Boughen awaiting discussion on Reform Act

Justin Crann
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Palliser MP Ray Boughen has lukewarm feelings about fellow Conservative Michael Chong's proposed Reform Act.

Ray Boughen

"I'm not sure I'm a believer of everything I see in the bill initially, but we're not making any hard and fast decisions about it," Boughen told the Times-Herald Thursday. "The one thing I am a believer in is that healthy organizations have no fear of looking at themselves and seeing whether they're doing things right or if they need to change."

The Reform Act proposal began as a private member bill, and it seeks to restore power to the grassroots by giving caucuses — the groupings of MPs by party within the House of Commons — more authority, at the expense of party leaders.

Among its proposals are enabling caucuses to remove their own leaders with a majority vote, the removal of a leader's veto power over a given constituency's choice of election candidate, and a transfer of the leader's ability to autonomously expel members from his or her caucus to the caucus as a whole.

Chong said his intent with the bill is to create a more accountable Parliament through a system in which MPs answer to those who elected them to their seats, while the leaders answer to the MPs.

Boughen agrees with the sentiment, but not entirely with the execution, he said.

"It's a very interesting concept, and certainly a well thought-out document," said Boughen. "There's some positives associated with it … but I'm not sure whether he (Chong) has considered all of the factors, or whether this is just the initial run he has had at it."

For his own part, Boughen said, he hadn't given the document as thorough a reading as he'd like, and so he won't make any suggestions about how it can be improved.

But the bill is likely to see much discussion and several amendments before — and if — it is passed by the House, he added.

"A year from now, we might not even recognize it as the same bill," said Boughen. "This is an ongoing issue, and will be for at least the next year."

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Organizations: Times-Herald, House of Commons

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