In mid-February, Burnaby MP Kennedy Stewart introduced M-428, a motion that would allow electronic petitions to Parliament.
Maclean‘s magazine reports, “Currently, MPs can table paper petitions with at least 25 signatures, and the government must respond within 45 days. Kennedy’s plan would allow e-petitions, if they garnered enough names and the support of at least five MPs, to ignite actual debates in the House.”
Stewart explains 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.”
The motion has been endorsed by both Ed Broadbent and Preston Manning. Broadbent says, “Bringing electronic petitioning to the House of Commons is a 21st century idea and one I fully endorse. Empowering Canadians to come together and help set the parliamentary agenda will breathe fresh air into our democracy.”
At least twenty Members of Parliament also endorse this motion.
As of April 2012, Europe has the European Citizens’ Initiative, a tool in which citizens can call directly on the European Commission to propose a legal act in an area where European Union member states have conferred powers to the EU level. To move this forward, 1 million signatures need to be collected for at least seven different EU member states. Currently, the Blue Planet Project and the Council of Canadians are supporting a campaign in which the ECI is being used to ask the EC to propose legislation that would implement the human right to water and sanitation as recognized by the United Nations General Assembly.
While Stewart’s motion doesn’t seem to go this far, it does appear worthy of our support. If you agree, please contact your MP and let them know.