House of Commons Passes Chong’s Motion 235-44October 7, 2010
Motion orders Procedure and House Affairs Committee to propose changes to reform Question Period within six months
OTTAWA – A motion to reform Question Period, moved by Michael Chong, Member of Parliament for Wellington-Halton Hills, passed in the House of Commons today by a vote of 235 to 44. The motion orders the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs to study various options and propose changes to reform Question Period, and to complete this task within six months.
The centre of Canadian democracy is Parliament, and the heart of Parliament is daily Question Period in the House of Commons. For 45 minutes each day, Question Period provides Members of Parliament an opportunity to hold the government to account by asking questions. Through the national media, millions of Canadians follow Question Period each and every day.
According to a recent Nanos-Policy Options poll, Canadians overwhelmingly disapprove of the behaviour in Question Period. Furthermore, more than four out of ten Canadians refused to vote in the last election, the lowest voter turnout since Confederation. Both facts are evidence of a growing gap between Canadians and their Parliament. Chong’s motion proposes six changes to reform Question Period, in order to improve decorum, elevate debate and restore the ability of Members of Parliament to represent their constituents by asking questions of the government.
“During the election, I promised to reconnect Canadians with the democratic institutions that belong to us all,” said Chong. He added, “Question Period reform is a first, but important, step toward the reform of Parliament.”
“I want to thank all my colleagues, from both sides of the aisle, for their support, advice and encouragement,” Chong said. He added, “I also want to thank our local Wellington-Halton Hills riding association for their ideas, many of which were incorporated into this motion. Their support and sound counsel have been invaluable.”
Chong’s final comment was that, “This motion proves that you can build bi-partisan consensus and get things done for all Canadians.”