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C-559 to be debated in the new year

The Hill Times reports, “Conservative MP Michael Chong (Wellington-Halton Hills, Ont.), tabled a private member’s bill, C-559, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Parliament of Canada Act (reforms), last week to make changes to how candidates are nominated, how party leaderships can be reviewed, how caucus chairs are selected and how caucus members can be ejected from or admitted into the fold.”

CTV adds, “Chong says he’s ‘hoping’ the Tory caucus will be allowed a free vote on his private member’s bill that seeks to rebalance the power between MPs and the executive branch of government.”

The Hill Times notes:

– “NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair (Outremont, Que.) said he would allow a free vote on it. ‘I’m going to be voting for this on principle because the principle involved is one that would seek to improve democracy in our society’, he said.”

– “Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau (Papineau, Que.) said he supports the goals of the bill, but hadn’t decided how he will vote. But he said it will be a free vote, and looks forward to ‘robust discussions in caucus’.”

– “Green Party Leader Elizabeth May (Saanich-Gulf Islands, B.C.) said she supports the bill, and is going to formally request that a similar bill in her name to strip party nominations from leaders’ hands be withdrawn. ‘I really support what he’s doing, moving for the return to what is really, as he put it in the preamble of his bill, responsible government. The reduction of what is essentially, incrementally growing, but the power of political parties to distort Parliamentary democracy’, she said.”

The CTV report says, “Prime Minister Stephen Harper has yet to go public with where he stands.” And while the Canadian Press has reported that 40 Conservative MPs support Chong’s bill, Global News reports today that, “Asked repeatedly for comment about Chong’s bill to rebalance the power of MPs and party leaders, (Government House Leader Peter) Van Loan walked away from reporters and an assistant closed the door to his office as he stood silently, smiled and said nothing.”

News reports indicate that a debate in the House of Commons on this bill is months away and that it wouldn’t come into effect until after the 2015 election.

For more detail on the bill, click here.