There are many ways we can improve the quality of our democratic processes in between elections. Over the past few months I have been working with colleagues from all other caucuses in a special committee to review how the House currently operates and make recommendations on how we can improve access for private members (all members other than cabinet ministers) to propose, debate, and vote on their ideas. This work has been about improving the quality of our democracy, and I am pleased that we arrived at consensus recommendations in the report we tabled on Thursday.
I look forward to changes to the Standing Orders (that direct how we operate) to improve legislative opportunities for private members.
Just very few brief comments. I was very pleased to be able to participate in this work that happened over the last several months with respect to making these recommendations to changes of private members’ time, how we use it and how this Legislature provides access to all of the members — including all the private members, which is everybody that’s not a member of cabinet — and the ability to propose and have their ideas debated.
I just want to, I think, go back to a little bit of history and acknowledge the fact that this work, this discussion, really started with the previous Government House Leader, the previous Opposition House Leader and the previous Third Party House Leader and has continued. It continued to the current Government House Leader, the current official opposition House Leader and myself as the Third Party House Leader.
This has been an effort to have this discussion amongst all of the representative parties here and to make recommendations to improve the time and how we use private members’ time.
I raise my hands to the Chair for the excellent work in keeping the members on track and focused.
I also want to raise my hands to the Deputy Chair, the member for Abbotsford West, whose time and experience in the House here over the many years that he’s been here, actually really contributed…. Not actually; I should say contributed. Actually, he really contributed to the quality of the debate, which was….
No, really. I think it’s important to acknowledge that those of us that have only been here for a few years don’t have long memories, and being able to understand that this institution has been going and going and going and going for many decades and learning from the experiences from the past, I think, is really important to inform our work.
I just want to thank all of the members who worked in a spirit of collaboration, the spirit that I think we’re all hoping that this institution continues to demonstrate as it goes forward. I’m just really hopeful that the government passes these recommendations and that when the new parliament resumes next fall, it’ll have a more vibrant and more engaging debate from all of the members sitting, no matter where they sit in this House.