MHAs vote unanimously to support NDP democratic reform motion

For immediate release

Dec. 4, 2019

MHAs vote unanimously to support NDP democratic reform motion


Today the House of Assembly voted unanimously in support of the NDP motion for a House Select Committee on Democratic Reform. Leader Alison Coffin introduced the motion, seconded by the Leader of the Official Opposition, Ches Crosbie.


The motion reads, “be it resolved that this House urge Government to disband government's All-Party Committee on Democratic Reform” and “Be it further resolved that this House establish a Select Committee on Democratic Reform, with a mandate to review and make recommendations on: voting systems and methods; voting age; funding of political parties; the role of third party groups in election campaigns; timing/date of elections; and other items at the Committee’s discretion.”


“I am delighted that my fellow MHAs voted unanimously to support our call to change the government’s committee on democratic reform to a Select Committee of the House,” said Coffin.

“The people of our province often tell me that our democratic system is not working, and that it must be fixed. This Private Member’s Motion will fix a problem created by government when they had a majority in the House and created an All-Party Committee on Democratic Reform. That committee was biased in favour of the Liberal government,” said Coffin.


“Democratic reform must be democratic. This is why we are proposing the Select Committee with more balanced representation of parties and a role for Independent members.”


Coffin says that a Select Committee of the House is struck by and will report directly to the House, not to a government minister’s department. She says this structure is key to ensuring the process is truly non-partisan.


“The people of the province want to see all of us work together to reform how we populate this House, how the House functions, and how people participate in democracy,” said Coffin.


“This is an important moment to show how the NDP Caucus can put pressure on government to ensure its work is done with the best interests of the people top of mind.”


A copy of the full motion is available below.


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For further information, contact Zaren Healey White, Director of Communications, NDP Caucus at 729-2137 (o), 693-9172 (c), or zarenhealeywhite@gov.nl.ca.


A copy of the full motion is available below.


NDP Private Member’s Motion, Select Committee on Democratic Reform


Whereas democratic reform is an important issue facing our province;


And whereas many individuals and organizations living in our province believe our democracy can and must be reformed, modernized, and strengthened;


And whereas the All-Party Committee on Democratic Reform, struck before the last election, has too narrow a mandate, and is not the best mechanism for achieving meaningful non-partisan democratic reform;


And whereas a better approach to democratic reform would be to establish a non-partisan Select Committee on Democratic Reform that works on behalf of and reports directly to the House of Assembly;


Therefore be it resolved that this House urge Government to disband the All-Party Committee on Democratic Reform;


Be it further resolved that this House establish a Select Committee on Democratic Reform, with a mandate to review and make recommendations on: voting systems and methods; voting age; funding of political parties; the role of third party groups in election campaigns; timing/date of elections; and other items at the Committee’s discretion;


Be it further resolved that, given this Select Committee needs to be, and must be seen to be non-partisan in nature, that the Select Committee consist of the following: two members of the Government, two members of the Official Opposition, two members of the Third Party, and an Independent member, and that the Chair of the Select Committee be elected from within; and


Be it further resolved that the House consider how to ensure this Select Committee has the resources it needs to conduct its work.

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