This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: Party leaders have too much power of elected representatives
This week, Brent and I take a look at Michael Chong’s private member bill, The Reform Act 2013.
This week’s topic: Would the proposed Reform Act improve our system of government by redistributing power from party leaders to Members of Parliament?
Earlier this year, I had a compelling conversation with a friend who had immigrated to Canada from Egypt shortly before the start of the country’s political riots. I asked if democracy was still as elusive as it had been prior to the revolution, and what she thought of Canadian politics.
“Laila,” she said, “I brought my family from Egypt because I wanted to raise them in a democratic country. I wanted them to see how true democracy works. Then we come here, I start really following Canadian politics, and see that democratic process here is broken as well. Harper can do whatever he wants to do, it seems. No one in his party will speak up against him. He can even close the government for no reason. It is different, and better, but still not what I thought it was.”
Her comments were stark, observant and right on the money. It’s no secret party leaders wield extraordinary power over Members of Parliament, in particular when it comes to the party that governs. Instead of power lying with the MPs who have been duly elected to represent their constituents, the power is largely centralized in the party executive.
This is why Conservative MP Michael Chong introduced his private member’s bill last week called the Reform Act. The bill is intended to return some of the power currently held by party leaders and executive, back to MPs and hold the executive accountable for their actions…
Read the rest of this weeks column, and vote for who you think should win this debate at the following link http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2013/12/08/party-leaders-have-too-much-power-of-elected-representatives