Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to rise in this House and table an act to amend the Ministries and Ministers of State Act and the Salaries Act.
Its purpose is to limit the number of ministers and ministers of state to 26. The number 26 was chosen because statutorily there are 20 federal government departments plus six federal agencies whose statutory heads are all ministers.
When this government assumed office in 2006, we had a lean cabinet of 26 members. In the words of the Prime Minister, “Designed for work, not for show; more focus and purpose; less process and cost”.
Besides saving taxpayers an estimated $12 million to $15 million annually, reducing the size of cabinet would address the much larger problem of imbalance between the executive and legislative branches of government.
Making cabinet smaller reduces the mathematical probability that any member will ever be asked to serve. This would force MPs to take their responsibilities as legislators seriously, placing the interests of their constituents above their own career advancement.
Fewer rewards to be distributed means less control over the backbenches and ultimately a more functional Parliament.
Accordingly, I ask all members to support this important democratic reform legislation.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)