February 19, 2015
VICTORIA – New Democrats introduced legislation Thursday that would help reform democracy in B.C..
“These four pieces of legislation would help encourage more voter participation, strengthen representation, and make our government work better,” said New Democrat spokesperson on democratic reform Gary Holman. “Today’s legislation is only the first of many bills we are bringing forward this legislative session that will improve government and democracy in B.C.”
Holman, and fellow New Democrat MLA Rob Fleming, introduced the following pieces of legislation Thursday:
Parliamentary Calendar Act
“This bill aims to make a fall parliamentary session mandatory. Routinely cancelling the fall session denies British Columbians the opportunity to participate in government, and allows governments to avoid accountability,” said Holman.
Youth Voter Registration Act
“Year after year, the 18 to 24-year-old demographic is consistently the lowest in voter participation. This bill would help encourage voting by allowing for the registration of British Columbians at the age of 16, dramatically increasing the number of registered voters who are eligible to vote when they’re 18,” said Fleming, spokesperson for education.
Legislative Standing Committee Reform Act
“This bill would expand the power of the legislative standing committees without having an overbearing government whimsically dictate what is important or not,” said Homan. “It would also expand the number of committees to include critical industries like forestry, agriculture, and arts and culture.”
Fixed Fall Election Amendment Act
“Elections in B.C. are currently held in May, not giving enough time to scrutinize pre-election budgets that are traditionally tabled in late February. This bill would move the fixed election date to the beginning of October, to allow for more auditing and scrutiny of the state of the province’s finances prior to an election,” said Holman.
Holman said New Democrats have more legislation to introduce this spring that would improve other areas of government, and have committed to letting British Columbians decide if they want to move to a system of proportional representation in provincial elections.
“People have become disillusioned with governments at all levels,” said Holman. “Elected officials have a duty to bring back integrity, fairness and accountability to government. That is what John Horgan and the New Democrats are committed t