Petitioning Parliament

NDP MP Kennedy Stewart has tabled a motion to study opening up the House to online petitions, including the possibility of a mechanism whereby those petitions could trigger debates.

That the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs be instructed to recommend changes to the Standing Orders and other conventions governing petitions so as to establish an electronic petitioning system that would enhance the current paper-based petitions system by allowing Canadians to sign petitions electronically, and to consider, among other things, (i) the possibility to trigger a debate in the House of Commons outside of current sitting hours when a certain threshold of signatures is reached, (ii) the necessity for no fewer than five Members of Parliament to sponsor the e-petition and to table it in the House once a time limit to collect signatures is reached, (iii) the study made in the 38th Parliament regarding e-petitions, and that the Committee report its findings to the House, with proposed changes to the Standing Orders and other conventions governing petitions, within 12 months of the adoption of this order.

It could conceivably be modelled on the White House’s online petitioning hub—and conceivably that could lead to an important parliamentary debate on the feasibility of building a Death Star—or the UK model for online petitions.

The future of government is probably going to involve open data and the future of Parliament should probably involve more direct and open engagement with the public.