Conservative MP Michael Chong tabled a private member’s bill on Tuesday that has politicos buzzing. The Reform Act is about giving more power to MPs, and the National Post’s Andrew Coyne and Alice Funke of Pundits' Guide break it down for you in a democratic reform death match.
Andrew "Animal méchant" Coyne
Alice "Guide this!" Funke
Is it a big deal?
Coyne: "Should it pass, Parliament would never be the same again. The bill would fundamentally recast the relationship between party leaders and caucuses, and with it the whole structure of our politics."
Funke: "The Bill would formalize in legislation a party caucus’ ability to call for and effect a leadership review. I say formalize, because there is nothing in the law currently preventing party caucuses from doing this very thing now, and indeed they have done so frequently in our current system."
Accountability to party members and caucus?
Coyne: "Electing party leaders by the membership at large... has effectively freed the leader from any obligation to be accountable to caucus."
Funke: "It’s not that a caucus CAN’T call for a leadership review or push a leader out, it’s that they apparently won’t, and/or they don’t."
The leader's veto of candidates
Coyne: "The riding association, and not the leader, would decide who its nominee was. There would be no leader’s veto... The power given to Canadian party leaders to decide the fate of every candidate or member is one that, to my knowledge, exists in no other parliamentary system."
Funke: "The only leader to try it the other way (nominate, then vet) was Elizabeth May and the Green Party. Then they ran into a candidate who mused about rape or something on Facebook in Newton-North Delta, and subsequently changed their procedures as well."