On December 3, 2013, I introduced the Reform Act, 2013 in the House of Commons. The Reform Act is an effort to strengthen Canada’s democracy by restoring the role of elected Members of Parliament in the House of Commons.

The Reform Act is based on the years of feedback I’ve received from people in Wellington County and Halton Hills.

It is clear that decades of changes to Parliament have weakened the role of MPs and centralized that power in the party leaders. As a result, your democratic representation through your elected MP has been much weakened over the past several decades.

These changes are not the result of any one party or any one leader, but are the cumulative effects of changes made over many decades that have eroded the power of the MP and centralized it in the leaders’ offices.

In Canada, unlike the US, citizens exercise only one vote at the national level: A vote for their local MP. Canadians rightfully expect that their local member be able to represent their views in Ottawa, and not the other way around.

The Reform Act proposes three simple reforms to improve Parliament by restoring local control over party nominations, strengthening caucuses as decision making bodies and reinforcing the accountability of party leaders to their caucuses in the House of Commons. These reforms will better empower MPs to represent their constituents and allow them to stand on issues of importance to their constituencies.

The Prime Minister and other party leaders would still be immensely powerful under the proposals in the Reform Act. It’s just that they wouldn’t be all powerful.

The ideas in this bill are not new ideas, but very old ones. They are the ideas that Canada’s democratic institutions were founded upon in the 1840s, after the Rebellions of 1837.

If enacted, the Reform Act would restore Parliament to the way it worked in Canada for many decades. It would strengthen Baldwin and LaFontaine’s principle of responsible government, making the government more accountable to the people’s elected representatives.

Furthermore, many of the reforms proposed in the Reform Act are similar to current practices in other Westminster parliaments in Australia, New Zealand and the UK.

Public support for the Reform Act demonstrates that Canadians want Parliament reformed. I’m optimistic we can achieve these reforms and strengthen our democracy by ensuring elected MPs have the tools they need to effectively represent their unique constituencies in Ottawa.

If you have any questions you can reach me by phone at (866) 878-5556 or by email at michael.chong@parl.gc.ca. Best Wishes for a Safe and Prosperous 2014.