Proposal for elected Commons committee chairs

For the past three years now, this blog has explored some of the more interesting developments in parliamentary procedure in various jurisdictions (primarily the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand). Regular readers know that I am a big fan of many of the reforms introduced in the UK House of Commons in 2010, as per the recommendations of the Wright report.

One of those reforms involved select committee chairs being elected by the whole House, as I’ve blogged about in detail in other posts. For example, back in April 2011, I wrote one of my Fixing Ottawa posts, this one focused on Committees, wherein I explained in detail how UK select committee chairs and members are now elected. In another post written later that same year, I discussed the findings of the UK House of Commons Procedure committee’s report reviewing the elections held, for the first time, in most cases, to fill various positions in the House, including, of course, the election of committee chairs and members. If you read either or both of those posts, you will see that I am quite fond of this reform, and would very much like to see it adopted here in Canada.

Consequently, I was very pleased to read, via Kady O’Malley’s Inside Politics Blog, that a Conservative backbench MP, Brad Trost, will be putting forward a motion proposing something very similar to what the UK House of Commons – that is, have the House elect committee chairs via a preferential ballot.

As Kady O’Malley points out, if this motion passes, “it would be binding, as it would constitute an instruction to the House.”

If you are interested in parliamentary reform, I would strongly encourage you to contact your MP and ask them to support this motion. It has made a huge different in the UK with committees becoming far more independent, less partisan, and generally more effective.

Further reading

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Radical Centrist