Green Leader Elizabeth May held a press conference today on her new Private Member’s Bill called An Act to amend the Canada Elections Act (local endorsement of candidate).
“On this day, two years ago, I was elected as Saanich-Gulf Islands’ Member of Parliament. In two years, I have seen the noxious effect of party discipline on our democracy,” said May.
The Bill amends the Canada Elections Act to require that, where a political party has an electoral district association in a riding, a prospective candidate for the riding must have their nomination papers signed by the chief executive officer and by one board member of the electoral district association in order to stand as that party’s candidate.
Currently, the Canada Elections Act requires the leader of a political party or their designated representative to sign the nomination papers for a prospective candidate.
“The law now gives party leaders the power to refuse to allow a sitting MP to be a candidate for that party in a future election. It has become an undemocratic tool for discipline and control over MPs,” said May.
“We recently witnessed the attempts of brave members of the Conservative caucus to assert their speaking rights. It is time to loosen party discipline and curb the ‘team mentality’ of which Gordon O’Connor was so proud,” said the Green Leader.
“With this in mind, I have put forward a legislative solution to end the current climate of fear in caucuses and ensure that MPs are not subject to the harsh sanction of being thrown out of caucus and denied the chance to stand for their constituency due to a leader’s ire,” concluded May.