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Online petitions to be accepted by the House of Commons

Last March, we endorsed Burnaby MP Kennedy Stewart’s private members bill M-428, a motion that would allow electronic petitions to be introduced into Parliament.

Yesterday, that motion was passed by the House of Commons.

Stewart has explained that with his motion, “Certified electronic petitions receiving a certain number of signatures – for example, 50,000 – and sponsored by at least five MPs would trigger a debate (similar to a ‘take note’ debate) in the House of Commons.”

In a written statement following yesterday’s passage of his bill, Stewart said, “A Parliamentary committee will now study this issue over the next year and develop recommendations for how to best implement e-petitioning. I would like to thank my colleagues for their commitment, those civil society leaders who endorsed my motion, as well all Canadians who signed a petition to show their support.”

Over the coming year, we would ask that MPs look at and be inspired by other legislative models and approaches to more fully democratize the functioning of the House of Commons and promote the public interest.

One such model could be the European Citizens Initiative. This is a tool in which with 1 million signatures a demand can be made of the European Commission to propose a legal act (more than prompting a ‘take note’ debate, as proposed in M-428). The Blue Planet Project is backing a European Citizens Initiative on the right to water and sanitation.

We’ll also be looking at ways to move our campaigns forward with this potential new tool that may be available to us in a year’s time.

Further reading
MP gains support for M-428 on e-petitions to Parliament
Right to water campaign secures 1.8 million signatures in Europe
C-559, An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Parliament of Canada Act (reforms)