New Democrats introduce bill that would make it easier for the public to petition government

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March 25, 2015

VICTORIA – New Democrats introduced legislation on Wednesday that would modernize public participation in our democracy by allowing for electronic petitions to government.

“Passing this legislation would mean the public would have another, more modern, way to participate in our democracy by allowing people to add their name online to petitions and be heard by government,” said new Democrat MLA Jane Shin.

Currently, only paper-based petitions can be brought forward to be tabled in the B.C. Legislature. Shin noted that similar electronic petition legislation introduced by federal New Democrat MP Kennedy Stewart passed unanimously in the House of Commons earlier this month.

“It is my hope that British Columbia will follow Ottawa’s lead in modernizing our procedures around public participation,” said Shin. “I look forward to canvassing all MLAs in British Columbia over the coming weeks for their support of this legislation.”

Along with Shin’s Electronic Petitions Act, New Democrats also introduced campaign financing reform legislation for both provincial and municipal elections.

Gary Holman, New Democrat spokesperson for democratic reform said, “These bills add to the suite of legislation introduced by New Democrats this session that would make government work better, and be more accountable.”

Holman singled out a bill introduced in February that would allow for 16 and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote so they are automatically on the voters list when they turn 18.

“The B.C. Liberals failed to include youth voter pre-registration in in some minor election reforms that they introduced on Tuesday. Passing our bill would encourage more young people to vote,” said Holman.

“British Columbians are becoming more and more disillusioned with government and it is the responsibility of elected officials to turn things around, and bring openness and integrity back to our democracy.”