OTTAWA—While Ontario MP Michael Chong’s controversial private member’s bill to reform Parliament has so far failed to garner the widespread support he had hoped, all is not lost, sources say. Should the bill fail, a slightly amended version may yet live on.
“While we still believe that Mr. Chong’s proposed reforms are our ultimate target, we’re conceding that the plan might be too ambitious,” Saskatoon-Humboldt MP Brad Trost said.
“Of course, Parliament should be a place where people can freely speak their mind and vote with their conscience; it just isn’t, and won’t be for some time,” an unnamed Senator added. “But what we can do is to increase freedom by small degrees and grow towards a gradual envelopment of Parliament. Call it democratic reform by successive approximation.”
And the first sortie in the war to reduce the Prime Minster’s power? The Battle for the House of Commons Shuttle Bus Lounge.
The PMO over time has gained complete control over the bus waiting area as a staging site for members and employees on their way under. This was not the intent of the Westminster system and even if it was, as some Conservative MPs argue, they should be using double-decker buses.
“If MPs can successfully regain control over the lounge, they could look at wresting other key sites from the PMO and reforming those spaces over time,” Edmonton-Leduc MP James Rajotte suggested. “I see the seizure closets and coatrooms as a reasonably attainable goal. And if that passes, they could focus on larger strategic targets, like the washrooms, for example.”
The revised bill, “An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act and the Parliament of Canada Act with regard to the bus waiting area (lounge reforms)”, is currently being drafted.
with files from amiableCDN