This year could well be our last chance to introduce change in Parliament before the next federal election expected in 2015. Change must come from the grassroots because the truth is, Parliamentarians and political parties flatly outright refuse to bring about reform. They will talk about change, express their wish for change but, when it comes to acting on change, Nothing – Nada – Zip!
Last year, 2013, Samara Canada introduced their paper:
50 Ways to Redesign Parliament Read the full report here
Samara shines light on Canadian democracy and encourages Canadians’ participation in public life. We know there’s something wrong with our politics and we know people are opting out in growing numbers. So what can we do about it?
Amplify Citizens’ Voices
Decentralize power, refocus on citizens
Connect MPs to the constituency
Redesign Parliament to make it relevant to Canadians.
In 2003, The Parliamentary Library released their report entitled: The Parliament Canada Wants (pdf).
The following is an excerpt from the Preface:
Our country deserves a Parliament geared to the 21st century. Canada and Canadians have changed dramatically over the course of the last century and a half. By comparison, our parliamentary institutions have not kept up with the pace of change. Today, Canadians rightly expect a democracy founded on the needs of the times, and the message has been received loud and clear. Every political party represented in Parliament has, in one way or another, expressed its support for democratic renewal and parliamentary reform.
Citizens expect a greater voice and inclusion in public deliberation than is currently the case. Citizens want public engagement to be representative, informed and reflective.
Our message, based on our consultations, is this. In weighing the many options we have before us, and in making decisions on the future role of Parliamentarians, we should keep in mind that the reforms should aim to:
lead to more meaningful work;
look to the future, not the past;
enhance Parliament’s oversight of government activity;
enhance Parliament’s contribution to policy debates;
strike a balance between the adversarial and the consensual aspects of our democratic system;
focus on committees as an immediate priority;
make Parliamentarians knowledge-brokers; and
strike a new bargain between Parliament and the public service.
That is, in short, the Parliament we want. Parliamentarians ask, and Canadians deserve, nothing less.
Why has nothing changed, nothing improved? 12 years and Parliament has digressed.
Time for the electorate to take the initiative.
Time for a Member of Parliament Contract with Canada