FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JUNE 11, 2013
NDP MP KENNEDY STEWART LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN TO ENHANCE DEMOCRACY WITH ONLINE PETITIONS
First hour of Debate on Motion 428 to take place in Parliament on Wednesday
OTTAWA – Members of Parliament will begin debate this Wednesday on NDP MP Kennedy Stewart’s motion to modernize the petitioning process by allowing petitions signed electronically to be tabled in the House of Commons. Motion 428 proposes that certified e-petitions should trigger short debates in Parliament if they have received a minimum number of signatures – for example, 50000 – and are sponsored by at least five MPs.
“Few issues are as critical today as democratic decline,” said Mr. Stewart. “E-petitioning is a modest but vital opportunity to increase citizen participation in the political process and empower Canadians to set the agenda in Ottawa.”
Along with being seconded by NDP, Conservative, and Independent MPs, Motion 428 has been endorsed by respected leaders and organizations from across the political spectrum – including Ed Broadbent, Preston Manning, Leadnow, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Samara, Egale, and the Canadian Federation of Students. Recent polling conducted by Angus Reid found that over 80% of Canadians also support bringing electronic petitions to Parliament.
“While Ottawa is mired in the Senate expenses scandal, this motion gives backbench MPs the chance to set aside partisan differences and work together to improve democracy,” continued Mr. Stewart. “Finding practical ways to make Parliament more accessible for our constituents is a worthy goal we should all share.”
The first hour of debate this Wednesday coincides with the launch of betterpetitions.ca, a new website that features a campaign video and e-petition.
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Backgrounder with polling results attached.
Kennedy Stewart was elected to the riding of Burnaby-Douglas for the NDP in May 2011. He is the Official Opposition Critic for Science and Technology. Kennedy holds a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics and is a tenured associate professor on leave from Simon Fraser University’s School of Public Policy.
For more information, please contact:
Andrew Cuddy, Office of Kennedy Stewart, (613) 996-5597, Kennedy.firstname.lastname@example.org