Hyer Introduces Motion to Allow Cross-Party Cooperation in Parliament
MP re-tables motion to reduce partisanship, allow co-sponsorship of private bills in Parliament
March 14, 2012
OTTAWA – New Democrat MP Bruce Hyer re-tabled a motion today to increase cross-party cooperation on legislation in the House of Commons. Currently, private legislation can only be introduced by individual MPs, and thus bills are often branded an initiative of the MP’s party. Hyer’s motion would change the rules of the House, known as the Standing Orders, to allow MPs from more than one party to co-sponsor Private Members’ Bills and Motions.
“Parliament is getting more and more partisan, more and more dysfunctional.” said Hyer. “The tribal bickering and political games have a real cost - it’s hard to build support for good bills or motions when other parties are reluctant to see a MP from another party achieve success. Solutions often get delayed, or killed.”
Hyer said the current rules encourage a partisanship that causes delay, waste, and distrust. Amendments to bills are sometimes shot down by one party simply because they come from another. And last Parliament, Hyer’s own Climate Change Accountability Act, the country’s only federal climate legislation, was killed in a bout of Parliamentary partisanship when a surprise Senate vote killed the bill before it could be debated in the upper chamber. Despite years of work, debate, and votes, private legislation has faint hope of becoming law: out of 441 Private Members’ Bills introduced in the last Parliament, only 4 survived to receive Royal Assent.
“Canadians don’t send us here to just to defeat each other’s initiatives. They want us to make progress and to get things done.” said Hyer “We need to be debating ideas, not ideology. If bills and motions were shared initiatives of MPs from more than one party, MPs could co-operate across party lines to build consensus even before they are tabled. Private legislation would have a better chance at passage. Politics would be less of a zero-sum game.”
“Parliament needs to work better to serve the needs of Canadians.” said Hyer “I put extra effort into working with MPs from all parties to improve the lives of Canadians, but we’re now spending years re-introducing and re-debating Private Members’ legislation that’s already been before the House, and making little progress. We need to change the system to give important initiatives a fighting chance.”
More information can be found at www.crosspartycooperation.ca and supporters can join the "I Support Cross-Party Cooperation" Facebook group.
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Bruce Hyer, MP
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