Michael Chong revamps bill aimed at rebalancing power between MPs, party leaders
Conservative MP Michael Chong appears on CTV's Power Play on Monday, April 7, 2014.
Sonja Puzic, CTVNews.ca
Published Monday, April 7, 2014 6:14PM EDT
Conservative MP Michael Chong has amended his private member’s bill aimed at giving more control to party caucuses.
Chong, who represents Ontario’s Wellington-Halton Hills riding, introduced his revamped bill Monday, now called Reform Act 2014.
The previous version of the Reform Act, introduced in December 2013, had proposed a number of changes, including giving party caucus members the power to oust their leaders if enough MPs joined a review vote.
In an effort to get more support for his bill, Chong has amended some of his proposals, based on feedback and suggestions he’s received from MPs and Canadians, he told CTV’s Power Play Monday.
“This is not about any one party leader or any one party. This is about the rules that govern all parties,” he said.
Chong’s Reform Act amendments include:
- Increasing the number of caucus members required to trigger a review vote from 15 to 20 per cent
- Mandating that the names of those requesting a review vote of the party leader be made public
- Requiring that the majority of an entire caucus vote on a review, instead of just the members who are present
- Replacing a locally elected nomination officer for each electoral district association with one for each province and the territories
Chong said the goal of his bill is still the same: making political parties more representative and accountable to voters, and creating a more responsible government.
Since introducing the first version of the Reform Act, Chong has argued that individual MPs have lost their autonomy over the years and power has been concentrated within party leaders and the Prime Minister’s Office.
He noted Monday that, if passed, the Reform Act would not come into effect until after the 2015 federal election, so the changes would not affect current party leaders.
Chong told Power Play he is “optimistic” that he will get enough votes to pass Reform Act 2014 at second reading and send it to committee for further study.
Although his bill would not affect provincial parliaments, Chong said the recent resignations of Alberta Premier Alison Redford and Newfoundland Premier Kathy Dunderdale highlight the need to clarify the rules when it comes to reviewing party leaders.
“There is cross-party acknowledgment that there is a problem in our system today,” Chong said.
He said many politicians and former party leaders have agreed that Parliament must be reformed and that’s why he believes his bill has received “widespread support.”
Chong said he expects the first debate on the second reading of the bill to take place sometime in mid-May and the first vote in June or late September.