal Democrats take yet a different approach. A leadership contest can be triggered by a majority vote of Liberal Democratic MPs or if 75 local party organizations write to the party president calling for a leadership contest.

Political parties in Australia and New Zealand also have rules that set out thresholds for the review of party leaders. However, as is the case with the United Kingdom, the rules are different from party to party.

The rules of the Australian Labour Party, for example, require the support of 75% of caucus members to initiate a leadership review of a governing leader or 60% to initiate a review of a leader in opposition. These thresholds were increased in 2013 from the previous threshold of 30% because the party believed the threshold was too low and contributed to leadership instability.

To give an example from New Zealand, the rules of the New Zealand Labour Party provide that a leadership election is triggered upon a vote of 50% plus one of caucus members. The party also has an automatic leadership review by caucus after three months of a general election, where the votes of 60% of caucus members are required to endorse the leader.

The experiences in Australia and New Zealand, like the U.K., show that a one-size-fits-all solution does not work. It is important that parties have the flexibility to determine the rules that govern them.

Bill C-586, as amended by the Procedure and House Affairs Standing Committee, respects that important principle.

Mr. Speaker, I believe there are important lessons that can be taken from the international examples. First, there is the simple fact that while rules do exist in other Westminster systems, they differ quite a lot from party to party. The example of all parties in the U.K. shows us just how varied approaches can be to the same issue in the same country.

In some cases, the votes on leadership reviews are taken only amongst MPs, while in other cases parties involve the wider party membership in these decisions. There are also considerable differences in how those votes are conducted.

It is also important to note that the rules that govern the parties have changed over time and I suspect they will continue to evolve in the future. This is best exemplified by the dramatic differences in the threshold for party leader review made by the Australian Labour Party in 2013.

It is important that political parties have the freedom to make their decisions about what type of approach they would like to pursue. Bill C-586, as amended, would do this.

I would like to take a moment to turn to our government's strong, democratic reform record. We walk the walk when it comes to empowering members of Parliament to bring forward ideas and issues important to them and to their constituents. For instance, the Globe and Mail analyzed 162,000 votes over almost two years which showed that members on this side of the House were far more likely to vote independently from their party than were opposition MPs. As well, more backbench MPs have passed bills into law through this majority Conservative Parliament than in over 100 years, the time for which such records are available.

The bill of the member for Wellington—Halton Hills has precipitated important discussion and debate on matters that affect us all. I have listened carefully to the views of my colleagues on both sides of the House regarding the changes that have been made to the reform act, 2014. In my opinion, the changes that were made have improved the bill and take into account concerns that have been raised.

For this reason, I urge all my colleagues to support the bill.

October 30th, 2014 / 11:40 a.m.
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Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Good morning, Chair.

Thank you for inviting me here today to talk about Bill C-586, the reform act 2014.

Mr. Chair, I believe this bill would strengthen the foundation on which our democratic institutions in Canada were founded, that foundation being responsible government. The ideas on which this bill are based are not my ideas. They are not new ideas; they are very old ideas, very Canadian ideas. This bill is based on the ideas of people like Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte Lafontaine—a monument to whom is standing behind us here in Centre Block—that establish the principles on which modern Canadian political institutions are based, ideas that have laid the foundation for modern Canada.

Dear colleagues, it has become clear that decades of changes to the House of Commons and the way we elect MPs have weakened the role of MPs in favour of party leadership structures. As a result, there is a growing divide between Canadians who want their MPs to have a bigger say and a House of Commons where power is concentrated in the leadership structure.

The reform act puts forward three simple reforms to strengthen the House of Commons by proposing to restore local control over party nominations, strengthen caucus as a decision-making body, and re-enforce accountability of party leaders to caucus. These three simple reforms will empower MPs and give them the tools that they need to better represent Canadians in Ottawa.

When the original bill, Bill C-559, the reform act 2013, was introduced last December I welcomed suggestions on how to improve the bill. Based on the suggestions received in the months following the bill's introduction, I introduced a second bill, reform act 2014, on April 7. Since April I have consulted extensively with colleagues on both sides of the aisle. As a result, on September 11, I proposed further changes to the reform act 2014 in order to gain sufficient support at second reading. At the time, I called on this committee to adopt these changes if the bill were adopted at second reading. On September 24 the House of Commons adopted this bill and sent it to this committee, which brings us to today.

Mr. Chair, I have prepared for committee members a package that outlines the changes in the form of four amendments and a series of negatived clauses.

I ask that you consider and adopt these amendments and negative certain clauses in order to secure passage of the bill at third reading.

Since the introduction of the reform act, I've received an incredible amount of feedback and support from members of Parliament, academics, stakeholders, and Canadians from across the country.

I ask the committee to support this bill and the proposed changes and to deal with this bill as expeditiously as possible. Time is short and we are up against the hard deadline of the dissolution of Parliament and a general election. I look forward to answering any questions that you may have.

Thank you very much for having me. Merci.

Election of the SpeakerPrivate Members' Business

April 7th, 2014 / 11:10 a.m.
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Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby—Douglas, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak on Motion No. 489 which requests that the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs study the possibility of adapting a first past the post preferential ballot for the election of the Speaker of the House.

I would like to congratulate the member for Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington for this motion, which I am supporting.

I would also like to thank the member for Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine for all his hard work, on this and other issues. He is an outstanding member of Parliament, and I am very proud to call him my colleague.

I am glad to say that I support this motion, and I support it for two reasons. First, the motion itself has considerable merit. Second, it adds to the spirit of reform that is about this place these days. There are a number of discussions, as the previous speaker mentioned, that are being considered in the House and at the procedure and House affairs committee, and this motion adds to that debate in a positive way.

It is an exciting time in the House of Commons. I am a first-term MP, proudly representing Burnaby—Douglas. It has been a great pleasure to be part of the debates about reforming or abolishing the Senate, changing our electoral system to perhaps proportional representation, establishing electronic petitions, changing our committee system in how we choose committee chairs, and giving members more power over their leaders.

It has been a great pleasure to be part of these debates. However, I must say that my excitement does not extend to Bill C-23, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act. It is an abomination by my count, roundly denounced by all election experts and democratic protectors right across the country.

However, I will not dwell on Bill C-23, but will focus more on the positive efforts that are before us today. As mentioned by the previous speaker, Motion No. 489 proposes that the PROC committee study the possibility of adapting a first past the post preferential ballot for the election of the Speaker. This would change us from our current practice of having members vote several times, with each round having members with the least of votes being eliminated, and one member receiving the majority of vote eventually elected.

This motion proposes a preferential balloting system in which members would only have to vote once, except in the event of a tie. They would do so by voting for the candidates of their choice in order of preference. This is a common system that is used around the world, and there are plenty of examples for us to draw upon, whether it is through an electoral system or through a selection of speakers.

This morning I was reading the hon. member's speech from the first hour of debate, and was very interested to note that between 1867 and the 1980s, Speakers were elected by an open show of hands, with the Speaker being chosen by the prime minister of the day. It was only in the mid-1980s that the Speaker was elected by a secret ballot vote by members of Parliament.

When we think about how large a change that was, from the prime minister of a majority government essentially hand-picking a Speaker, until now, where we have lessened the power of the prime minister and broadened it to all members of Parliament electing a Speaker by a secret ballot, that is a much better way to go.

That spirit of what was happening in the mid-1980s, to where we lessened the power of the prime minister and put more power in the hands of regular members, is what is creeping into the discussions we have been having in the House during the weeks and months that we have been debating various motions and bills coming before Parliament. Members are proposing adjustments to our parliamentary procedures in an attempt to improve the process, and in some cases lessen the concentration of power in the hands of a prime minister.

I think there is a range of bills and motions that are being discussed here. Some are more on the housekeeping side, making sure that we tidy up our procedural matters, and some are much more radical in nature. I will get to those in a second.

I noted from the speech by the member for Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington in the first hour that he feels these changes are necessary because the current process takes too long, there is no mechanism currently on the Standing Orders for resolving ties, and he thinks it is important to destroy ballots to preserve the dignity of contestants who do not happen to win the contest.

These are all very good reasons for why we should support this bill. It is a tidying sort of measure, and of course PROC will go through it to make sure that we get the details right. However, from first glance, it does look like a good thing to do. It is something that would tidy our procedures here, save time for the members, make sure that we have written down the procedures for resolving a tie, and make sure that we preserve the dignity of all people who put their names forward to stand for leader.

However, also in his speech, the member mentioned Motion No. 431, the motion that was put forward by the member for Saskatoon—Humboldt. He does not say that he supports the motion outright. Rather, he said that if both motions survive a vote in the House, which Motion No. 431 did, that they would not only draw upon the same pool of experts to discuss the preferential ballot proposals before us today, but also as to how we might select committee chairs. The member suggested that we should study efficiency, which is what is on his mind here, because he suggests that this pool of experts could be used to look at both motions to inform PROC as to whether they should go ahead. It is a good suggestion that we draw upon the expertise that we develop for one motion to look at the other and perhaps save some time.

I would like to make a larger point. The motion before us is not only similar in nature to the member for Saskatoon—Humboldt's efforts to reform how committee chairs are elected, but it is also similar in spirit to my motion, Motion No. 849, with respect to electronic petitions, and perhaps Bill C-559, the reform act, put forward by the member for Wellington—Halton Hills. I look at these as a kind of range in terms of how much they would change the structure of how we do business in the House of Commons.

The motion before us, Motion No. 489, is probably the most modest change that we could make. My idea for electronic petitions, which is currently in front of PROC, would adjust our processes a little more radically. Then, when we move to Motion No. 431, with respect to selecting committee chairs from Parliament, that again changes things a little more radically. Finally, Bill C-559, the reform act, would make the most change. Therefore, I would put my motion, Motion No. 489, more in the category of what the member is suggesting here today, a minor change to modernize our processes and make them more efficient.

One of the questions is on why we do these things. Why do we take the time? I only have one motion or bill that would come forward for a vote in the House, as does the member who is putting this motion forward today, as do the other members I have just mentioned. What we are trying to do is to think of ways to make this place better, how we can improve our processes, and how we can make our democracy better for Canadians. Then we look at what is feasible in the House.

The member for Lanark—Frontenac—Lennox and Addington has hit the nail on the head. He has suggested a change that would be palatable to all members of the House, providing it has proper study. I think it is wise of him to do so. What I tried to do with Motion No. 489 with respect to electronic petitioning is to pick something that would perhaps please many members of the House. Hopefully, PROC will see that through.

As we move to the other motions and bills that I have mentioned, they are more radical. We will require considerable debate on those motions in order for them to pass.

What it shows is that there is a genuine spirit of reform in this place. We are trying to figure out how we can debate these things and come to a consensus, more or less, on what changes are appropriate. I support this motion because the member has correctly calculated that his changes would more than likely be adopted. He would succeed in reforming this place, maybe not quite in the current form that his motion suggests, but after a discussion at PROC there is something that would happen.

Again, I feel positive vibes in this place from various speeches. I am hoping that the member will assist the rest of us who are interested in reform in this place, just as we are assisting him. It is only through this co-operation that we can move the democracy of Canada forward. I think we are all interested in making Canada a more democratic place.

I thank you for the time, Mr. Speaker. It is a pleasure to speak to this motion.

Democratic ReformAdjournment Proceedings

April 2nd, 2014 / 6:35 p.m.
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Bruce Hyer Green Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, the first thing I would like to say is that I wish we did have a majority government, but we do not. With 39% of the popular vote in Canada, the Conservatives cannot be said to have a real majority, as most democracies in the world have.

I believe most MPs value democracy and want to see it improved in Canada. That is one reason the reform act is an exemplary bill. It is a non-partisan initiative to improve the way our democracy works. It is something every member should vote for, regardless of political stripe. It would improve the functioning of our democracy for everyone, voters and MPs alike.

I know most members from every party here would like to vote for this bill. In my opinion, Bill C-559 must pass if we are ever going to find our way back to democracy and responsible government. It would give MPs the power to escape party servitude; to think, speak, and vote for their constituents and their conscience; and to put the best interests of Canada ahead of hyper-partisan party tribalism.

Democratic ReformAdjournment Proceedings

April 2nd, 2014 / 6:35 p.m.
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Richmond Hill Ontario


Costas Menegakis ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I actually do not blame the member for Thunder Bay—Superior North for his dissatisfaction with the way he was treated in his party when he was with the New Democratic Party. Of course, after having promised his constituents, as he so well said, for over four elections on what his position was on the elimination of the inefficient, inaccurate, and way-overdone long gun registry, he was not allowed to vote his conscience or the will of his constituents. He took a principled position to step outside of the party and run as an independent member, because he did not want to be part of a party system. Actually, much to our surprise, he has joined another party now. However, the term is still young in this 41st Parliament; he still has 18 more months, so he may end up somewhere else at some point.

What I will say is that the sponsor of Bill C-559, the hard-working member and my colleague from Wellington—Halton Hills, has presented his bill to the House. It has not been debated yet. It has not gone to committee, and we have not heard of any amendments that may be coming up or what those amendments are. Therefore I would suggest to the hon. member for Thunder Bay—Superior North that his request, the passionate speech he gave about whether people will be able to freely vote on private member's Bill C-559, is somewhat premature at this time.

However, given this opportunity here today, I would like to highlight a couple of points for the hon. member as they relate to the record in this 41st Parliament, which is the first Parliament in which I have the great honour and privilege of serving the great people of my home riding of Richmond Hill. In this 41st Parliament, under the leadership of our Prime Minister and this strong, stable, national majority Conservative government, I am proud to say that backbenchers, members of Parliament, have passed more bills into law than in any other Parliament since 1972, and we are only about 60% into the completion of this term. That is a clear indication of how much we value the input of all members of Parliament.

I should say that, if we looked through the records since this 41st Parliament took office on May 2, 2011, we would find that the Conservative members of Parliament have voted freely a lot more often than any of the other parties. In fact, I believe the New Democratic Party has a 100% rate of whipped voting from its leadership. That is not the case in private members' legislation on the Conservative side.

In closing, I will say this. I am proud to be a member of the Conservative Party of Canada, which allows its members to voice their opinions through constructive debate before rising in this House to express the vote that the good people in their respective ridings have given them the right to cast.

Fair Elections ActGovernment Orders

February 10th, 2014 / 5:55 p.m.
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Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure to be able to speak to Bill C-23 today. I want to pause and say that when we have these rushed processes with closure on debate and an abbreviated time to look at a critical bill, it is rare for me to have a speaking opportunity. Therefore, I want to thank the Liberal Party for giving me a speaking slot today. I do not know if I agree with them in every aspect of their objections to this bill, but I agree with many of them.

When I look at what we need in Canada to fix democracy, I remember a clever little ad put together by Fair Vote Canada. Don Ferguson of Royal Canadian Air Farce, one of my favourite icons of Canadian comedy, starred in it. He wore a white lab coat and started talking about the serious tragedy of electoral dysfunction in Canada, the failure to perform well when it came to elections.

I will not go down the double entendres that went through that Fair Vote Canada ad, but as members can imagine there were many of them. However, it did bring to mind the need for a prescription to fix an unhealthy system. The ad pointed to the issue of getting rid of first past the post, which is fundamental to fair elections in Canada, and having election results which are then mirrored in the composition of our house of commons.

We need reform. We need a fair elections act. We need to deal with the unhealthy level of hyper-partisanship, the non-stop attack ads, and the fact that we have not gotten to the bottom of the robocall scandal of the last election. However, this bill is not it.

A real prescription for a healthy democracy is in our grasp and instead we get this bill that would weaken our electoral system, weaken democracy, and further reduce voter turnout. We had an opportunity to sideline the cynical politics of non-stop attack ads that function as a “deliberate mechanism,” which is the language used by political spin doctors, of voter suppression. The goal of non-stop negative advertising is to reduce voter turnout in the interests of another party.

A lot of things now pass for political prowess, for which anyone who loves democracy should hang their head in shame and be condemned from ever standing for election again. This is not about every party getting out and urging everyone to vote, as we have heard people from across the aisle say all day. Over and over again, we have examples of efforts to do exactly the opposite. I am afraid this bill is in that spirit of reducing voter turnout.

We could have, with this bill, pursued the reforms found in private member's Bill C-559, put forward by the hon. member for Wellington—Halton Hills. That would have led to fairer elections. We could have levelled the playing field for financing so that members of Parliament who come to this place as independents have a fair chance to raise the funds they need to run for re-election. However, we did not.

The ways in which this bill would reduce the potential for a healthy democracy and worsen voter turnout need to be reviewed. Many of my colleagues in this place have given very eloquent, articulate, and full reviews. In particular, I have to give credit and homage to my friend, the hon. member for Toronto—Danforth, whose work on this bill was brilliant.

Let me point out what I would agree with. I may be a minority on this matter, but I do not really think it is a problem to create a commissioner for elections who operates out of the office of public prosecutions. I see that as an independent place. The problem is the government has not given that office any tools. It has not given that officer subpoena powers. What is worse is, for some reason, it has created a “black box” surrounding the work. It would amend the Access to Information Act to remove, from access to information, anything going on in the work of the commissioner for Canada's elections. They would also remove in the Elections Act the requirement to give any information about investigations.

What I also would agree with in this bill is the scheme to deal with the robocalls, to have a way of tracking who buys this kind of automated calling service. That is not bad. I would have voted for that.

However, the bill also includes a big new loophole for the spending of money. It now will not be considered an elections expense to spend money on activities that are considered fundraising for nomination candidates. That is an open door to abuse.

What is the worst part of this bill? This cuts to the core of democracy. This is a charter issue. I turn to a most recent statement by the Supreme Court of Canada on the right of Canadians to vote. It was a decision of October 2012. We are all familiar with it. It is in the name of the current member for Etobicoke Centre, so I will not say the name of the case. However, it was a strong decision written by Mr. Justice Rothstein and Mr. Justice Moldaver.

They had this to say:

The right of every citizen to vote, guaranteed by s. 3 of the Charter, lies at the heart of Canadian democracy.

In this instance, they did not find that those rights had been trampled upon, but that was because a lot of the provisions this bill would remove were in place. Therefore, I think this quote from the Supreme Court is timely and informs us, as my friend, the member for Victoria, recently pointed out, that this bill is probably unconstitutional. The following is what the Supreme Court had to say at the bottom of page 98 of the decision:

Our system strives to treat candidates and voters fairly, both in the conduct of elections and in the resolution of election failures. As we have discussed, the Act seeks to enfranchise all entitled persons,...

A voter can establish Canadian citizenship verbally, by oath.

That cannot happen any more, not with this bill.

The court went on to say:

The goal of accessibility can only be achieved if we are prepared to accept some degree of uncertainty that all who voted were entitled to do so.

The Conservative members of the House and the minister have utterly failed to provide any evidentiary background for the notion that we have a crisis of voter fraud in this country. There is no evidence for the notion that Canadians are covering themselves up through creating false IDs and voting more than once. The crisis in Canadian democracy is not that Canadians are voting more than once, it is that they are voting less than once, and this bill would worsen Canadians' trust in the system and increase cynicism.

As for the treatment of the Chief Electoral Officer, talk about sharper teeth: they are all sharpened in the direction of going after Marc Mayrand. I find this shocking. He is a public servant, he is doing his job, and the job that was being done is now essentially going to be stifled.

When I worked on my last book, which was on the crisis in Canadian democracy ironically, I wanted to try to get to the bottom of why young people were not voting. Where could I find good research that informed that discussion? I found that good research because it was commissioned by Elections Canada. It started to inform political parties what we should do to ensure civic literacy and political understanding from the earliest possible moment.

I think it undermines political responsibility and civic understanding to refer to voters as customers. There is something fundamentally wrong with an Elections Act that talks about customer service when we are talking about voting. It is a right. It is not shopping, and every Canadian must be allowed to vote.

I cannot tell members how heartbreaking it is to hear from people, particularly young people, who have been turned away at the polls because they found that multiple forms of ID did not work. I remember hearing from a young woman in Dawson City when I was holding a town hall there on democracy. She said that she had tried twice. I asked her if she would keep trying and she said she did not know if there was any point, that they did not want her to vote.

I remember the tears in the eyes of an older man in Pictou County who had voted in his polling station during his 75 years until these new changes were brought in by the current administration and he was denied the right to vote because he could not produce a photo ID. He did not have a driver's licence. His sister in law was working at the polling station, but under the rules she was not allowed to vouch for him because she had not gone there for that purpose. Under this new act, we would see more and more Canadians turned away, disenfranchised by the false notion that we have a crisis in voter fraud. That is not our crisis.

We need to do everything possible to restore faith among the Canadian public in the health of our democratic system, and this bill takes us in the absolute wrong direction. Why would a governing party do this? Why is there such a rush to disenfranchise Canadians? Is there an election coming right away that we do not know about? Do we have to have all these new rules in place for first nations, seniors, young people, the poor, and the groups that advocate for those parts of our society that are more disenfranchised by having to produce government-issued photo IDs? Is that the point?

I am baffled and appalled and deeply shocked and troubled by this bill. The things in it that are good could have been so much better, but the things that are bad are unforgivable in a democracy.

Reform Act, 2013Routine Proceedings

December 3rd, 2013 / 10:05 a.m.
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Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-559, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Parliament of Canada Act (reforms).

I have the honour to present my bill. It is a bill that would strengthen the principle on which our democratic institutions in Canada were founded, that being the principle of responsible government. It would strengthen local control over party nominations. It would restore and strengthen the concept of confidence in House of Commons parliamentary party caucuses and would reinforce the caucus as a decision-making body.

The bill is based on some old ideas that people like Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine—a monument to whom is standing behind the Centre Block on Parliament Hill—put forward that established the principles on which modern Canadian political institutions are based. These ideas have laid the foundations for this country. If adopted, I hope this bill will strengthen those ideas and allow our Parliament to flourish in the 21st century.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)